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Curt e-mail messages

It is easy to offend by e-mail In fact, I should say, it's the default mode.

Because there's no facial expression, body language, or tone of voice, emails convey just the text. So the text has to say everything.

This week I received a one line response to a very polite and friendly e-mail I had sent to an old classmate of mine who has now risen to high ranks. His e-mail response was - "shall we do lunch next week?"

I wrote back, addressed him, suggested Thursday, and signed my name.

He wrote back, "can't do Thursday. How about week after?"

So I learned to play his game. "Sorry not available."

Truth is, I would love to meet up for lunch any day next week. But I would like to receive at least some courtesy.

Okay, maybe he was very busy, and didn't have time to address me with "Dear Anne". I would have been happy with just "Anne." Instead, he sent me a headless chicken - an e-mail written to some subordinate of his, rather than an old acquaintance.

Or perhaps he works for the kind of organisation or in an industry sector which encourages this sort of curt e-mail communication. Maybe courtesy, in the form of addressing the addressee and signing oneself, is considered surplus and clutter.

When I'm travelling, short on time but overloaded with emails to read, I am less polite than usual. Now I understand what my friends mean when they say I'm too curt in my emails when I'm too busy to notice.

A friendly e-mail goes a long way - not just a good lunch.

20 April 2002 Saturday

Addressing the sender:
Dear Anne
Hi, Anne!
Anne - how are you!
Wo, Anne!
Signing myself:
Take care, Anne
Love, Anne
Cheers, Anne
See ya, Anne
Until then, Anne
Bye for now, Anne
Yours, Anne