Do Your Manners Need a Makeover?

Photo: ThinkstockBy Henry Alford

Don't answer a telephone call with an e-mail.

Or an e-mail with a text message. Or a text with a Facebook message. In the communication hierarchy, you generally want to match the level of intimacy or move up the hierarchy--a move down can look like you're avoiding the person.

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Do ask before you post pictures from a party...

...whether anyone minds having them on Facebook. If someone is social-media-shy, save any photos of her for your non-Facebook albums.

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Don't text at the movie theater... matter how strong the urge to LOL. If you're perpetually rattled by the glowing phone screens of others texting during movies, do bring a tiny penlight to shine on them. It's more discreet than shushing but still delivers a wallop of social shame.

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Do embrace the 2.0 version of thank-you notes.

Text or e-mail a digital snapshot of you enjoying the present to the gift giver. Because nothing says thank you like photographic evidence.

Don't respond to a long, thoughtful e-mail merely with "Thx."

"Thx" will not make people look kindly on you--in their eyes you'll always be more Charlie Sheen than Tom Hx.

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