inviting only some coworkers to a party, rude IMs, and more

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. Can I invite only some of my coworkers to socialize in my small office?

A few weeks ago I started a job in a small firm made up of nine people and a team of freelancers. We all get along really well and it’s generally a nice place to work. Of those nine, myself and three others are twenty-somethings around the same age and all hold junior positions reporting to the same two people. For most of us, it’s our first post-college job. We also have all moved to this city in the last year or so. The rest of the firm is older, and most married with children.

The four of us younger people get along especially well and eat lunch together most days (but of course everyone is invited). We sometimes discuss our personal lives and will get the occasional drink together after work, seeing as we all have a fair amount in common being in the same “stage of life” as it were.

I recently moved apartments and am throwing a housewarming party with my roommate. I would like to invite my three work friends but I wonder if this would be a bad look at work. I don’t feel comfortable inviting the whole office, as my housewarming party will be cases of beer in the backyard and mostly twenty-somethings playing loud music, so not the kind of event you invite your boss to. However, is it inappropriate to invite coworkers at all? Will I be seen as cliquey if I invite some and not others, even though I’m quite sure this is not an event the “older set” would even want to go to? Am I completely overthinking this?

Nah, you’re fine. It would be rude if you invited everyone in the office except one person, but inviting the three people you’re close to and in the same life stage as is fine. It’s a pretty normal dynamic and your other coworkers will get it.

Separately, though, don’t rule out older coworkers for friendships either! When you’re in your 20s, it’s easy to assume you won’t have anything in common with older people — it can still feel like there’s a divide between you and Real Adults — but it can be cool to have older friends too. This isn’t a pitch to invite them to drink beer in your yard (trust your instincts on that), but be open to the possibility that you might click with them in other ways.

2. Is it rude to IM someone questions without waiting for their response to my “hi” message first?

I just started at a new job with a big company. I’ve noticed that when people send me chats, they always start with a “Hi” or “Good Morning” and then wait instead of including the purpose of their message directly in the message. Is it rude if I ask my questions and greeting in the same message without waiting for a reply in between?

It is not rude to include both a greeting and your question(s) in your initial message. Frankly, I’d argue it’s rude when people to do the opposite — just messaging “hi” and nothing else until they get a response — because that leaves you unsure whether they have something urgent or something that can wait until you’re at a better stopping point.

3. I had an accident right before my first day and my face is swollen and stitched up

I had put in a four-week notice and am scheduled to start a new job on Monday. However, over the weekend I was in an accident and sustained some serious facial trauma. I’m doing okay mentally, but my face is so swollen and stitched up that I do not look like myself. It’s also a little alarming to look at for people that aren’t familiar with seeing injuries.

I’m taking things day-by-day, but don’t have a follow-up doctor’s appointment scheduled until tomorrow. I’m not sure how I communicate any of this to my new job (especially since I can’t talk!) I’m not even sure I’ll be able to start on Monday as I had planned. Is there any advice you can give me on how to communicate this message to my new employer?

Just be matter-of-fact and direct! Email your new manager today and say, “I was in an accident over the weekend and had some significant trauma to my face. I’m doing okay but I’m swollen and stitched up. I’ve got a follow-up appointment with the doctor tomorrow and will know more after that, but I’m definitely pretty alarming to look at right now. Once I talk with the doctor tomorrow, I’m going to circle back to update you about whether she says I can still start on Monday, but I wanted to give you a heads-up about the situation now.”

Or, if you’d rather push your start date back, it’s okay to say that too — you could replace that last sentence with, “Would it be possible to push my start date back by a week so I have a little more time to heal?”

4. Coworker keeps misspelling my employee’s name

This is a low-stakes question, but I’d love some thoughts on how to address it or if I even should. One of my fellow department heads recently started spelling one of my staff member’s names wrong. This staff member has been working with us for nearly three years, but in the past 8-10 months, my colleague has begun to spell her name wrong every time she writes it. I mentioned it to her once before when she was introducing my staff member to someone outside our organization via email, but it continues to happen. My staff member shrugs it off, but I cringe every time I see an email come through with this error! Is there a way I can address this with my colleague, or is it in my staff member’s hands to bring it up?

For reference, it is a misspelling like “Katelyn” instead of “Kaitlin.” She is getting the actual name right, but the spelling is suddenly wrong every time.

It’s interesting that it just started suddenly after years of her getting it right. My bet is that she has someone new in her life who spells it differently so now it’s locked in her brain that way.

Anyway, you can definitely say something to her — but as someone with a commonly misspelled name, I can tell you that it may or may not stick. You can try saying, “I noticed you’ve been spelling Kaitlin’s name wrong — it’s Kaitlin, not Katelyn.” But that’s a one-time attempt and after that I’d drop it unless your employee is seriously bothered by it. (She may not even care; people with names with multiple spellings are often pretty used to it and not necessarily that annoyed. If you were my boss, I’d appreciate you making the one-time attempt but I wouldn’t need you to pursue it after that.)

5. Coworkers butt into my conversations

I am an older woman who has been with my company for seven years, and I know what I’m doing. There are a couple new hires in their 20s who constantly butt into my conversations with guests with whom I am speaking. They have no business butting in as I’m already helping the guests and giving them correct info. Other than telling the manager to tell them to butt out, what can I do? I don’t want to seem like a crabby old lady, but that is a very annoying habit!

Talk to them directly! The next time it happens, once the guest is gone say something like, “When I’m talking with a guest, please don’t interrupt since that can be confusing for the guest. If I need help, I’ll let you know but I’ve generally got it on my own.”

