I’m here today to give you a random lesson in etiquette.
Generally speaking, I’m not a bitter or judgmental person. But, there are things…*sigh*….there are things that will make me stop & consider whether or not you were just never taught or if you are, in fact, an excretory opening at the end of the alimentary canal; or, in simpler terms: an asshole.
A few of these things land you closer to the ‘Full-On A-Hole’ end of the spectrum without much thought, but there are some less offensive infractions that, while annoying, don’t make you an “excretory opening.” One of those things involves etiquette in its written form.
If you are expecting someone to perform a service for you, a little thoughtfulness goes a long way. If I send you a friendly, respectfully worded message with complete sentences & full consideration of what is most conducive for you & your needs, then the least you could do is respond with a little friendliness of your own. Do not send me an email with one incomplete sentence or a short, one-word answer and ignore everything else I said. That’s just rude.
If I send this:
I’m so glad you made it to Jane’s party. It was really great to meet you there! Thank you so much for requesting a party of your own. I’m excited to work out the details and get something set up for you! Have you given any thought to what your expectations are for your party? If you haven’t, no worries, we can figure it out together. Are you available on (day, time, etc.)? Please let me know if there is anything else I can assist you with!
Hope to hear from you soon,
And you respond with this:
I don’t know what to do with that. I don’t know if you’re having second thoughts about working with me, if something is going on in your life and you just didn’t have the energy to expend on responding to me…if you’re simply ignorant, just don’t like typing, or which of my questions you’re responding to. I don’t even know if that’s you to be honest because you didn’t even sign it. Should I go ahead and assume you’re responding to my question about when you’re available and try to set up a date for us to talk or what? WHAT THE FUNK do I do with ‘yea‘?! For someone who is obsessed with courtesy & grammar, you have to understand how frustrating this is!
No. No, NO, no.
Lucy, let me ‘splain somethin’ to ya. You have to give me something to work with. Your response doesn’t have to be the epitome of thoughtful, cordial conversation, but it does have to answer my questions and be coherent enough that we can continue our correspondence without me having to bang my head against my keyboard for five minutes wondering how I can respond to you without seeming stupid, incompetent, or rude (which is completely unfair since you’re the one who couldn’t even take the time to place a period behind one effing word). *Deep breath.*
Ideally, your response would resemble this:
It was great to meet you at Jane’s party as well. It was a lot of fun! Thank you for taking the time to follow up with me. (I have or have not thought about my expectations for my party and they are as follows.) Yes, I am available (date time, etc.). Just let me know where you’d like to meet. See you soon!
The message above is short, complete, direct, and also thoughtful. It answers each section of the message that I sent you, and leaves me with no doubts or other questions that do not directly pertain to the service you need me to provide for you. As a bonus, it also leaves room for a real friendship to be born out of our business transaction because at this point I’m just thinking about how nice you are & I’m excited to get together with you.
But even if it just looked like this, I’d be happy:
Yeah, I’m available that day. Where do you want to meet?
Because at least then I know exactly what question you’re responding to and you’ve given me a clear invitation to continue the conversation by asking me a question. Now neither one of us looks stupid, incompetent, rude, or like an A-hole. All it takes is being nice.
Common courtesy isn’t so common anymore. Let’s change that one interaction at a time.
This public service announcement has been brought to you by the Sheriff of The Nice Police. I implore you to stop being a lazy responder & get your shit together or the people who provide services for you are going to think you’re an asshole and never want to work with you again.
Or at the very least, they might be tempted to spit in your dinner.