Internet for Beginners/email etiqutte


Dear Steve,
I'm hoping you can help answer this - it may sound a bit silly - but it's really bothering me.  In a nutshell, myself and two new `friends` decided to have drinks together (myself, another woman, and a gay man - thus no romantic overtones).  This gentleman asked me to initiate a three-way email, so I did.  On behalf of myself and the other, I sent the original email of what became long thread of the three of us trying to decide on  a time and place.  All seemed normal, and in all emails, everyone was included in thè `TO`` field of the email header.
Near the last few emails, he said ``you girls pick between these two days``.  I responded saying I was fine with either day, and I wrote ``Tammy, it's your call``.  She responded the next day saying ``Friday is great - shall we say eight p.m.?``  Well, this is what really bothered me, he responded immediately, but this time, Tammy was the only name in the TO field and I was CC'd!!!  He wrote back ``this works for me - we can meet in this part of the building - and looking forward...``  The three of us have had a professional relationship for one year, but have never gone out on a personal basis - I always felt he favored this woman - but I feel that being carbon copied at the end was a slap in the face.  He was so careful for the past emails to include both our names in the TO field, until the end.  I know he only responds from his iphone.  Is this bad email etiquette, and what do I do - I feel extremely offended.
Thanks in advance for your answer!!!

Hi Christina

I can understand your frustration but hopefully my answer helps you understand that there could have been many reasons why this happened and hopefully you don't feel so bad!

First of all I will link you to a good page that offers 12 interesting tips for better e-mail etiquette.

I think it's interesting that you consider being placed in the CC section as being a slap in the face.  I will say that being in the CC section of an email does not mean you are less important.  This could have happened due to your friend clicking "Reply" instead of "Reply All", meaning that only one email address (his last contact) would be placed in the "To" section, from here, the man could have realised his error and placed you in the CC section to make sure you received the email.  It is a very common mistake and does not mean that you aren't as important as any of the other recipients.  

Any time he clicked "Reply All" in the past, both your names would have been in the "To" field but it's very easy to click "reply" by accident.  He really hasn't shown poor etiquette in this situation so I hope you can understand that this is remarkably common.   

Another reason could be that due to the increased popularity in email over the past 15 years, proper etiquette as all but gone from the most common email conversations.  It's true that emails related to job interviews, business and very important matters still focus on proper letter etiquette, normal conversations between acquaintances and friends no longer focuses on such as thing and your friend may not have even considered placing you in the CC section as being anything other than fixing a previous mistake.

My advice is not to worry about it, maybe ask them to make sure they click "Reply All" so everyone is involved in the conversation.  Read the website link I sent and try to follow your own rules of etiquette which is a good way to conduct yourself on the Internet.  

I hope I have been of some help and will gladly answer any follow ups you may have about this issue.


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Steven Gibb


I can answer any question related to the internet. I will answer any question regarding the history of the internet to understanding how it works. I am willing to aid new users in understanding any aspect of the internet and can also help more advanced users with any problems they are having. I can also help with general networking and computer issues. If the question is related to information technology I will be able to help.


I hold two degrees related to computer science and engineering. I have volunteered in several libraries and schools with the aim of helping new users get to grips with computers and the internet.

European Advanced Computer Driving License Bsc Electronics (Product Design/Comp Architecture) BEng Digital Systems Engineering

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