And don’t don’t think of it as being about age. People have annoying habits at all ages; this isn’t about them being younger or you being older. The more you can relate to them without bringing their age into your thinking, the better it’s likely to go and you’re likely to come across more respectfully.

{ 675 comments… read them below }

  1. A Wall*

    #2, I capital-h Hate it when people IM me at work just “hi” and nothing else. Please for the love of god tell me what you want instead of making me stop what I’m doing and have a whole chat with you just to find out why you sent me that hi.

    1. Anon for this*

      This. I’m constantly juggling seven different things. “Can you help me” or “Hello” or “Hi” cause me much anxiety because it can lead anywhere from coincidentally asking me about something I dealt with in the last hour to triggering a two hour impromptu meeting with several people who are one minute away from being out of touch for the rest of the day and I need to call them NOW to go WAAAAAAIIIIIIIIT if that ends up being warranted. Open with a description of what you need me to do. Especially when it involves something in the ticketing system you know perfectly well leaks memory like a sieve with holes poked in it and will take me forever to open.

      1. I need cheesecake*

        No anxiety here, just irritation.

        You wouldn’t walk into someone’s office, say ‘hi’ and just leave again. Don’t do it online either.

        1. I need cheesecake*

          I mean say hi and not wait for a reply if you need to have a conversation.

          Obviously it’s fine to say hi just to say hi! I’m not one of those ‘allergic to coworkers’ people. I just think it’s rude to trail off when you’re asking for something thus forcing me to ask you if you want something

          1. EPLawyer*

            Yeah. If someone just sent hi and nothing else I would think … they were just saying hi. If you need something from me, ASK for heaven’s sakes. I can’t read your mind, especially over IM.

        2. TechWorker*

          A ‘hi’ online is much closer to knocking on someone’s office door to see if they are there. I get it’s annoying to some and so I try to avoid doing it but I don’t find it inherently problematic.

          1. Tuesday*

            I agree – it’s intended to be polite, like stopping by someone’s office and waiting for them to look up from what they’re doing before launching into a question. I feel like a lot of people here though that I’d much rather know what the person wants right away so that I can decide if it’s a good time to respond.

            1. alienor*

              And it’s not like they can’t do both in the same message! “Hi coworker! (polite) I’ve got a quick question about XYZ…(business)”

              I kind of wonder whether since it’s instant messaging, it feels more like a social chat app. There, if you were starting a random conversation, you *would* lead off with a “hey” or “hi” and wait for the other person to respond. Maybe they just need to adjust their mental filter to “business” instead of “social” and it’d feel more comfortable to cut straight to the chase.

            2. DataSci*

              Not necessarily whether it’s a good time to respond, but whether it’s necessary to respond right now! I understand that some people view the waiting for a response after “hi” as being like waiting after a knock, but with IMs or Slack messages it’s more like there could be five people wanting to talk to me at once, and I don’t know whose is urgent!

              “Hi” with a wait also doesn’t take advantage of the asynchronous nature of the medium. If someone says “Hi DataSci, I had a question about the models for predicting llama grooming appointments” I can answer them when I’m available, and they’ll have the answer when they’re available – if instead I respond with “hi” when I’m available, and then the next time they’re available they can ask their actual question, and then the next time I’m available I can answer, it can unnecessarily add hours to the exchange. At that point they’re better off just plopping a meeting request on my calendar.

              1. Sea Anemone*

                If 5 people knock on your door, you don’t know whose need is urgent, either.

                “Hi” with a wait *does* take advantage of the asynchronous possibility of IM…that’s what the wait is for. If they can’t wait that hour for you to be free, they can try another method.

                1. fhqwhgads*

                  If 5 people want your attention simultaneously (or within a minute) and are knocking on your door, at least some of them will see the crowd at the door and choose not to knock then. They don’t have that insight when they’re IMing so the waiting aspect is different for the asker, not the asked.

                2. A Feast of Fools*

                  Scenario 1:
                  Coworker: “Hi, Feast, here’s my question.”
                  Feast: [answers question]
                  Coworker: “Thanks!”

                  Scenario 2:
                  Coworker: “Hi, Feast, here’s my question.”
                  Feast: [doesn’t answer ]
                  Coworker: [tries another method / person]

                  Scenario 3:
                  Coworker: “Hi, Feast.”
                  Feast: [doesn’t answer immediately]
                  Coworker: [tries another method/person]

                  Scenario 2 & 3 have the same outcome, so why not just asked the question from the start?

              2. ChristineX*

                This! One of the worst offenders of this is a Sr VP I work closely with. I will typically reply to his “Hi” right away if I’m not presenting or leading something, only for him to come back in a later time block with the actual question – often something I could have resolved or redirected immediately. It’s wildly aggravating.

              3. Boop*

                Absolutely – it’s a basic misunderstanding of the purpose of the medium. It also annoys me because it’s a lot like when people text “hey” but don’t actually have anything to say, they just want your attention. I had friends that did that A LOT and I had to stop responding.

                Also drives me crazy when people leave a voicemail OR SEND AN EMAIL saying “I have a question”. Now I have reply to and ask “what is your question” and then potentially have to do some research and waste time to answer/resolve the question and communicate that information, when I could have simply responded with a complete answer ONCE.

                ARG!

                1. Berkeleyfarm*

                  “Hey call me, I have a question”

                  … wow, you like putting me on the spot, don’t you?

              4. Liz*

                Another possibility: being aware your coworker might be screensharing in another app (think IM on Teams and in a Zoom meeting) and you don’t want all your messages to pop up.

