Text Etiquette and Courteous Discouragement

Updated on February 21, 2013
M.D. asks from Pittsburgh, PA
24 answers

The leader of one of my daughters activities is frequently texting information to all the parents. Now I don't mind texts but her's come in two or three at a time. Or multiple in a 30 minute period. If you are sleeping or busy you can easily ignore one text, but when you get 3 consecutive you worry that something is wrong. (EX. She will text the names of all the kids in the group for Valentines), These texts come at all hours of the day and night and then she will send the exact same information in an email. I am very frustrated with this whole scenario. I have politely asked her not to text me between the hours of midnight and 6am, I understand those are her hours but they are not mine, to receive texts. I would much rather receive all these "texts" in an email as I don't deem them urgent messages. I don't want to be a pain in the butt, however, I can't help but be annoyed by the frequent texting. Ever since I asked her not to text me between certain hours, she is not able to look me in the face when we see each other at meetings. I am not trying to make her uncomfortable, I just don't appreciate the texts. What is the best way to handle this? As of today in the last hour I have received 4 texts from this activity leader, none of which was urgent (as in needed to be addressed today or even the next few days) and would have been better suited for email. Please Help

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So What Happened?

Thank you all so much for your input. One of the reasons I love coming to this board is for the vast amount of different perspectives. You all gave valid opinions and I am grateful for your input. To those who suggested moving the phone or turning it off, that is not an option. #1 My phone is my alarm clock as it's the only one that will work for me. #2 I have a job where I could receive a text or a phone call regarding my next days agenda. I will give a few of the suggestions a try and see how it goes. This "princess" has been dealing with this issue for quite some time and hopefully a solution can be reached. Keep the suggestions coming :) Thanks Again

Featured Answers


answers from Los Angeles on

With people like that I tell them I don't text, I delete them, (I truly dislike texting unless it's to my grandkids) and to take me off their list, but to feel free to email me.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Aaaaaaaa, I know. I have a senior and the best thing that will happen when he graduates is no more information overload!!!
You have tried to be up front and open. I have had someone mistake my email address for someone else. I tried several times to tell them to take me off the list, no go. So I emailed REPLY ALL! That got her attention!
Try it, I bet she will get several who agree with YOU!

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers



answers from Seattle on

You e got a couple options!

1) Ditto Adansmama.

- Go to your contact settings
- Change her ringtone & text alert to silent.
= You still get all the messages, but they don't disturb you.

3) Block her number. This is pretty extreme, and I wouldn't since you might need to reach her EVENTUALLY... But its still an option on the table.

I would do #2, myself!!!


I'm in the opposite boat, by the by.
I can only check my emails once a week.
I depend on texts to stay current

I think its AWESOME you're not all ticked off that texts are being sent in general. (Some people would be, if its not their preferred method, they don't want anyone else using that option, either)... Just that the lady has some crazy timing issues. Some day she may figure out how to group & "send later" specifying a time (or her phone may not have that option)... But until then, you e got 2 options on your end to filter!!

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Can't you just put the phone on silent/vibrate or turn it off when you don't want to hear it? Seems pretty easy to me.

Take a minute to think about how much is this REALLY affecting you. My guess is, not very much. In the large scheme of things, is it really that much of a problem, or something worth you probably causing even more awkwardness by bringing it up again? This woman is volunteering, on her own time, and not being paid (I'm assuming). You are not. She is dealing with multiple kids and with those kids come some hard to deal with parents and lots of stress & frustration. I say, cut her some slack. I am a person who picks my battles and this one wouldn't be one of them.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

No advice. Just want to let you know you are absolutely right to feel annoyed. You are not acting like a princess.

I love texting. So convenient, but the only people I really want texts from is immediate family and close friends. That's it.

No texting after 9pm (unless there is an emergency) is common sense, or so I thought. Family & close friends excluded from that. But even they (nor I) would text after 11pm UNLESS it was an emergency.

Advice: Send your request in an email. Again. As politely as possible, explain why. Nothing you wrote is out of line. Since she is already CC'ing you in an email, maybe you should just block her texts.

Start or end the email with praise for whatever job she is doing and gratitude for keeping everyone informed. All you are asking is for no texts.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Hartford on

Because she duplicates all of her text messages in e-mails, there isn't any reason she should be doing both. Ask her to take you off of her text list, and that emergencies should be addressed by a phone call such as if your daughter were injured or sick during a meeting. Tell her that your plan only allows for a certain number of texts per month.

