Tackle Your Tech | New Rules for Texting + Cool Abbreviations to Know

Empty Nest Blessed by Suzy Mighell

woman in green dress sitting in her car holding her phone looking at camera

Did you know that 23 billion text messages are sent each day worldwide? To put this into context, nearly 1 million texts were sent during the time it took you to read this sentence! That’s pretty amazing, considering the first text was sent on December 3, 1992! That makes texting as old as my oldest child! ????

woman in green dress sitting at a restaurant patio table

A lot has changed since texting first came on the scene! In some ways, it enhances communication with our kids, making it more frequent. But in some ways, it makes things more difficult when you actually want to talk to them or see their faces. If you call, they think someone died. Then there’s the fact that the “rules’ for texting have changed and evolved. It’s tough to keep up, easy to misstep, and pretty soon you just wind up looking and feeling stupid and old. (Or maybe that’s just me! ????) Add to that the fact that half the time they use abbreviations, and you have no idea what they are actually saying. I am here for you, people. ???? Today I’m running down the new rules for texting, sharing a guide to those crazy texting abbreviations, and even telling you what emojis you need to stop using completely. ????

woman in green dress sitting on a restaurant patio table

The New Rules for Texting

You may have noticed that there seem to be a bunch of new subtleties in the texting realm. It’s getting tricky out there, friends! Here’s what you need to know.

First of all, know that the word “text” can be either a noun or a verb. When you’re using it as a verb, that means you need to change the verb tense based on whether you’re talking about past, present, or future. I don’t know how to break it to you, but if you don’t, you will just sound old. ????????????

Incorrect: Yesterday, I text her and told her where to meet.
Correct: Yesterday, I texted her and told her where to meet.

ALL CAPS er, I mean All Caps

Texting something in all caps is the equivalent of SHOUTING. When it comes to your kids, use all caps WITH EXTREME CAUTION.


Ellipses now serve as a kind of passive-aggressive foot tap or even a subtle threat. I would avoid these altogether, but that’s just me…

BTW. this is true of any repeated punctuation. An Empty Nest Blessed reader recently sent me a screenshot of a texting conversation with her college son where she asked a question and put four question marks after it. In his text back, he asked her why she was being “so aggressive!” ????


Only really grumpy people don’t use emojis. They can be immensely helpful when it comes to communicating tone! Tell your husband that, yes, even men use them now. ???? In fact, you might get yourself a signature one. But not this one: ????. That one’s mine. ????

Forgoing Periods

If someone asks you a question in a text, respond with a simple “Yes” or “No”; forgo the period. The period with a “Yes” says, “OBVIOUSLY, yes.”

Exclamation Points!

If you’re not using them, you’re grouchy! They make people feel safe! And validated!

lowercase lettering

using all lowercase letters is a way of indicating irony. since predictive keyboards on our smartphones automatically add capitals at the beginning of texts and after periods, lowercasing now takes more effort instead of less, indicating something akin to sarcasm.

as in “What could possibly go wrong?” vs. “what could possibly go wrong” (note the additional sarcasm of eliminating the period at the end of the lowercase sentence in my example.)


The period, too, has acquired a second layer of meaning Practically speaking, it’s a way of breaking up your thoughts on paper But in the texting world, where scrolling is easy, you no longer need a period to break up your thoughtsa linebreak or even a new text bubble can do that for you Now, using it the traditional way (at the end of a sentence) indicates irony or even sarcasm at the end of a message, creating a passive-aggressive effect

Also. Periods. Can. Separate. Words. For. Emphasis. ????

Woah vs. Whoa

Oldsters say it’s “whoa,” but technically, that means that your horse needs to stop. ???????? Your kids will spell it “woah,” which is elongated when spoken and conveys a sense of amazement. For more, check out this Wall Street Journal article. (Yes, the Wall Street Journal published an article on this!)

woman in green dress and denim jacket sitting in her car holding her phone looking at camera

Word Abbreviations

These aren’t too hard to figure out, but you def want to start including them in your texts. ????

deets – details

def – definitely

probs – probably (or could also mean problems)

woman in green dress sitting at a restaurant patio table

Texting Abbreviations

Let’s be real. Abbreviations make you feel v (“very”) cool. Ya’ know, kind of like you’re in the “in” crowd at school. Or they can make you feel v old and not v with it. Here’s help.


text message containing many abbreviations

BTS – Behind the scenes.