                1. GlitsyGus*

                  THIS!!!! One of my former coworkers had something similar to, “Hey, do you know the status of that manufacturing error with Teapot Brothers’ order?” come up on their screen while they were sharing with Teapot Brothers’ biggest competitor.

                  Another had a teammate IM, “I need to talk to you about all of Sansa’s mistakes… AGAIN…FFS!” while Sansa and her manager were looking over her shoulder.

                  If it’s totally innocuous it isn’t as big a deal, but if I’m talking about clients or other individuals, I tend to start with, “Hey qq when you have a sec” or something similar. That way if it isn’t a good time they can let me know before the world and the sky seeing my comment only intended for the recipient.

              5. A Feast of Fools*

                Godz, yes. All of this.

                One of the worst offenders of “Hi, Feast” — followed by nothing until I respond — is a coworker in India… 9.5 time zones away.

                He will wait until he sees that I’ve logged on in the morning and then just send those two words.

                When I respond, I am treated to 4-5 solid minutes of watching the three “Other Person Is Typing” dots bounce up and down.

                There are times when I log on to find out that everything is on fire. I do NOT have the time to say, “Hi back, India Colleague” and then wonder if I should dive into Fire #1 (and thus ignore India Colleague for hours, after which he will have gone to bed) or if India Colleague is actually Fire #1A.

                Please, every coworker of mine on the planet: JUST TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT.

                If it can wait, then use email. Do NOT use *instant* message!!!

          2. A Wall*

            Just answering the question asked, “is it ok if I say it all in the first message instead of doing this or is that rude,” no, it’s not rude, by all means send a whole message the first time. I know people are trying to be polite when they leave just a greeting first, so I don’t hold it against them or take it as a slight or anything, but it’s still mega annoying to me.

          3. I need cheesecake*

            It’s not though, that’s why it annoys people so much. It’s like knocking on the door and running away before you get an answer

            1. Keen Oat*

              It’s not like running away before you get an answer. If the person said hi and then literally walked away from the computer where your response went completely unacknowledged, that would be similar.

              You can choose to say hi back, or ignore them. There isn’t any obligation to respond immediately. If there’s an emergency, they’ll type that out.

              1. ecnaseener*

                In the amount of time taken to get to the question, it is similar. It takes time to see the message come in, disengage from what you were doing, type back “hi, what’s up?” and WAIT for them to type out a question that could be a paragraph long. In a way, that wasted time is reminiscent of knocking and then walking away.

                Versus, if the person just types “hi, can you help me with X, [paragraph of context]” and THEN hits send, they’re not wasting your time.

                1. Just Ask the Question*

                  Exactly! Since we went remote, it has been much better with one co-worker who would insist on, instead of using the IM system, getting up and poking her head over the cube wall (not her own cube–she had to walk several cubes over to get there–the office had a staggered schedule so we were some of the last few still in the office) or suddenly popping up in my space and standing there until I wrapped things up. Now, she *has* to IM, and she will type “hello” and only after I respond does she type whatever it was that she wanted to ask. Worse, the system shows “typing” at the bottom, so the little window keeps flickering and being a distraction. I have taken to ignoring the “hello” and only responding when there’s an actual question.

                  I see IM as a shorter/quicker version of email. One would not just send an email “Hi”, wait for a response, “Can I ask a question?”, wait for a response, and only on the third email get around to asking whatever needed to be asked.

                2. OhNo*

                  See, that is where I fall on the issue too. If I’m gonna bug someone with a question, I want it to be as quick and non-intrusive as possible, so I’m just gonna give them the whole context right up front. My coworkers have gotten very used to IMs from me that just start with “Question: How do I XYZ?”

                  The only time I don’t do that is when I know I’m gonna have follow-up questions and it’s gonna take a minute. In those cases, I’ll usually just ask up front: “Do you have five minutes? I have questions about X”, so at least they’re getting an idea of the time commitment and topic, and they can make an informed decision about it.

                3. calonkat*

                  Just Ask the Question said “One would not just send an email “Hi”, wait for a response, “Can I ask a question?”, wait for a response, and only on the third email get around to asking whatever needed to be asked.”

                  I hate to tell you that there are people who do this very thing. My “favorites” are the ones who then refuse to give you actual information in the question, forcing yet ANOTHER email exchange (think “we are thinking of hiring an electrician (no name), can you tell me if they are licensed correctly”, no, no I can’t without a name and possibly knowing what sort of work you are doing.)

            2. A Wall*

              It’s kind of like when someone calls your desk when you’re not there, then doesn’t follow up with anything else. If you don’t expect them to follow up on your call at all, I guess it’s fine. But if you expect them to get back to you later when they see it, it’s kind of throwing the ball in their court to come find you and see what you need. You’re asking for something, but you’re making them put in effort to finding out what that is when you could just as easily have told them up front. It’s somehow both disruptive and slow.

              1. MusicWithRocksIn*

                If someone calls and doesn’t leave a voicemail I always ignore it and assume they got whatever it was sorted out. I’m not going to track you down when you didn’t even ask me to. Of course, what really, really bugs me is when someone leaves me a voicemail saying “Call me back” or sends me an email that says “Call me”. ABOUT WHAT? Take the extra three seconds and tell me what you are calling about, then I can have that information open and ready to discuss when I call you, instead of me calling you, you telling me what you need, then I have to pause to dig the information out for you.

                1. Slow Gin Lizz*

                  My landlord does this and it drives me up the wall. What are you calling about??? Usually it’s because he’s raising the rent (one of the many reasons I’m moving out). So naturally it provokes a lot of anxiety.

