Have you ever had a friend or a coworker get annoyed with you – or break off your relationship – and you had no idea what you did wrong? It could be as simple as a breach of high-tech etiquette. Here are a few ways we inadvertently offend other people:

  • Returning a phone call with a text. Business strategist Carol Roth says you should always reply the same way someone reached out to you. That means, you should never text someone who left you a voicemail, or send an email in response to a handwritten note. That’s because responding with a less personal form of communication comes across as disrespectful. The only exception? Moving up the scale from an email to a phone call, or an in-person conversation – because that’s as personal as it gets.
  • Turning down an invitation without suggesting an alternative. According to the Emily Post Institute, if you have to decline a friend’s invite – even if it came via a group request on Facebook – it’s your responsibility to suggest a substitute activity. Because the ball’s in your court. Otherwise, you send the message, “I don’t want to spend time with you.”
  • Leaving people out. Alexandra Levit is the author of Millennial Tweet. And she says that in the age of tweets, texts, and Facebook, everyone knows who attends what events. In other words, if you invite six of your eight office mates to dinner, you can be sure that someone’s feelings are going to be hurt.