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Email Makes You Rude

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New research says people are nastier when on the phone and online. Here's why.

rude email
Ever notice when you're firing off emails, you're not as conscious of what you say? Or when you speak to a customer service rep, your patience is paper thin?

It's not that you're mean per se --- but scientists are discovering that people are bolder and often ruder online and on the phone than they are in person.

According to the study published in the Journal Psychological Reports, when people communicate in an anonymous fashion (i.e via email, message boards or on the phone), they're more anti-social and obnoxious than usual.

And it kinda makes sense: When you're tracking a lost package on the phone, sighing and rolling your eyes is more easily done when you don't have to look the person you're berating straight in the eye.

What's more, thanks to our abbreviated online language (BRB, LOL, Cya) not only are we less articulate, we also interpret others to be more dismissive and curt, which in turn, causes us to behave the same.

And the cycle continues ...

next: Don't Believe the Private School Hype
3 comments so far | Post a comment now
J-Coll September 25, 2008, 12:15 PM

Hahah - actually I am probably worse in person. If I’m not happy with someone and shoot off an email, I’ve learned the hard way, to vett it, vett it again and then have someone else read it before I send it. Whereas, in person, sometimes nastiness boils over and spews out of my mouth before I can bite my tongue. Although, I think in online interactive message boards, Social Networks, blogs and other Social Sharing sites, I think many people use them to vent, saying what they maybe don’t really mean and would never say in person. The anonymity of the internet allows for this. Unfortunately, they never bother to go back and apologize or set the record right, the way they might if it were done in person. And, that is a shame.

Beth September 25, 2008, 12:18 PM

Not me, all of my emails are very short i.e nope, good job, I will call you on this. Years ago, my boss was being sued for sexual harassment. The lady suing him sent him emails talking about sex. He only response was, no thanks I don’t date people I work with. Well, it went to trial, and the lady had to read the emails that she wrote. The case was over” So moral of the story is never put anything on email, that you don’t want printed on the front page of the New York Times.

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