Sending a Text on Mother’s Day Sent Wrong Message

Mother’s Day went awry when Mom got a text…not a phone call

Dear Ms. Smartphone: On Mother’s Day I texted my mother to wish her a happy Mother’ Day. This seemed like good digital etiquette as I live out of town and could not visit. Now my mother is angry and says I should have called. Did I do something wrong? T.J. Tiburon

Dear T.J.: There are too many factors here to pull apart. Do you typically text your Mother, or do you call her? Is there a tradition of sending cards or flowers? And, when did you text: late in the day, or before she got up? There are many different options for communications today, and you should choose the one your Mom would like- not the one you prefer.

Here is a useful academic take- the mode we use (say text vs. voice call) also changes the messages in a subtle way. Have you considered making peace now by sending Mom a singing telegram?!

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