9 Personal Things You Should Never Text or Email


Rule #1 of email and text etiquette? Don't send anything that you wouldn't post publicly for the world to see. If your messages are even the slightest bit questionable, aggressive, provocative, or sexy, they will make it to someone else other than the intended recipient. And when the narrative is out of your hands, you have no way to control it — which could result in unexpected consequences.

Avoid certain disasters by minding these nine things you should never text or email. (See also: 13 Embarrassing Mistakes Everyone Makes But Doesn't Talk About)

1. Anger Toward Your Partner

My soon-to-be ex-husband and I are on good terms now, but for a few years leading up to our separation, it was tough getting along with one another. One of the contributing factors to us never being on the same page was that we were always fighting via text or email. He preferred it because he said he couldn't get a word in edgewise if we had a verbal argument (which I don't disagree with), but texting and emailing our issues to one another only seemed to exacerbate our problems. Our "tones" were often taken out of context when written, and we weren't handling our marriage like adults. As such, avoid making the same mistakes that I did with your partner.

Also keep in mind that "anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of law." While our marriage is ending amicably, not all relationships do — and if there's a paper trail of indecency toward one another, it can certainly be used as evidence against you.

2. A Relationship Break-Up

Listen, if you've been in a relationship with someone for more than a few weeks, especially if you've consummated that relationship, you owe it to the other individual to break it off in person. It's common decency. Personally, I'd rather get dumped over coffee than wake up to a text message that says, "It's over." Because then I'll be like, "The hell it is," and show up at your office a few hours later with a rabbit in a pot.

3. Firing an Employee

Firing an employee is just like a breakup, and it should be handled with the same amount of sensitivity. Sending a text or email to tell someone they're fired is cowardly and disrespectful, no matter how old they are or what length of time they've spent at the company. Call the employee into your office, tell them point-blank that they're being let go, provide reasons for the dismissal, and discuss the professional uncoupling procedure.

This also provides you an opportunity to manage the removal of the employee's personal property, whereas telling them by text or email will give them plenty of time to pilfer company information since they'll still need to physically come back to the office to claim their belongings. Things can go off the rails very quickly in these situations, which plenty of corporate security guards can attest to.

4. Your Nude Photos

Listen, you're an adult and you can do what you want, but you can't start boo-hooing when your boss or your mother discovers the nude pics and videos you've been sending to strangers on Tinder. Not everyone out there is a nice person — and the sooner you recognize that, the less apt you'll be to put all your goodies on the Internet.

If you want to engage in this type of activity, at least do it with someone you trust. Otherwise, keep identifying physical aspects of yourself out of the shots, including your face and tattoos. I'm doling out this advice as someone with experience in how awry these heat-of-the-moment decisions can go... and it won't end the way you want it to.

5. Personal and Financial Information

If someone asks for your Social Security number or credit card information via text or email — even if you trust them implicitly — politely decline. If you send the information over unencrypted or unsecure networks, hackers and identity thieves may snatch it. Instead, pick up the phone to have the recipient of the information manually take it down. Ask that they destroy the evidence in many pieces afterward, too.

6. Messages That Make You Look Illiterate

Sometimes I read emails from professional people with high-paying jobs and I think to myself, how did you graduate high school? You know what I'm talking about. There's this scourge of society who can't compose a proper sentence or place punctuation appropriately. Some people write a whole paragraph with nary a comma or period. Drives me crazy, and it makes me question their literacy.

Home-school mom and counselor Nicole Dean is on my side.

"Sending incomplete emails or emails that are not proofread is the worst — especially to potential employers or professional/business contacts," she says. "When composing an email to a professional or when composing an angry email (complaining about something, offering criticism), do not put in the person's email address until you have typed the entire email. Then, read through the whole email. I also find it helpful, as a habit, to attach any files to the mail before writing the text. Never reply all. If you have several email addresses, always check which one you are using before you start typing. Some people have sent mass replies or single emails using a second or third 'throwaway' email address that is either unprofessional or inappropriate."

7. Apologies and Confessions

Apologize in person for whatever you did wrong. Likewise, if you have something to confess, sit down, tell the truth, and move on with your life.

"Whatever bad thing you did to warrant a heartfelt apology or remorseful confession requires more than just a 146 character, black-and-white response," adds author Mark Babbitt, founder of a social resource for young professionals. "Sure, it's easier to deliver bad news while hiding behind your device, but this is the time to be a real human being — which means an abundant amount of eye contact, positive body language, and a reassuring touch."

Unless they don't want your grubby hands touching them anymore. Keep your devil-paws to yourself if that's the case.

8. Inappropriate Questions

If a question seems invasive, awkward, or weird, and you're having second thoughts about whether or not you should send a message containing that question, don't do it. Trust your gut. It usually does a good job of letting you know when you're about to act foolish.

9. Resumes From Your Work Email

Let me break this down for you right quick: If you send your resume to a potential employer from your current employer's email, you deserve to be fired. You're using company time and resources to look for a different job? Get it together!

Send your resumes when you're not at work on your work computer, please. The IT department can see everything you send, remember, and some of them are looking for faux pas just like this to forward to HR. You'll really kick yourself when you start feeling unhireable because nobody has responded to your applications while also being unemployed.

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