She's being excessively rude not to honor your very polite request. You have to be direct with her. It's not mean.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

i think anytime you are in this situation, especially since you already get emails, it's perfectly acceptable to ask that your name be taken off the text distribution list. just ask her (i would do it via email since she's already uncomfortable around you) to please remove you since the texts aren't working for you.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Before I got my current phone, we were not on an unlimited texting plan and I had to pay per text and used them sparingly. I explained this to other people and they understood. Not everyone communicates via text and if the information is always duplicative, then simply ask to be taken off the text version list.

Many people see texts as simply a means of communication and it has nothing related to the urgency of the contents. If you see it as "urgent" then the two of you are not on the same communication page. You receive texts for your job so you are more likely to jump up and get a text than me, who doesn't. So I think you should say that due to the nature of your job, you need to keep non-urgent texts to a minimum and would like to be taken off the texting list but still want to receive the emails as you find them useful.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Tyler on

I completely get having to have your phone readily accessible and with the ringtone on, I work as a substitute teacher and that is my main line to pick up jobs. We also have a landline in our bedroom that all our immediate family would call in case of emergency.

All that aside, this woman is just sending you team updates, she is doing a service for the team. I think you are being a tad judgmental on her timing. Would it aggravate me? Yes! But, I would probably choose to silence my message tone on the mornings I know her messages are likely to be posted. Any communication is better that no communication, please try to choose your battles!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Honesty is what works best. In your situation since you have already addressed this with her once, I would send her another e-mail (your preferred method of communication) and just reiterate, nicely! that you would appreciate being taken off the texting list! That it just isn't working for you.

If you want to giver her an 'out' so she is less embarrassed about it, you could always tell her that long text messages don't come thru at the right time on your phone? On my phone...if someone sends me a text that is over the 160 characters I don't even get it right when the sender sends it...for some reason my phone takes awhile to process it and then breaks it into smaller texts that fit the 160 characters, its annoying!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Block her number in your phone. If she wants to send you messages she can just do the email.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

You can turn off the sound on your phone at night.
That's what I do. Then if I get a text in the middle of the night I don't see it or hear it. When I wake up I check my phone.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Just ignore them. She probably pulled up an old text message and forgot to delete you. If you feel you can absolutely not ignore...than you can have her send texts to your email. Go to your email and send her phone an email and ask her to save this as your contact rather than your phone number. Ask her to send texts to your email.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

It looks like she has her phone set up to send both an email and text simultainiously. My choir director has this set up too, but he messages once a week, if that. I would suggest she limits herself to ONE corrospondance a day or removes you from the texting aspect. Not sure how this really works as I do not have a phone capable of doing that myself. I do know that I do not like texts from iPhones on my 'dumb' phone because they always come as picture messages vs droids come as reg texts. To be honest she needs to grow up - the world does not revolve around texting.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Cumberland on

Three words come to mind the next time you are in her presence: ball peen hammer. Kidding-you just have to get through to her-don't give up, there must be a way to get her attention-Get up in the middle of the night and start texting her repeatedly for hours-she won't respond-but she might get the hint.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Mommy D:

You need to tell her to remove you from her text list. Period.

Sorry - but I don't care what *HER* hours are - it is NOT acceptable to text "stuff" after 9PM. Any call I get after 9PM? It better be an emergency. If she texts you again - pick up the phone call her and tell her ENOUGH.

You might have to no longer be nice. You might have to be straight-up in her face, matter of fact - THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE.

Tell her unless someone is dying and it's an emergency - there are to be no texting or calls after 9PM and before 9AM. Those are your rules. She is more than welcome to e-mail you the list. However, your cell phone is your "main line" (if that is the case) and you do not appreciate being woken up because my phone is going off for something that is NOT an emergency.

You have the option to silence your phone. However, in my book? You should NOT have to turn off your phone or silence your phone because of her ignorance, lack of manners and so much more.

You can't look you in the face because she knows what she is doing is wrong.

If this activity leader has a "leader" ahead of her - start talking to her and tell her she is not respecting your boundaries and it has gone on long enough. You have asked her NICELY to stop. Now it's time to not be nice.