Hahaha – This has pretty much replaced LOL. Or you can use an emoji in its place. ????

HMU – Hit me up. This basically means text me (or contact me in some other way) to follow up on this.

IDC – I don’t care.

IDK – I don’t know. Or you can use this emoji: ????‍♀️

IKR – I know, right?

ILY – I love you. Use this one. A lot. But not with your boss. ????

LMK – Let me know.

NBD – No big deal.

RN – Right now. You can get a lot of mileage out of this one in the empty nest because your kids will conjure up all kinds of ideas of the fun you’re having in the empty nest. The first time we texted one of our kids, “Can’t talk RN. Movies.” at 11 p.m. on a Tuesday night, we got this back in return: ????????. #itwasawesome

SMH – Shaking my head. This means you’re somewhat incredulous at the stupidity of something, and you have no words. Can also mean “smacking my head” and accompanied or replaced by this emoji: ????‍♀️

TBH – To be honest. If you use this with your kids, use caution when it comes to what follows! ????

TFW – That feeling when…

TTS – This means true to size. As in, the awesome and inexpensive olive green maxi dress I’m wearing in this post fits TTS. ????

*** You may have noticed that I left off all of those increasingly common abbreviations that have the letter “F” in them, because, I’m pretty sure you can figure those out yourself. As my mom used to say, “Intelligent people don’t need to use that word. They have a wider vocabulary than that.” #momwisdom

woman in green dress sitting at a restaurant patio table

Emojis to Avoid

Sadly, some emojis now have a sexual connotation. We keep it classy here on Empty Nest Blessed, so I’m not going to go into detail. Suffice it to say, you should stop using these emojis:


woman in green dress and denim jacket sitting on a restaurant patio table

Green Knit Maxi Dress | Leopard Print Wedges (Almost sold out. Similar HERE & lower heel HERE) | Denim Jacket | Gucci Camera Bag (Less expensive options HERE & HERE) | Tory Burch Logo Station Necklace | Safety Pin Earrings (Less expensive option HERE)


I have this inexpensive and versatile maxi dress in two colors, and I’ve worn it and worn it! It’s the kind of comfy dress that’s just easy. Since it’s 100% cotton and sleeveless, it’s ideal for travel, errands, a night out, or just even around the house. (One time, I wore it all day and just decided to keep it on for bed! ????) It fits TTS, and it’s only $27.57!


I hope you enjoyed this post! To browse the other post in my Tackling Your Tech series, click HERE.

Best Weekend Sales

On Friday, I typically run down the best sales of the weekend for you! With Labor Day in the rearview mirror, lots of brands have dropped their new fall merchandise and put it on sale to drive customers to their sites. While there are a few sales that I think are worth your time this weekend, there’s one I especially want to point you toward— the Target Anniversary Collection Sale! In celebration of 20 years of doing collaborations with everyone from Missoni to Zac Posen , Target is offering a few best-selling items from many of the past collaborators in this special collection. It features clothing for menwomen, and kidsaccessories and luggage and home goods from brands like Lilly Pulitzer  Hunter, and Isaac Mizrahi (just to name a few). You can save your favorites now on the Target site, and then when the collection drops on Saturday, September 14, you’ll have all of your picks saved in one specific spot!

ANN TAYLOR | 40% off entire purchase with code FRIENDS40. This is an INCREDIBLE sale if you’re an Ann Taylor lover!

