It’s never pleasant, it’s never called for, but unfortunately, it happens. So, what is the proper texting etiquette for responding to an angry text?
Well, you basically have 4 options:
– Act indifferent and ignore it (press delete)
– Answer with your own angry rant (scale up the anger)
– Counter the anger with kindness (diffuse)
– Ask questions and try to understand why the other person is angry (empathize)
Obviously the option you choose depends on what caused the outbreak, and who is upset (e.g. a rational person would probably respond differently to a boss than to a brother).
Not sure which road you should take to pacify the angry text scenario? Read on to learn more about texting etiquette for text anger management.
Texting Etiquette For Every Situation
1. The Situation – You receive a text from a close friend or family member who is obviously upset about something and is trying to provoke you into a fight to make themselves feel better.
Your response – Ignore it. Don’t take anything in that text personally, it was not aimed at you, only themselves. By ignoring the text, you may first escalate the situation as they may feel they are being ignored, but trust me, it won’t last long. Soon they’ll realize they’ve been a bit of an a** and will call you up to apologize – accept graciously, we all lose it sometimes, and it might be you next.
2. The Situation – someone you really don’t like, and you’ve been having problems with recently has completely lashed out at you.
Your response – Scale up that anger, and send it right back at ‘em (otherwise known as “burning bridges,” – burn baby burn). If you decide to go this route, proceed with care, and be prepared to accept the full consequences of your actions. I personally don’t like this approach, as you never know when your paths will cross again (i.e you might need their help some day), but each person and each situation is unique – so use some good old fashioned common sense.
3. The Situation – A friend has just slammed you with a zinger about something you didn’t even know had upset them. It was personal, and it hurt. What does the old texting etiquette rule book recommend for this situation? Kindness.
Your response: respond positively. Make their anger about them, not about you. Tell them you understand how they feel, it’s a horrible feeling, but you know that they’re stronger then this anger.
If you know that their accusations have a grain of truth in them, take responsibility. Say “I had no idea my actions were affecting you so much. I’ll try to be more aware in the future”. A few simple words of positivity can be a great diffuser of hostile situations.
4. The Situation – your boss has just sent you an after-hours text, thoroughly pi**ed about something you did at work today, which you thought was totally fine.
Your response: hold on to your guns – do not immediately respond to this one, it will get you nowhere but fired.
Instead, think about what it is they’ve said. If their complaint is legitimate, you need accept the blame, and offer to meet face to face the following day and work out where to go from here. Don’t make excuses, and don’t fight back, it will only make them angrier.
Angry texts are a fact of modern day life. You’ll send them, you’ll receive them, and you’ll learn from them – but don’t learn from them too late! Follow this texting etiquette advice next time you receive a zinger in your inbox, and make sure your response fits the person and the situation.
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