‘Inconsiderate’ WhatsApp mistake we’re all making, according to etiquette expert

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An etiquette expert has shared some of the big no-nos when it comes to texting and there’s one mistake many of us are guilty of making, that can seem rather ‘rude’ and ‘inconsiderate’

Man's hand holding phone
We’ve all been making a text mistake (stock photo)

These days it’s rare to find someone without a phone glued to their hand. We’ve all become addicted to smartphones, social media and sending memes to our nearest and dearest.

But did you know there are some unwritten etiquette rules you might actually be breaking when texting your pals or colleagues? Many people consider it rude to call or send messages after 9pm in the evening and continuing to do so can make you seem ‘inconsiderate’. Etiquette expert Liz Wyse, from Debrett’s, has shared her thoughts on the matter with The Mirror, explaining the mistakes we’re guilty of making with our phones – and what we should be doing instead.

She said: “It is generally accepted that it is inconsiderate to text or make calls late at night and, although there is no absolute cut-off, for most people this means after 9pm.

It’s considered ‘rude’ to text someone after 9pm (stock image)
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“The main reason for this is that people start to wind down by mid-evening and it is therefore rude to jerk them out of their pre-sleep routine, unless you have a very good reason.

“Many people find it hard to resist answering texts and engaging in a text dialogue late at night is over-stimulating.

“We’re all very aware of good sleep hygiene these days and it is generally agreed that it is a bad idea to look at screens late at night, so why inflict your bad texting habits on other people?

“Even if you meticulously turn your phone to silent, you may still be disturbed by vibrations or the screen lighting up on your bedside table.”

Resist the urge to reply until after 8am the next day (stock photo)
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Liz continued to say that texting an employee or colleague after 9pm can create ‘poor workplace culture’ and should be avoided.

“If that begins to happen, you may find yourself in a vicious circle where you feel obliged to answer your boss’s late-night texts because you fear that otherwise, you’re not looking fully engaged,” she warned.

“This is really pernicious – it is much better to let your employees and colleagues disengage entirely from work late at night. With a few exceptions, nobody should be on duty 24/7.

“For most people, late-night texts and calls mean one of two things: they have been ambushed by an inconsiderate friend or colleague or, much more worryingly, there is bad news about friends or family that cannot wait until morning.

“Most of us recognise the rush of anxiety and dread you experience when you’re woken by your phone late at night – you certainly don’t want to inflict that needlessly.”

The expert added that there is one exception to the late-night text rule – if you have a previous agreement that texting after 9pm is acceptable.

But otherwise, you should wait until morning to fire off that message – preferably after 8am.

“Of course, there are exceptions to this rule – if you’re a real night owl and you have a friend who is similarly insomniac then you may well have an agreement between you that late-night texting is acceptable.

“If you feel the urge to text late at night, resist it. It is much better to wait until morning (after 8am is a good general guideline, though you might want to leave it an hour or two later at weekends).

“Our phones make us perpetually accessible, but always being on-call can become very stressful.

“Avoiding night-time calls is considerate because you’re recognising the need that everyone has to de-compress and switch off.”

Do you agree? Let us know in the comments below.

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