J.CREW | 30% off full-priced styles with code SHOPNOW. + J.Crew Cardholders get an additional 15% off with code CARDLOVE. I just added this darling leopard print sweater dress to my cart. I’ll wear it now with bare legs and tennies or booties, and later with opaque black tights or faux leather leggings and boots or booties. #yummy

J.CREW FACTORY | 40% off all sweaters + lots of other great styles on sale. I shot this wear-it-five-ways leopard print blouse in this week’s photoshoot! (Post coming soon.) It’s 30% off! The crazy video I took wearing this ruffle-neck leopard print dress nearly broke my Instagram this week, and it’s 30% off too!

LIFE IS GOOD | If you’ve watched my Instastories, you know these comfy tees are my very faves for just hanging out. (Wearing this one as I write this post!) Bob loves them too and has tons of them! THey’re having a huge sale right now, with up to 40% off and an additional 20% off sale items with the code GOOD20 at checkout.

LOFT | 40% off full-priced pants & jeans.

NORDSTROM RACK | Giant COLE HAAN event, including women’s shoes, handbags, coats (up to 70% off), and sunglasses, as well as men’s shoes. Bob needs a new pair of dress shoes, and I’m trying to talk him into theseKendra Scott jewelry & home up to 50% off. Also, all MAC Cosmetics are 50% off!

SEPHORA | 50% off almost 300 makeup and skincare best-sellers! Click HERE to see if your favorites are included. (You could save a bundle!)

TALBOTS | 25% off wear-now styles. I just read an article about how houndstooth is big this fall! (Sorry, that one took me by surprise, and I didn’t include it in my Fall Fashion Trends post!) This darling houndstooth cardigan is so chic.

WHBM | 30% off full-price dresses, shoes, and accessories. This sale includes my gauzy floral tunic from this post, and my gold suede and croc-embossed pumps from this post.


What’s up for you this weekend? Bob will be back in town after being away on business this week, and I’m so glad! We’ve got an alumni event for our alma mater, and I think we’re going to see this movie! Um, also, I’m doing the laundry! ???????? Wishing you a wonderful weekend, no matter what you’re up to!





Photos by Megan Weaver.

P. S. You might want to save this post on Pinterest for future reference!

woman in green dress sitting in her car holding her phone looking at camera and reviewing the new rules for texting

Suzy Mighell

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    1. Wendy,
      Good. Point. On. The. Periods. Will add that!
      I love that emoji! It’s all yours!!!

  1. my iphone does not capitalize at the beginning of sentences anymore. first, i was annoyed then i just accepted it. who knew i was being ironic! and now it has carried over to my computer. i just can’t be bothered with proper capitalization, but grammarly will fix it. 🙂 (i ignored grammarly for this comment!)

    1. Nylse,
      Hahaha! You gave me a good laugh! My iPhone stopped capitalizing once when I hadn’t done their seems-like-weekly ???? software update! Here’s how to turn it back on (if you want to, Miss Ironic!) Go to Settings” from the Home screen > General > Keyboard >Turn Auto-Capitalization to on (green). If you have an iPad and use a hardware keyboard, select “Hardware Keyboard“.
      I hope that helps! Thanks for giving me a good laugh!

  2. This was so good. There are some abreviations I didn’t know about. Now I’m in the know! (ITN?). LOL.

    1. Corinne,
      Thank you very much (TYVM?!)! I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I love your new abbreviation idea!
      I really think you should use it with your kids and be all like, “What? You don’t know what that means? ???? Mom will fill you in!”
      Hahaha! Have a great weekend!

  3. Omigosh! It remains to be seen whether I’ll be able to keep up on the ever-changing world of texting! And as a true grammar geek and former writing tutor, I don’t know if I can possibly stop using periods. Yikes!

    This was a really fun post, Suzy! I’ll be pinning it to keep as a reference. ????

    1. Lauren,
      Thanks so much for your sweet comment! You are too funny! Happy Weekend!

  4. My 27-year-old said to me that another tech rule is to have nicknames of people in your phone. He chastised me for having his name in my phone – he said “no one does that”. Always use nicknames (even if you don’t have one – use “favorite son” or something like that!).

    1. Brenda,
      Hahaha! I love that. A few years ago when Bob wasn’t paying attention, I changed my name in his phone to “My Hot Wife.” I am all about it!
      Thank you so much for sharing that!

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