HOW TO COMMUNICATE
IN A MODERN WORLD
There is a Miss Manners, a Dear Abby and a host of other
advice columns. And now there is one more, at least for today. Meet the
Doctor of Communications, aka Dr. C, who will answer all your etiquette
questions related to email, texting and cell phone calling in this modern
Dear Dr. C: I have a really good friend who likes to
talk on the phone. She recently bought a new car with hands-free voice
control calling. She also has a long commute. I don't want to lose her as
a friend, but she's driving me friggin' crazy with her constant calling.
What should I do? Signed, Car Chat victim..
Dear Car Chat victim: Dr. C can relate. Dr. C
has a friend who often drives 2 hours to Sacramento for work and drives
home during dinner hour, which is when he likes to call and chat. Dr. C
wants to kill him. However, Dr. C usually just tells him that he will call
him back as soon as Dr. C is in the car with nothing to do. While we
always appreciate a friend reaching out, it would be nice if someone
developed an app that notified friends that both parties are driving and
available for conversation. Until that happens, Dr. C suggests that when
your friend calls, ask if she's driving. If she says yes, hang up.
Dear Dr. C: Like many people, I send a lot of personal
and business emails. Naturally, I expect a response, but I'm perplexed as
to the appropriate length of time before I receive a response. Some people
take forever, some don't respond at all, and some respond immediately. Is
there a guideline you can offer that will help me not only understand
others, but help me to determine my own response time? Signed, Anxiety
Dear Anxiety Ridden Emailer: First of all, Dr. C
responds to every email he receives, because he doesn't want to ignore
anyone. Secondly, Dr. C never responds immediately, because he is a
shallow individual who doesn't want anyone to think he isn't busy and
doesn't have more important things to do. So even though Dr. C often reads
an email as soon as it comes in and is perfectly capable of an instant
response, he waits at least a few hours to prove what a busy guy he is.
Dr. C has at least one friend who always responds immediately, and it is
intimidating. He is very busy and very successful, and Dr. C hates him for
his lack of shallowness. Anyway, in answer to your question, Dr. C
suggests the 24 hour rule: If you don't answer an email in 24 hours,
you're not just shallow, you're rude.
Dear Dr. C: I'm a novice texter, and I'm worried that
I'll text something that will be taken the wrong way. Is there anything I
can do to insure my texting partner won't think I'm a complete
knucklehead? Signed, Texter With Trepidation.
Dear Texter With Trepidation: Your fears are well
founded. Texting has shattered many a relationship. Not only do novices
accidentally send texts to the wrong recipient, a misplaced word can
create hurt feelings. For example, just last week Dr. C's son texted that
he would be coming over for dinner. Dr. C texted back "Great."
Dr. C's son responded "An exclamation point wouldn't kill ya!"
Dr. C learned a lesson that he's now sharing with novices like you. Never
underestimate the power of exclamation points!
Dear Dr. C: Why do people want to have long text
conversations when they can just push one button on speed dial and
actually talk to the other person? Signed, Tired Of Typing.
Dear Tired Of Typing: Excellent question.
Dear Dr. C: I'm thinking of opening a Twitter account,
but I don't understand all this hashtag stuff. Can you explain? Signed,
Dear Twitter Wannabe: You obviously think Dr. C is
younger and smarter than he actually is. Please send all Twitter questions
to the White House.
Dear Dr. C: I received a handwritten personal letter
in the mail the other day. How should I respond? Signed, Confused.
Dear Confused: First you should fondle and caress the
letter, and then lovingly smell it. Then perhaps you should frame it as a
historical relic. As for responding, the old geezer who sent it to you
will have probably passed away by the time your response gets to him or
her, so don't bother.