How To Text Someone You’re Mad At

These messages will get the point across.

Originally Published: 
A person wears a tank top while listening to headphones and texting. Texting when you're mad at some...
Johnce/E+/Getty Images

Your friend stood you up for the third time in three weeks; your cousin is refusing to get vaccinated even though Grandma is coming to her wedding; and then there’s that co-worker that won’t stop rolling his eyes whenever your cat creeps across your laptop during Zoom meetings. An arsenal of texts to send when you’re mad at someone can come in handy when their snide remark about your fourth cup of coffee this morning was the last straw.

“It’s not about being mean or getting back at someone,” says Jordyn, 26, who tells Bustle that they’ve sent their fair share of pissed off texts. “Sometimes, I just have to do what my idol tells me to and ‘let it go.’” Letting off some steam via Messenger can look like anything from a long, drawn-out explanation of why you’re fuming to a short, simple, and not-so-sweet emoji.

Communicating your anger through text is as much an art form as it is an emotional expression. “There’s a fine line between ‘I’d like to initiate the fight of the century’ and ‘Hey, man, I’m upset that you did that crappy thing,’” Jordyn says. If you’re looking for texts that signal you’re upset without inviting an all-out argument, check out these 11 texts to send when you’re mad.


Say anything, but add periods.

Every time your mom texts you, you’re convinced that you’ve done something wrong. Why? Because she uses actual punctuation in her texts, blissfully unaware that saying, “Call me back when you can!” is very different than saying “Call me back when you can.” (Even science says so.) Toss more periods into your texts when your colleague won’t stop hogging the office espresso machine, and they’ll get the message.


“Wow, thanks for letting me know what your priorities are.”

“Mostly, I reserve this one for transphobic relatives who text to tell me how difficult it is for them to use my pronouns,” says Sara, 31. “But I feel like it can also help when your bestie keeps posting TikToks with everyone but you (definitely not based on experience).”



Even caps-locking your phone doesn’t scream as loudly as a single “k.” It’s quick, efficient, and very clear.


“No problem.”

Except, it’s a really big problem. Don’t worry. The period will let them know.


“I’d rather not.”

“It’s a lot less chipper than ‘Aw, I need to take a rain check!’” says Dawn, 29. “And it’s a two-for-one — you’re declining their invitation and cluing them in that you’re pissed at them.”


Leave off the “I love you.”

Sometimes, it’s about what you’re not saying. “I always say ‘I love you’ to my close friends in longer texts,” Jordyn says. “But if something doesn’t feel right — aka they’ve really hurt me somehow — I’ll leave it out.” That’s definitely a conversation-starter.


[Insert passive aggressive emoji here]

The thumbs-up emoji might become your new best friend when your co-worker asks you to cover their shift at the last minute — again. You’ll do it, but only because the money is decent, not because you like them. Let them know with a thumbs-up followed by literally nothing else. If you’ve got an iPhone, make it even worse (or better) with a thumbs-up tapback, rather than actually sending the emoji.


“The dishes are almost as messy as your love life. Please fix.”

When your roommate hasn’t done their dishes in centuries and you’ve had enough, you might consider getting a little sassy with your texts. And when the mold is starting to build up, is anything really off limits?


“Sitting through the last season of Glee would be less annoying.”

When you really need to leave them with no question of how you’re feeling about hanging out with them, whip out a telling TV reference. Instead of a simple “Nah, I’m busy tonight,” Ryan Murphy can tell them how it really is.


“Omg!!! That’s amazing!!!!”

“I’m a pretty expressive person, but it still freaks my friends out when I start putting five thousand exclamation points with short sentences,” Dawn tells Bustle. “They realized before I did that it’s something I do when I’m pissed and trying to (unsuccessfully) hide it... But now I can deploy the exclamation points on purpose.”


“In this essay, I will...”

Remember when a 375-word essay felt impossibly long in high school? It’s not long enough when you’re this ticked off — so get typing. Send it all in one block of text for bonus rage points.

This article was originally published on