                2. justanobody*

                  Same. If you call and don’t leave a message, i don’t call back. And please, when you leave a message, tell me what you’re calling about so that I have that info handy when i call you back. My outgoing VM says ‘please leave me a detailed message’ but most messages I get say “hey I have a quick question, would you call me?” and then we play phone tag.

              2. Daffy Duck*

                I was chewed out by a customer once because she called several times, never left a message, and no one called her back.
                I’m sorry, we don’t call back unknown numbers that hang up repeatedly. Please leave a message with your question.

                1. Archaeopteryx*

                  That’s so weird. Maybe it’s generational norms, but no one I know under 40 would return a call with no message. Say what you called about or I will assume it’s a butt dial / scam / mistake etc.

                2. Berkeleyfarm*

                  I had a coworker who did that. Repeated phone calls, no message. He’d dial around trying to get someone to pick up the phone rather than leave a message.

                  If he’d left a message or dropped me an email he would have had his answer several hours previous.

            3. TechWorker*

              Wtf how is like this? If people are messaging you ‘hi’ and then ignoring you when you respond a few minutes later, then yes, that would be like running away after you knocked… but that seems very much not the mainline case :p I agree anyone doing that is being extremely annoying

              1. hbc*

                I don’t expect them to be glued to their computer waiting for my response, and it’s possible they’ve gotten a call or some sort of interruption since they wrote “hi.” It’s not at all unusual for

                Really, something like “hi” only works for synchronous communication. I think what throws people off is that messaging *can* be synchronous, but you don’t know if that’s even on the table until after you send your first message. Otherwise, it’s basically, “Tag, you’re it!”

            4. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

              Hahah, yep. I knocked on your door, now I’m going back to my desk and will not tell you what I came to talk to you about, until you, too, have come by and knocked on my door and run away! Then I can come over again and then we can talk. Make it make sense, lol.

          4. Richard Hershberger*

            This combines the worst parts of synchronous and asynchronous communication. Yes, politeness requires a bit of social nicety before getting to the heart of the matter. But the niceties should be brief, especially in a work setting. With synchronous communication this is a matter of a few seconds. With asynchronous communication each round of back and forth takes much more time. Making the throat-clearing an entire round is unnecessary.

            I get this on Facebook. My Facebook presence is largely about my specialty of early baseball. It sometimes happens that I get an IM from someone I don’t know with a legitimate question. I am happy to interact with these people. But of course more often an IM from someone I don’t know is some form of spam. These often use social niceties as a way to get their foot in the door. If I get a “Hi!” as a message, I give one round of response: “Howdy! What can I do for you?” At that point it is up to them to get to the point. If the response is more empty throat-clearing, I ignore the rest. Work IM is different, in that I would wish I could simply ignore the rest.

            The good news is that there is an easy solution. Get to the point right away, with the greeting and the substance in the same message.

          5. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

            See, I don’t get how it’s the same as knocking on an office door. When you are knocking, presumably you came to their office to talk in person. When you’re IMing, it’s like texting. No one I know starts a text conversation with “hi” and then waits for a response before divulging any information (unless they are just texting to say hi, which is perfectly normal!) Why so many people do it in their IMs baffles me.

            1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

              Adding to the above – when I worked in a physical office, we’d typically IM someone to ask if they’re available to talk in person, and/or send a meeting invite and wait for them to accept. Then, we’d come over to talk in person. No knocking needed when doing things that way! The person is already expecting you.

          6. JB*

            It’s absolutely not. There is no real equivalent to in-person interaction because it’s NOT in-person. You can see from someone’s status whether they’re ‘there’ or not, or divine it from whether or not they answer your actual message about what you actually need.

            You wouldn’t just send ‘hi’ as an email at work, would you? Then don’t do it as an IM. It’s obnoxious.

          7. EmbracesTrees*

            I agree! Just the word “hi” with nothing else feels weird. You wouldn’t call or even text someone* nothing but a “hi.” Why do it over a work system?

            If you want to make connections with people/coworkers, throwing out an isolated word that *typically* is part of larger context (e.g., acknowledging seeing someone visually, the opening of a convo, an acknowledgment before a request) isn’t the way to do it. I think most people would find it a little awkward.

            *maybe someone who is super close and that’s something the two of you have developed. But even with two friends with whom I have an ongoing text thread, that would be odd enough to be met with “… are you okay? what’s up?”

          8. IndoorKitty*

            It’s pretty irritating when I respond back “hi” then they don’t respond again for five minutes. You have my attention, now get to it. You wouldn’t knock on my door, and when I respond, just keep standing there and not talking.

          9. Workerbee*

            Online chat doesn’t come with the nonverbal and paraverbal cues we are accustomed to look for in “real life,” — there’s no body language—which is why a virtual “Hi.” or “I have a question.” with or without the accompanying full stop can have the effect of suspenseful waiting and residual annoyance, that is typically (or at least, hopefully has been less so) not an issue when face-to-face or on the phone.

            1. rototiller*

              Yeah, I think this is really key to the disconnect here. I think people who see it as a polite greeting assume that it will always be read as neutral/friendly? Whereas if this thread is any indication, those of us who are annoyed are reading all sorts of other tones and intentions into it. Which makes sense, because you’re going out of your way to give someone the smallest amount of information possible! Fewer words = more ambiguity.

              “hi roto, can I ask a quick question about X?” -> clearly a normal-ass work conversation
              “hi” -> could be followed by a question about X, a chewing-out, emotional meltdown, political rant, request for a cookie recipe, gossip about layoffs…..

