At the touch of a button
We rely on technology for almost everything we do nowadays, from studying to working and communicating. There’s nothing wrong with using technology in our favor, after all, it’s meant to improve and simplify our lives. But sometimes, instead of simplifying it, it can complicate matters even further. Like when you text or email someone instead of having a face to face discussion about a serious matter. Not sure what this means? Then read on to find out!
Topics that require deep discussions
It’s no secret that no one likes reading lengthy text messages or emails. If you need to send someone a work email, keep it short, simple and to the point. Better yet, invite the recipient to a discussion in person (or, in the times of COVID-19, a Skype or Zoom meeting), recommends Rachel Wagner, licensed corporate etiquette consultant. “Include an attached agenda of items to be discussed so attendees can come prepared with thoughts and ideas to brainstorm,” she says.
Set a time for the meeting to start and end and if the discussion isn’t over by that time, schedule a follow-up meeting. This way, everyone focuses on the subject at hand and use their time efficiently. Also, be efficient and avoid these 16 Seemingly Harmless Things You Need to Stop Doing on Your Computer.
Arguing with your partner
If you’re in a long-term relationship, or have been living together, using every means of communication to get your point across, or, in other words, to squabble and argue, is quite common. However, as normal and common as it might be, it’s not exactly in your relationship’s best interest.
According to experts, when you argue by text or email, none of you can hear each other’s tone and see each other’s body language. The first instinct is to assume the worst about what your partner wrote you, says Jonathan Bennett, certified counselor in the Columbus, Ohio area and owner of The Popular Man. The takeaway? Never argue over text or email. Not ever!
Speaking of arguments, make sure you find out more about these 10 Normal Fights Even Happy Couples Have.
If your text conversation starts heating up, don’t give in to anger and start throwing insults. Talking through a screen might make it easier for you to say things you don’t really mean, things that won’t make you feel better about yourself once the anger subsides. “It’s easier to sling insults behind a screen than when you’re looking your partner in the eye,” says Bennett
It’s best to play it nice and control yourself. Instead of saying “By no means am I going to spend one more afternoon with your odious mother, only to have her criticize the fact that I don’t know how to cook!” try a sweeter version like “Can you help me prepare something delicious for your mother’s visit?”. Your significant other might be more responsive and receptive to this approach. Remember, you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
Negative or sarcastic things
Just because you delete an email or text message you’re not proud of from your list after you’ve already sent it, it doesn’t mean it’s gone forever. Oh, no! it can easily come back and haunt you, especially if you’ve used your work email address or work computer, because “most companies have sophisticated software that can retrieve even deleted emails,” explains Wagner.
Not to mention your negative or gossipy texts can be used against you in a court of law. Yes, that’s right! You could offend someone that bad and actually get sued for defamation. Therefore, wouldn’t it be better to stick to face to face conversation that doesn’t resurface when you least expect it? Make sure you also read 11 Ordinary Things You Do Everyday That Could Get You Sued.
Sharing private or touchy personal information
Given that we use technology to communicate and circulate information, it’s not always easy to stop a conversation when private or sensitive topics come into discussion. However, we’re all missing a very important point here: “Texts and emails can be forwarded to others, or be sent as Blind Carbon Copies (BCC), anyone in the world can read them!” warns Wagner.
To avoid having a paper trail follow you constantly, steer clear from typing and sending information about your company’s new projects or merger plan, confidential company secrets or confidential personal information. You know what they say…better safe than sorry!
For many people, saying “I’m sorry” is a challenging endeavor. For this reason, they prefer typing ut the words instead of saying them out loud. However, an apology coming in the form of a text might not seem like holding the same meaning as a voiced apology. The recipient can’t see you or hear you so they might think you don’t really mean it, even if you do.
“If you need to apologize to someone for something, it’s not a good time for more misunderstandings and miscommunications to come into play,” says Deb Cheslow, life coach, achievement expert and the author of Unrealogical: Real People, Remarkable Stories of Transformation. If you can’t do it in person, at least get to the phone and apologize by using your voice not your fingers.
