Stop sending these 3 words via text: “How are you?” Because the only reasonable answer to such a question is the obligatory single word response – “fine.” I believe – and I realize I may be alone here – that texting is perfect only for quick information such as “running late – see you in 10″ or “the painter’s name is John and here’s his number.” There are exceptions, of course. Asking “How are you?” if the person just had surgery and you simply want to know that they made it through, with no response indicating bad news. In that case, the appropriate question isn’t really “How are you,” it’s “Are you alive?”
Asking “how are you” also puts the recipient in an awkward position. On the phone saying “fine” is expected because it’s part of a longer conversation. Texting “how are you” and getting a response of “fine” is a waste of typing. Texting is, by its nature, shorthand. For that reason, it negates the requirement for usual greetings and pleasantries. If you need to have more than a two-sentence conversation, consider texting a request to chat by phone. Feel someone you know could benefit from a short course in texting etiquette? Try this the next time they text “how are you?” — respond only with “got cancer. diagnosed yesterday” — and see what they do. What a great laugh you’ll both have when you tell them it was just a prank. And they’ll have learned a valuable texting etiquette lesson. IMHO.