              Like Workerbee points out, in real life the look on my coworker’s face would narrow down these possibilities considerably. In text, I feel like I have to prepare for anything. And yeah, I have anxiety and that’s a factor, but there are other reasons people wouldn’t default to assuming a friendly tone: bad day, project going poorly, their last 3 IMs were bad news, etc. I get that people and offices have different preferences, and that’s fine, but the argument that it’s more polite to approach people with minimal information about your tone and intent makes no sense to me.

          10. TootsNYC*

            if that’s what you want to do, you are better off saying:
            “got a minute to discuss X right now?”

            Because stopping by the office and discovering they aren’t in doesn’t disturb them; they aren’t there. You might leave a note, then, but your note wouldn’t say “hi,” it would say, “Let me know when you’re back.” And if you’re smart, you’ll say “…re: expense accounts.”

            But with an IM, you ARE disturbing them, even if they’re literally not at their desk. It’s the equivalent of leaving a note that says “hi.”

            1. Koalafied*

              100% agreed! If I’m going to ask something sensitive, I’ll usually start with – “Is now a good time for a quick chat?” or “Let me know when you have a minute to discuss the issue that came up in our team meeting earlier.” Making it clear that 1) I’m waiting for their response before I proceed and 2) I’m doing this because I want to and can wait until it’s a good time for them.

              When people just do “hi” I generally assume there is another message that will come very shortly with the real content, so I’m sitting at my desk, staring at the IM, waiting for a message that never comes. Then by the time I realize they’re waiting for me to acknowledge the ‘hi’, I’m both annoyed at the time I wasted sitting and staring at the IM, and the rebellious part of me gets my hackles up because I feel like I’m being coerced to perform a social behavior via them refusing to continue until I greet them, like I’m a child whose mom is saying, “And what do we say back when people say hi to us?” when I don’t say hi back to Aunt Patty. I know that’s almost certainly not what’s really going on, but that’s still the reaction it provokes every time in the moment.

              1. Gan Ainm*

                Ughhh yes! You described my internal reaction to it perfectly! In addition to the “rebellious child coerced into social behavior” I also sometimes mentally see it as someone standing in my open office door just saying “hi” at me, and when I look up at them expectantly waiting for them to continue, they instead they just stand there, blankly and weirdly silent, like a robot that can’t continue until you respond with the exact phrase in the correct order it was programmed to hear. I know it shouldn’t annoy me so much but it feels like such a weird move that I usually just don’t respond when people do that. I’m a manager of a large team and I am swamped all day every day, I have plenty to keep my busy without stopping to handhold you into telling me what you need. I know it’s nothing the best reaction… but we all have our pet peeves and this is probably one of my biggest. It just grates on me.

            2. GlitsyGus*

              This is what I do. IM is for the purpose of immediately alerting someone you want to talk to them. At the same time you can’t see where they are or what they’re doing. They may be busy, sharing their screen, or someone else they don’t want the question shared with may be nearby. It’s best to start with some kind of lead in to give them a chance to let you know it’s a bad time (folks forget to pause notifications ALL THE TIME until one pops up in the middle of their presentation, don’t assume they will do that.)

              But yeah, “hi” doesn’t really work for that. “Do you have a minute to chat about financials?” or even just “QQ re:validation when you have a sec” that kind of thing is how I usually start. I try to leave out client and individual names as well if I can, just in case.

          11. Aitch Arr*

            On Teams at least, you can see if my ‘virtual door’ is open by whether I’m shown as Green (Available), Red (Busy), or Red with a Line (Do Not Disturb).

          12. Turtle*

            But online you can respond to a message when you can. If you show up to someone’s door and just jumped into your question, they may not be ready to hear/respond. That’s the wonderfulness of things like IM, it can be immediate but gives the person time to respond without interrupting.

          13. Nanani*

            It’s actually more like knocking, immediately leaving, and them having to go find you to ask why you knocked.

            Knocking isn’t inherently bad but knocking without then indicating why you showed up is weird and rude

        3. bopper*

          You would walk by an office to see if they are there before you start talking. To me that is what the “hi” is.
          Or you would see if they are busy now.

          1. ceiswyn*

            But walking by someone’s office to see if they’re there doesn’t require them to respond to you.

            And what if it takes them half an hour to say ‘hi’ back, by which time you’ve got started on something else and aren’t lookng at your IMs? Now you’ve got them having to wait on you!

            1. EmbracesTrees*

              Yep, it’s not like walking by an office because … it’s virtual. There are a different set of norms than being prompted to say hi because you saw a person visually!

            2. Koalafied*

              Yeah, and to be honest, if I were ducking my head into someone’s office to see if they were free, I would still be clear about my intentions and ask exactly that: “Is now a good time?” “Got a minute?” etc. I wouldn’t just stand in the doorway and say “hi” and then stare at them waiting for a response before I came in.

              I think if someone did that to me I’d be vaguely confused, like am I a celebrity and you’re so nervous about meeting me that all you can manage is “hi?” My response would like either be a very guarded/mystified, “…hi…” or a more pointed, “Can I help you?” (At least where I live, asking “Can I help you?” – as opposed to “How can I help you?” – is fake-polite for, “If you have a valid reason for being here, you need to come out with it now or you need to leave.” Said when someone is poking around a space they aren’t generally entitled to be in or messing with something they generally aren’t entitled to mess with, so it’s expected that if they did have a valid reason to be there, they would have explained themselves as soon as they entered rather than making someone have to ask them.)