Saying “We need to talk”
Sending a puzzling text like “we need to talk” might not mean that much to you since you know the topic you want to discuss, but for the person receiving it, it can be downright scary and alarming. In other words, the other person will become jittery and anxious, waiting for you to tell them the bad news because that’s the first thing they will think: that something’s wrong, says David Radin, leadership effectiveness consultant and CEO and co-creator of Confirmed Instant Scheduler.
Instead of making them think of the worst-case scenario, drop the “we need to talk” approach and ask the other person if they have some time to meet up as you have something to share with them.
Breaking up with someone
Breaking up with a romantic partner is never easy, especially when there are feelings involved. You might want to avoid facing the rejected person, or do it as swiftly as possible but doing it over text or email is never the right approach. Right, fair, respectful, you name it. After all, who would be okay to find out that the person they’ve been spending their precious time with cannot give them the time of day and respect them enough to break up with them face to face? It’s really rude.
More than that, a breakup text is not going to make the other person hurt any less, if that’s what you think, says April Masini, New York-based relationship and etiquette expert. It’s the worst way you could end a relationship. Speaking of which, check out The WORST Mistakes You Need to Stop Making By Age 40.
Saying “I love you” for the first time
Saying “I love you” is special. It’s an important milestone in a relationship, signifying a deep connection and feeling that cannot be expressed otherwise. Therefore, when, where and how you profess your love is equally important. Whether you’re a teenager, in your 20s, late 30s, or 50+, the first time you utter these meaningful words should not be over a text or email, unless you want to strip these beautiful words of any meaning.
What if the other person doesn’t read the text or email for hours, even days? How would that impact you? What if the recipient of the message doesn’t text you back with their own “I love you”? What then? To save yourself and your significant other of such embarrassing and even heartbreaking moments, stick to the old, traditional way of expressing your love: face to face.
After you’ve said your first “I love you” the way it’s supposed to be said, here are some Beautiful Ways to Say “I Love You” Without Using Words.
Sharing news of death
When someone dies and it’s up to you to announce the dreadful news, experts suggest doing it in person. There’s nothing more disrespectful in such a sad situation than sending the grieving person a text message informing them that someone dear to them just passed away, especially when you have the means to do it in person. Therefore, if you can, be there for the grieving people, physically, not only emotionally. They might need hugs and words of encouragement and sympathy, says Warner.
Speaking of your boss, letting them know that you’re not planning on going back to work …ever, through a text message or email, is not the way to make it official. No matter how much you hate your job, there are certain steps you need to take in order to leave in a professional manner, says Jacquelyn Youst, certified etiquette consultant and founder and president of the Pennsylvania Academy of Protocol.
You might see nothing wrong in writing a resignation email in the heat of the moment but, but it will not help your career in the long term. So, be smart about it, keep it professional and have a civilized one on one with your manager. Make sure you also check out 16 Signs It’s Time to Quit Your Current Job and Find a New One.
People are using social media platforms to inform announce and talk about all sorts of things with their social circle. But when it comes to life-changing news like getting married or having a baby, posting a Facebook message or a tweet instead of directly announcing your partner, family and close friends is not the way to do it. Such big news deserves to be shared with your loved ones, face to face, or at least over the phone.
Don’t think your manager should also find out about your pregnancy through an email. Given that they will have think of someone to replace you, maternity cover and other management and administrative issues, the best approach is to have a private discussion with your boss and clear everything up, suggests Georgene Huang, CEO and co-founder of Fairygodboss.
Credit card information
I’m sure it has happened to you at least once: you found something really nice to buy only to discover that you’ve left your credit card at home. Texting or emailing your spouse to send you the credit card information is harmless, right? Wrong. You might manage to buy the desired item but you’re also opening the virtual door to cybercriminals.
According to the 2019 Identity Fraud Study from Javelin Strategy & Research, there have been 1.2 billion cybercrime victims in 2019 alone, with email being one of the riskiest methods to send credit card information and one of the easiest to breach. That’s because emails never disappear forever, not even after you delete them. Text messages are a little bit more secure, but only if you delete texts right away, says Wagner. However, to stay on the safe side at all times, best talk about the payment information face to face or over the phone.
While we’re at it, check out these 9 Biggest Online Scams You Might Fall Victim To.