Wait, Is It Rude To Text People Late At Night?

By admin Jul10,2024

I’m someone who almost always has her phone on silent during the day and has it automatically set to “Do Not Disturb” at night. And while I’m not often awake late enough these days to send any middle-of-the-night messages, I do live in a different time zone than my family and a couple of my closest friends. So a text sent at a very reasonable 8:30 p.m. for me is actually 11:30 p.m. for them.

Still, I never gave the timing of my texts too much thought — until I came across this viral tweet from content creator Michaela Okland.

Okland surmised that the general consensus, based on those who weighed in on her post, is that it’s not rude to text people at odd hours “because if they really get woken up by notifications, they’d likely have them all off at night,” she told HuffPost.

She noted, however, that there were some generational differences when it comes to this topic.

“People a bit older — and even more so if they have children they might not want to miss a late-night concerned message from — you need to be a bit more careful with,” she told HuffPost. “Potentially schedule the text to be sent to them in the morning.”

(You can do this quite easily on an Android, but it’s more complicated on an iPhone and requires a third-party app, for the time being. That should change when the iOS 18 update is released in the coming months).

We were curious what etiquette experts would have to say about all of this, so we reached out to a few to get their take.

Sara Jane Ho, who addressed this topic in her new book, “Mind Your Manners: How To Be Your Best Self In Any Situation,” said it’s best to keep texts to “reasonable waking hours” between the hours of 8 a.m. and 10 p.m.

But she admitted she doesn’t always heed this advice herself.

“I’ve definitely been guilty of texting people late at night, especially if they’re my besties or if they’re my family. And of course, now we’re so global and I have friends all over the world, so I will just send them an article if I’m thinking of them, even if they still haven’t woken up yet,” she told HuffPost.

Etiquette expert Thomas P. Farley, also known as Mister Manners, said he would advise against sending an email or text to anyone who might be winding down or already asleep when your message comes through.

“Considering that most of us sleep within an arm’s length of our phones, and given the culture’s screen addiction, even those of us who turn off our notifications before turning in for the evening are prone to taking a quick glance at our mobile devices if we awaken — even briefly — before hopping out of bed the following morning,” he told HuffPost.

“Because there’s nothing like a peek at a text message in the wee hours to wake up our brains and hamper our ability to get back to sleep again, I would consider a window of 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. appropriate for a work-related email or text and 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. for a message from all but our closest friends or loved ones.”

“There’s nothing like a peek at a text message in the wee hours to wake up our brains and hamper our ability to get back to sleep again.”

– Thomas P. Farley, etiquette expert

Unless you’re communicating with a very close friend, family member or significant other, “the intimacy of a late-night text is simply not worth the risk of intruding, jarring and disturbing,” Farley said. “Is your message so important it truly can’t wait until the next day? Chances are, not.”

Like Okland, I have long been operating as though everyone has their notifications turned off at nighttime. But according to Nick Leighton, co-host of the “Were You Raised By Wolves?” podcast, it’s better not to assume this is the case.

“While many people use ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode at night, there are plenty of people who don’t. Some people want to make sure they don’t miss an important call or text, some people might not have phones that easily offer the feature, and some people might simply forget to turn the mode on before going to bed,” he told HuffPost. “Some phones do offer a ‘Deliver Quietly’ option, but the text message still shows up as a notification, which can still be bothersome for people who are trying to unplug.”

If you’re on the receiving end of inconveniently timed texts that are messing with your sleep, Leighton suggests having a “polite-yet-direct conversation” with the sender.

“Let them know that, unless there’s urgency, best to hold those texts until morning. Using a tone that’s non-judgmental and value-neutral is key,” he said.

Ho would take a different approach: by changing your phone settings to silence notifications for that particular contact.

“I’m the type of person where I never really try to control other people or tell other people what to do” she said. “You can only do what’s within your control or your realm or change your reaction, right? So if they were texting me late at night, and it was bothersome, first of all, I would put them on silent.”

Another pointer from Ho: If late-night texts are getting under your skin, do not respond to any messages sent past your bedtime, even if it’s just to say you’re going to sleep. Because to reply at all is sending the wrong message, she said.

“Any response they get is enabling them,” Ho explained. “So the best response is no response, and to wait until the next day, at a time which is suitable to you, before you reply.”

By admin

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