        4. Sarah*

          because I have a really good relationship with my boss, I totally want to try exactly this someday just to get his reaction!

        5. Wendy Darling*

          Still throwing shade at an HR person who IMed me “Hi, do you have time for a quick chat?” and then went AFK for 45 minutes. (It was fine but omg.)

          I honestly don’t care if peers IM me and just say hi as long as they don’t care when I get back to them — if your question is urgent just send your question — but every time someone above me in the hierarchy IMs me with just “hi” or asks if we can talk it shaves a few days off my lifespan.

      2. JQWADDLE*

        The “Hi” wait, wait, wait thing used to drive me nuts, but I softened toward it once I realized it was intended to keep IMs more private if the receiver is in a meeting.

        I think that is where the issue lies, a random “Hi” or “Hello” is so ambiguous. I would much rather see:
        “Hi. Are you available to chat?”
        “Hi. Do you have time for a question? It should only take a few minutes.”

        Provide enough information for the receiver to respond (and make a decision) if they can, but still lacking anything sensitive.

      3. EmbracesTrees*

        Yes! It’s the same idea as when my mom leaves message,”ET, will you call me back please?” with no other info. Are you having some medical issue??? Did another one of your friends die??? … orrrr do you just want to ask about what Jr wants for his birthday?

        The anxiety makes me frantic, then irritated as hell when it’s just a casual thing. GIVE ME SOME DAMNED CONTEXT.

        1. Mr. Shark*

          YES!! That drives me crazy. The “Call me back as soon as possible” with no context. Please, give me something so I know not to panic. I know why she does it, because I’m not the best at returning calls. But still, don’t give me a heart attack with a message like that.

          1. hamsterpants*

            I used to get voicemails saying “call me when you get this.” Well, I’m checking my voicemail at 1 AM, do you really want me to call you now? I bet you do not.

        2. nonegiven*

          IKR?

          My mom, says “It’s just me. Call me back,” but doesn’t bother saying if she has family gossip to catch up on or do I need to jump in the car and drive 45 miles to take her to the ER.

      4. Elenna*

        I usually just quickly respond with “hi” back and then go back to what I was doing before. But I’m in an office where once they say the actual purpose of what they want it’s basically always fine for me to then say “that’s gonna take a while so actually I’ll get to you later”.

        For my part, I’ll say hi because it’s the office culture, but then I’ll jump right into my request in the next message without waiting for a response.

        1. Elenna*

          Webex shows if the person is presenting their screen, so in my case it doesn’t make sense to wait after the “hi” in case they’re in a meeting.

    2. Oh no*

      I get passive aggressive and ignore the message….usually the person circles back with what they need. If they get irritated with me im like “i thought you were just saying hi”….

      1. BeenThere*

        I go one step further, I mute them and put them into the Timeout section I created for the purpose on slack. It gives me one spot to check on everyone like this when I have time and if they followed up with a real question.

        1. allathian*

          We’re on Skype/Teams rather than Slack so that’s not an option, and I can’t be on DND all the time, either. But even if I had that option, I wouldn’t use it, because then people would call me when it’s really urgent, and I want to avoid unscheduled phone calls at all costs. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes a conversation helps to solve an issue much faster than IM, never mind email, but I hate calls out of the blue, so please Skype me before you call.

          1. Zephy*

            I think the little “seen” icon in Teams has done a lot to move things along with people who like a lot of social-nicety back-and-forth before getting to the effing point.

        2. Loulou*

          What? This really doesn’t seem reasonable. If they then send another message saying what they wanted to talk about, don’t you want to see it when they do send it? Aren’t you creating more work for yourself this way??

          For the record, I’m also not a fan of “hi!’ messages, but it seems really juvenile to react the way you’re describing to what is at the end of the day just a different style of communication.

          1. Batty Twerp*

            I tend to be more lenient if it’s “Hi” followed immediately by the three dots.
            I know my coworkers, and the ones who do this have usually logged into our IM program on their phones which, instead of doing a carriage return/new line, will submit your message as soon as you press the enter key.
            I’ve been caught out myself – our previous system allowed new line insertions so you could start your question unencumbered by the greeting, while still acknowledging the social niceties.

            Just “hi” and then nothing for two minutes? You’d better be my boss or the CEO if youre waiting on me to respond to that.

          2. HereKittyKitty*

            Might just be who the chronic “hi” people are. I have a few “hi” people that start with that and don’t actually get to their question until 30min-hr later for whatever reason. I could see it being weird if they consistently sent their questions a few minutes later, but if you have a bunch of ppl that don’t actually follow up for an hour later, you can probably get away with muting them and just checking that area once an hour. I had a person the other day that sent “I have a question” and then the typing bubble came up off and on for over an hour before I actually got the question- in a giant wall of text.

          3. The Other Dawn*

            I agree. This seems like a lot of work when you can just as easily just wait until another message comes through with a question. And yes, “juvenile” seems to be the right word here.

        3. Rach*

          We work in a collaborative environment to keep our very large factory running so putting people in timeout would be disastrous. Lots of people just say “hi” in TEAMS, I prefer “IM?” and it is expected you will pay attention and respond as you can. Rather than owning one specific sub-area, I work for the area as a whole and have to interact with multiple sub-areas. My questions are important and time sensitive and usually take precedence over other work items. Phones are only used in true emergencies or when IM’s go unanswered. We get hundreds of emails a day so good luck getting a time sensitive question answered there. Anyway, I’m surprised so many are offended by IM’ing in general and hi in particular when it really does work well.