If she refused to listen - block her number. Tell her you are blocking her number until she can respect time and boundaries.


2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Ask her to take you off her texting. Tell her nicely to email you. Very easy.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Tulsa on

I hate texting too, but over half the parents in our group WON'T check email. It goes to the phone and they just skim it. Our leader decided to text and email both but in small, single messages. That means we have lots. I hate it too.
I would TOTALLY say not to text after 9pm unless emergency. People need to relax and sleep.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Houston on

Really? If she also sends out the same information via email and you have a choice, then you should opt off her text list and exclusively onto her email list. Just make sure that you're prepared to receive via email something that you might consider urgent. I love voicemail and texting because I don't have to dig through emails to find them and it can all happen in the sender's own time. That's not being rude. Rudeness would be calling and expecting to speak with you at that time. You can't dictate what hours work for her. Many phones allow you to individualize your ring tones. Maybe text messages from her number can have a more sleep-friendly ring tone or be on vibrate. This is something that you should manage on your end. I realize that this is an annoyance, but you have to assume that her only goal is to make sure that ALL of you have ALL of the information to do with as you please. She can't modify her distribution list with every message.

She's not looking you in the eye because you've made her feel bad in a situation where she thought she was doing a good thing, keeping all information at your fingertips. Don't let that continue. Walk right up to her and be friendly; let her know that you won't be holding this against her.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

I hate texting. I hate text speak. I hate the entire concept. My cell service allows me to receive texts but not send. I could add it on but I do not want to. I honestly believe that text speak is a bastardization of the English language.
I worked a sales job a couple years ago and my sales manager would send the team text messages all day long. Our job involved driving from appointment to appointment often on narrow country roads and she expected us to read text messages.

I would simply tell this person in front of several other people --- "Do not text me from x time to x time or I will block your texts. I check my email several times a day and I prefer to get my messages this way."

You will probably have several people in agreement with you.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Can you delete her on your phone? Can you block her texts? Go to the phone store and ask them if they can help you.

She has proven that she doesn't respect your wishes by ignoring you. You are perfectly justified in not accepting her texts.

If this isn't possible, I think I'd just turn off my cell phone at night.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

I think you are being a big cranky baby about this.

It blows my mind that you would tell her this instead of turning off your phone!! unless hubs is a long haul trucker and you are worried teh police might call to tell you he wrecked, just turn your phone off when you go to bed, or put it in a different room on vibrate.

lots of people don't check their email in a timely manner, which is probably why she has to do double duty,
sounds like she has alot of other people to deal with too and i think you are acting like a princess.



answers from Dallas on

Since you told her to stop texting you during certain hours and she ignored you then I would block her number. I would also tell her in person that you will no longer be receiving any texts from her and that you blocked her because she chose to ignore your request. Tell her the only communication you will receive from her is email and that is the best way to keep you informed. Then, you can invite her for a cup of coffee or tell her you would like to get to know her better. This lets her know it is not personal but texting at all hours is not acceptable.



answers from Allentown on

I understand texting, but not everyone has a texting plan. I didn't until a few weeks ago. Until then anytime I got a text I have to pay for it. I explained to everyone that I couldn't send or receive texts. People apologized if the had and never did it again, or if they made a mistake and sent another, I told them again and it never happened more than twice. Now that I have a texting plan people text me more often. I find it convenient but had to ask my soon to be fiance, to not text me before he goes to work at 5am as I am still sleeping and he wakes me. He thought I turned my phone off but I leave it on for emergencies. He has not done it since. Some people don't think, but once you tell them and remind them they should comply with your wishes, it is common courtesy. This person is obviously respecting your wishes. You need to have another talk with her, tell her you will not accept texts between the hours of 9pm and 9am. I would make it a 12 hour thing. Tell her it is rude and unacceptable. The majority of people know it is rude and unacceptable to call or text between these hours. Even if their work hours are different, most people know others sleep and/or rest during this time frame even if they do not. I would not put up with it another minute. Call her and talk to her immediately, or set up a meeting asap. In person might be better, but a phone call could be easier. Either way, you need to be clear that she is being rude,and you will not tolerate it. You can block her number if it comes to that. But I would hope after talking to her again she would give you the respect you deserve. Good luck!!!

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