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Just a flutter of the fingers away

Just a flutter of the fingers away
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Given the way society has adopted technology into our daily communication process, there are some things that are appropriate to put in an email or text now that wasn’t a decade ago. However, sometimes (re: most of the time), it’s better to just say it in person. You can’t command+Z a sent email after all!

Anything that requires in-depth discussion

Anything that requires in-depth discussion
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Aside from the fact that no one enjoys reading long, novel-length emails, it’s not a very good use of your time or the person at the other end of the screen’s time. If this is a workplace conversation, send an email that invites a recipient to a meeting to discuss the issues at hand, suggests 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. “Have a specific start and stop time and, if the meeting requires additional time, plan a follow-up meeting.” This is respectful to all schedules involved and allows for a focused and efficient use of everyone’s time, she adds.

Fighting with your partner

Fighting with your partner
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If you’ve been together a while, and especially if you live together, it’s common to fight through any means of communication you use. But experts warn against text or email arguing. “It’s impossible to read tone and see body language over a message, so it’s too tempting to read the worst into your partner’s typed words,” says counsellor Jonathan Bennett. NEVER fight with your significant other over text.

Insults

Insults
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If emotions do start to simmer during a text conversation, it’s best to play nice. There’s something about talking through a screen that makes it easy to say things you’ll regret later. “It’s easier to sling insults behind a screen than when you’re looking your partner in the eye,” says Bennett. Keep it civil. Your partner will be much more receptive to “Could your mum pop by tomorrow instead, after we’ve had a chance to clean?” than to “No way am I letting that vile woman come tonight and insult the home that SOMEBODY is too big of a slob to clean!” Getting that off your chest might feel good at first, but it will just start a bigger fight later. Whether it is business or personal, remember at all times that you are a professional.

Now read 8 annoying text habits you’re probably making.

Anything negative or sarcastic

Anything negative or sarcastic
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Remember that once an email is sent, it can be resurfaced at any time. “Even if you later regret sending that gossipy email and decide to delete it from your ‘sent’ email and even from your ‘trash,’ most companies have sophisticated software that can retrieve deleted emails,” explains Wagner. And those emails can also be used legally in court. For these reasons, she suggests confronting these issues face-to-face where there’s no paper trail that can follow you forever. “This conveys professionalism and shows your willingness to have those ‘hard’ conversations versus hiding the issue behind a computer screen.”

And here are another 25 etiquette mistakes you need to get under control.

Sharing intimate or sensitive personal information

Sharing intimate or sensitive personal information
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Because we communicate through technology more and more, it can be hard to stop a conversation when something sensitive or private comes up. But, ask yourself: Do you want that paper trail? “Because texts and emails can be forwarded to others, or be sent as Blind Carbon Copies (BCC), and anyone in the world can read them!” says Wagner. “Avoid sending anything about new company initiatives, confidential company information, confidential board meeting information, and confidential personal information.”

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Apologies of any kind

Apologies of any kind
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Sure, it’s a lot easier to type out the words, “I’m sorry,” than to actually say them out loud, but the former doesn’t hold quite as much meaning than the latter. You might not really mean it – or you might! Without the other person seeing or hearing you, it’s hard to tell. “If you need to apologise to someone, it’s not a good time for more misunderstandings and miscommunications to come into play,” says life coach, achievement expert and the author of Unrealogical Deb Cheslow. “Pick up the phone.”

“We have to talk”

“We have to talk”
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Sending a cryptic phrase such as this might be harmless to you, who knows exactly what type of conversation needs to be had, but to the person on the other end, it can be frightening. Simply put, the other person is put on edge as they wait for the penny to drop, says leadership effectiveness consultant David Radin. At the very least, it’s respectful to ask the person if they have some time to set aside to have an in-person discussion because there’s something you’d like to share.

Breaking up with a romantic partner

Breaking up with a romantic partner
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Breaking up is hard to do no matter how it’s done, but you should avoid communicating this concept via text or email. “Inevitably this happens because the person doing the breaking up doesn’t want to face the rejected one, either because he or she is afraid to hurt them or because they’re trying to avoid a scene,” says relationship and etiquette expert April Masini. “Regardless of the reason, if you’ve been dating someone long enough that a break up is warranted, doing it by text is very bad manners. In-person is the way to break up.”

Discover grammar hacks that will take your texting to the next level.

Saying “I love you” for the first time

Saying “I love you” for the first time
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Whether you’re a teenager, a 20-something, or part of the 50+ crew, these three words should hold a lot of meaning, and certainly not be shared for the first time using a carefree method like text or email. Additionally, what if the person doesn’t see the message for hours, or even days? How are you going to feel? Or, what if they don’t care to respond with an “I love you too?” Save yourself – and them – the grief of dealing with this scenario by saying those words in person instead.

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