      2. Rachel*

        I am surprised by the reaction to “hi!” – in my company, it is always assumed that it means “whenever you have some time to chat, I have a non-urgent topic”. Sometimes that means waiting all day and that’s fine!

        If a coworker responded to that by ignoring my polite messages, I would think they were rude and difficult the same way if they consistently ignored email and would not want to work on teams with them.

          1. Perfectly Particular*

            Email and IM are two completely different forms of communication though. I think of the “Hi” on an IM kind of like ringing someone on the phone. If they answer, then they have time to talk.

            1. Green great dragon*

              But IM is asynchronous – at least sometimes. And you don’t know in advance whether the person on the other end is free. It feels more like leaving a voicemail saying ‘hi, I rang’ than saying hi to a person who’s just picked up.

            2. JB*

              They’re not. For work purposes, IM is just a slightly less formal version of email.

              I have to answer a ‘hi’ on IM whether I have time to talk or not, because ‘hi’ gives me no idea of how urgent the situation is. I’ve gotten ‘hi’ from a coworker who needed an immediate answer on something for auditors, and a ‘hi’ from the same coworker to ask if I remember where a certain former teammate’s funny office nickname came from. Seriously.

              From my perspective, ‘hi’ is a tactic to force the person you’re addressing to drop everything immediately and focus completely on you because you think whatever you need must be more important than everything else they’re working on.

              1. EmbracesTrees*

                Yes. Respect the person you are messaging enough to give some context.

                It’s similar to looking at email subject lines — tell me what this is about! I have a lot of things to do and need to know how to prioritize (or not) this new thing you just dropped in my lap.

              2. Your Local Password Resetter*

                Its kind of similar to your boss saying “please come to my office”, and you’re not sure if they want info about your project, a funny picture of your cat, or ream you out for an unknown mistake.

                Yes, most of the time it’s something boring and mundane, but you’re always mentally preparing for emergencies or a Big Talk.

              3. Rosie*

                Yup I tend to use IM for things that would be a one-two sentence email or doesn’t really need a reply bless the reactions on teams (and if it turns into a longer back and forth that might want to refer back to will either sum up in an e-mail or ask them to depending on bandwith and responsibilities) but see them as pretty equal communication platforms

            3. Cold Fish*

              It’s the equivalent of calling someone and leaving a “call me” message on their voice mail. Not only do you have to stop and check your messages, you still have no idea if its a 30 second question, something that can wait until next week, or a drop everything for the next 4 hours so we can deal with this urgent thing. Put me firmly in the “it’s rude” crowd.

              If you are just trying to see if they are at their desk, I’d suggest a “knock knock” instead of “hi”.

        1. I need cheesecake*

          It’s very annoying – you need to give context.

          People do it to me all the time and it drives me up the wall

          1. Richard Hershberger*

            Yup: Will this non-urgent chat take thirty seconds or thirty minutes? It would be nice to know!

        2. Ambarish*

          But this is simply not the way IM can work well. What if whenever it is they have time to chat about the non-urgent topic, you’re otherwise occupied?

          1. Anonym*

            Yeah, and I need to know what the topic is to determine where it fits in my priorities (and whether I know enough about it to address questions quickly or not). One more vote for “get to the point ASAP – you’ve already interrupted me”

          2. Koalafied*

            I’m just baffled by all the people saying “‘hi’ just means, ‘do you have time to chat about something no-urgent?'” If that’s what it means, why wouldn’t you just say that? That’s not really what ‘hi’ means (in the dictionary: noun, “an exclamation of greeting”). Saying one thing when you really mean another is just poor communication, and it’s very predictable that it leads to problems when one person doesn’t realize that when Fergus says X he really means Z. Fergus could have just said Z and avoided all of these issues.

            1. Rach*

              We are all about short-hand and reducing key strokes. So “hi” is actually better ergo than writing out a full sentence “Hi, do you have time to chat about something no-urgent?” a dozen times or more a day. (I don’t prefer hi, I prefer IM? but I’m not fussed others use it)

        3. Sometimes supervisor*

          I file it under the ‘pet peeve’ category for me – I GET that the intention is to be polite and it’s a harmless action but, as somebody said above, it’s like somebody walking into your office, saying ‘hi’ and then just standing there with a blank expression for the next 10 minutes.

          However, it is truly a pet peeve when it is somebody who uses the ‘hi’ to mean ‘I have something to ask but it’s totally non-urgent and I’ll wait until you have time to chat’ – although I would still prefer it if they messaged something along the lines of ‘Hi. Have a q but it’s not urgent. Just drop me a line when you have 5 minutes’ than just ‘hi!’. It’s not like I’m going to say anything about it. Just chalk it up as ‘annoying thing that otherwise very nice Rachel does’.

          The one that boils my blood is the person who sends ‘hi’ and then proceeds to get salty when you don’t say hi back quickly – I have, like, 7 chat windows on the go so don’t throw all your toys out the pram when I’m not immediately available to get into exchanging pleasantries, please and thank you!!

        4. Green great dragon*

          It sounds like that works in your company, but I don’t think that’s standard. I wouldn’t know whether a ‘hi’ meant that, or whether it meant they had a highly urgent question and were trying to find out who was in. So I’d feel obliged to answer immediately.

          It really doesn’t take long to write ‘Hi, can you let me know when you’re free’ or ‘Hi, need a quick answer re ‘

          1. Simply the best*

            Even “can you let me know if you’re free” isn’t great. Free for what? If it’s something important, I can make time now. If it’s not, you can wait. Tell me what we’re talking about!

