See, I like following (i.e., try to follow) the Golden Rule, which mandates that we treat others the same way we’d like to be treated. Karma is another name for that: “What goes around comes back around.”
So if you’re a Millennial or younger, let’s be a little less “me, me, me” by following these guidelines based on common sense + a few of my pet peeves:
Being concise, numbering your questions, and using good headings are just some good email etiquette basics. Find more below.
The post above suggested we keep emails to one line. But as someone who likes to write (a lot), I’ve found I can’t do that unless the message necessitates it, you know?
Hey I’ll be home few hours later than expected. Would you mind turning on the oven as soon as you get home?
That message clearly doesn’t need more than a line.
Good afternoon, I see you design blogs. I need mine overhauled ASAP. Please send me more information.
Um, a message like that from a potential client actually looks rude. I’m sure there’s a way to make it sound nice (let me know if you come up with one!) but if I were to get something like that, I’d make my reply email sound just as dry.
Replying to Emails
Reply within 24-48 hours. Simple as that.
If you’re going to take longer: Send the person an email stating something along these lines (go ahead and borrow the following template if you’d like. Feel free to modify it according to the nature of your relationship):
“Hi, XYZ! Just letting you know I got your email but I can’t reply just yet. I have Y going on* and that seems to be keeping me away from doing other things. But don’t worry because I’ll be sure to reply to ya as soon as I can. Thank you!”
*Or, “I’m working on doing the research you asked…”
People love hearing from you even if it’s to explain why they won’t hear much from you. One time years ago I set my Vacation Responder to apologize for my potential delay in responding while explaining all the things I was involved in in school.
Instead of getting mad, do you know what people did? Send me additional messages telling me not to worry to reply to them; that they could wait! Isn’t that nice? So be courteous and spare others the agony of waiting for your response.
This is tough, I know. Heck, even I have abstained from sending these, but when I do send one, I feel so good. I like making a great impression and this kind of email makes a stupendous first/second/hundredth impression.
Just be nice!
These should be a requirement. Not only because I’m all mighty and you need to write me a thank-you card, dang it, but also because I’d like to check whether you even got my gift in the first place!
Once I left a friend a gift with her roommate and I ended up texting her a couple days later to check whether she had gotten it. Her roommate isn’t a thief, by any means, but I still wanted to know what she thought!
I like to write thank-you cards because they show the gifter that I cared enough about the effort they made to get me something to commemorate it with a few words on a card or phone call.
You don’t even have to make the card! The Dollar Store carries great sets and TJ Maxx has adorable and affordable sets (see below).
You know how high-brow peeps in Victorian themes (and even through 1920s England–thank you, Downton Abbey) had their butlers scream to a room full of people the name of their guests to introduce them to the others present? Well don’t do that because that’s not what I mean :).
Now unless you absolutely know for a fact you may stop by someone’s house at any given moment and without any notice, then feel free to disregard this.
Instead, and if you don’t know for sure, simply let them know WHETHER you can stop by (if you’re not sure you need their permission) or that you’ll be stopping by in a bit. Doing so within 30 mins-1 hr is preferable so that they have enough time to make themselves and/or their abode presentable, if necessary.
The friend I mentioned above likes to do not let me know when she’s stopping by and I can’t stand it! I’m OK with spontaneity, but let’s show a little more R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
If you come by my house unannounced, I’m almost positive I’ll pretend I’m not there. You’ve been warned.
Of course you don’t need to if it’s just a quick “Hello” visit, but I bet that even then, your host(ess) wouldn’t mind getting some type of card or little something to eat/drink/be merry/decorate their home. I mean, I know I wouldn’t, so I’m sure that applies to many others.
(Also: What’s up with asking gals out on the same day you want to see them? Let’s be a lil’ more polite, yes? Unless you know for a fact she’s “random” like that, play it safe and give us at least a day’s notice.)
Let the men pay! Enough said on that front.
What etiquette rules would YOU encourage your fellow Millennials to follow? (I may even incorporate your suggestion in a follow-up post!)