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| Dating and Networking

04/13/14

Communication breakdown: Sending a text is easy but not always appropriate

A friend of mine told me he just quit his job, to which I replied: "how did it go, was it contentious, nerve racking or awkward?"
The answer I received came as a bit of a surprise: "I don't know. I sent a text," he replied, completely unnerved by his response and totally oblivious to the fact that quitting your job via a text message is highly frowned upon and equally unprofessional on his part.
That's the blessing and curse of a text message; it's incredibly efficient and easy, but should be reserved for situations that don't absolutely require a face to face meeting or, at least, a phone call.
Aside from telling your employer that you he or she won't see your disgruntled face on Monday morning, what else is off limits when it comes to communicating through a text?
As long as your workplace is on the table for discussion, you'd be wise to forgo the text message and actually make a phone call when you're calling off sick for the day. Chance are if you're sending a text instead, two pertinent thoughts are permeating through your boss' brain: you're really sick or you're not telling the truth, and sadly the latter often wins out. If you are that sick, say that in the text. The same can be said if you're shooting your boss a text message at 4 in the morning because you can't sleep, but feel that a phone call at that hour isn't the best idea. The last thing you want is to tell your boss you won't be in the office tomorrow and wake them up in the middle of the night.

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Probably the most obvious blunder would be to avoid a face to face interaction with friends or family members when it comes to delivering news that is highly personal, such as a new baby on the way or an engagement announcement. Nothing quite says "you're not important enough for a phone call or visit" quite like sending a text message for something so near and dear to your heart.
Also near and dear to your heart is your bank account and other pertinent data like a social security number. Always be leery if you receive a text, even from a number you know, asking for anything like this. Your first thought should question if the phone has been stolen or is out of the hands of the person you know.
That's not to say that a text is totally inappropriate for the more insignificant fodder, such as telling a friend your on your way to the movies or you're running late for an impromptu lunch date. That type of talking is inconsequential to some degree.
And truthfully, that is exactly how "texting" should be viewed. That technology was never intended to be more than mindless and meaningless, so you should treat it as such and exercise good judgment before you finally hit that send button.

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