Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Etiquette of British Texting

Whenever I send a text to a British friend - or a friend of any nationality living here in the UK - I think of a country song.

That's right, a country song.  The one that goes "signed her letters with x's and o's."  That's because each time I text an individual here, I am faced with the dilemma of trying to figure whether and how many x's to end the text with.  (For the uninitiated, that translates into a written kiss...)

Here are the rules of British texting as far as I can decipher them:

* texting a professional colleague or business - no x's
* texting an American who doesn't partake of this piece of British culture - usually none, but this can be erratic for Americans, as they are too efficient or forget.  When in doubt, include one x, as it will likely be meaningless and look like a typo anyway
* texting a man whom I know on a friendly basis, even though professional - one x
* texting a friend - one x
* texting a close friend or one who is exuberent in their affection - two x's
* texting a very close friend  - three x's, sometimes more

The lack of an x from a friend means they are mad at me.  How many times have I texted a British friend and forgotten the x and then quickly had to send another text to include the x so that they knew I wasn't upset. I have had friends ask if I was mad at them for this reason...

When I am in doubt, I look up the last email or text from my British friend to see what they  think is appropriate, and follow suit.

As with all British social interaction, the etiquette of friendly texting is complicated, and often far too complicated for this homegrown American girl to decipher let alone remember.  As long as my American friends back home don't look at me cross-eyed when I include an x or two when texting or emailing (the same applies in the latter), I figure an extra kiss or two never hurts, no?


  1. I stumbled upon your blog and had a good laugh at this one! All so true. I'm also an LDS American living in London (moved here in 2008). I'm surprised we have never met. I used to live in NW8 and now it SW outer London, and I'm guessing we have many mutual friends. Anyway, enjoy your posts! x :)