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Totally agree with this. Same with “are you busy?” I have days where I’m never free/am always busy! I’m just going to response with “what’s up?” because I need to know what it is so I can figure out whether this is a 1-minute thing or a half-hour thing, whether it has to be answered today or can be pushed off until later in the week, how to prioritize it against other stuff, etc.

        5. Use your words*

          I would argue that “hi” by itself on an instant messaging platform is not actually a polite message. “Hi, I have a quick question when you have a minute” or “hi, ping me back when you have time to chat, not urgent” are polite messages. An instant message that just says “hi” and requires me to investigate to see what you need feels more like you’re hovering over me in my cubicle poking me and not saying anything while I’m trying to work.

          1. ecnaseener*

            +1. If it feels rude to make the actual request in the first message, at least describe the size/duration of the request.

            1. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

              ^This right here. Let me know the topic and possible duration (e.g. quick question, small request, huge favor) and deadline (as soon as you can, when you get a chance). Spare us both a round or messages.

            2. DataSci*

              Size/duration and urgency! Something that will take a couple hours and needs to be done for tomorrow’s big meeting is very different from something that will take a couple hours but is a “when you have time” situation.

            3. Autumnheart*

              Yep. “Hey there. This isn’t urgent, but when you have a minute, I have a question for you about X. Only take a minute. Thanks!” Done!

          2. Enginuity*

            What you’re doing is fine, but as a manager, I always appreciate a topic or context to “quick questions” (or just the question if it’s going to be able to be typed out eventually) because there’s a 50/50 chance I’m going to send you to a better person or place to get that answered correctly. It’s not a pet peeve, I just feel bad if I _don’t_ have a minute for a couple of hours but Jon knows the answer or Ayra just added that to the FAQ, and I could have sent you there immediately instead of making you wait on me.

            1. Use your words*

              I don’t understand what you mean by “what you’re doing is fine” – I’m talking about how my experience at work and how people ask me questions over instant message. Also as the recipient of countless questions a day (managing a team of 27) I don’t enjoy getting just a greeting and nothing else, or a wall of text without waiting for response either.

              For me, the sweet spot is somewhere between “hi” and “this is what I need from you.” My comment wasn’t an exhaustive list of appropriate instant messages. “Hi, do you have a second to chat about PTO” or “morning, when you have a minute can we go over my deck for tomorrows presentation”’or “you there? Have kind of an urgent question about a compliance issue with my October assets.” Or even “hey if you’re free I caught up with squid game lets talk!” All of this is fine.

              In my opinion, in relation to instant message as a communication tool, I like to be greeted and asked if I have time to chat (with or without some context) and if I do, I say “sure what do you need.” If I don’t, I can say “when I’m off this call I’ll check in, feel free to drop your question now or wait for me, whatever’s easier.”

              1. Enginuity*

                Sorry, I think my choice of phrasing there didn’t convey what I meant. I was simply trying to say that in my own context, slightly more info is helpful both to me and to the other person in getting things worked out, not that failing to provide that is inherently rude or anything. I think there’s a lot of grey area between “hi” and a wall of text, and what’s going going to work best is dependent on a lot of factors. Your context sounds a little different than mine, so it makes total sense that you’d have different preferences.

          3. Slow Gin Lizz*

            And if you’re going to go to the trouble of doing that, you might as well just mention what topic you wish to discuss. “Hi, I have a question about the Weebleworth TPS report” is really helpful context, because if the report is urgent then I will respond right away but if it’s not due for another week and I’m in the middle of something more urgent, I can either wait to respond or at least say, “Give me 20 min to finish up what I’m doing and then we can chat.”

            Count me in on the list of people who despise – DESPISE – the “Hi” chat opener. Just tell me why you need me instead of making me squirm for a minute or two while you finish typing out what you wanted to ask me! It’s funny, my old job were full of people who tried to be super polite and always did the “Hi” thing but my current job, which is full of people who are both polite and don’t want to waste anyone’s time, and none of them do the “Hi” thing. I didn’t even realize it until this question came up here.

            I see it as somewhat similar to the situation where if someone asks you a question in an email and you need to look up the answer, you don’t respond to the email by saying “Oh, I’ll look it up and get back to you in 10 minutes” you just wait to respond to the email when you know the answer. Obviously it’s not a perfect parallel, but basically the idea is that electronic communications like email and chat are set up so that someone can ask you a question and you can answer it when you find the answer; they’re not set up for immediate responses (unless of course the situation is urgent, but in that case I’d argue that phone calls are better for that).

        6. Dust Bunny*

          Well, I would ignore the heck out of it.

          At least write, “Hi, this isn’t urgent, but when you have a few minutes can I ask you about [thing about which I have questions]?”, which a) tells them what it is I want to communicate with them about, b) lets them know clearly that it can wait until they’re free, and c) gives them time to think about [thing] before they talk to me, if they need to.

          1. Anonym*

            This is perfect! All the info needed, interruption minimized, now I can determine quickly the appropriate timing and venue to address it. Least disruptive approach by far.

          2. JB*

            Exactly. Just communicate what the conversation is going to be about and, if necessary, how urgent it is for you. This isn’t a game or a blind date, the secret-keeping isn’t cute, it’s annoying at best and looks like some sort of weird power play at worst.

          3. Nicki Name*

            This! And if it’s someone I’ve never talked to before, I’ll add a brief introduction, but only so it goes out at the same time as the topic. “Hi, I’m a groomer on the alpaca team, and I understand you’re the person to talk to about the new procurement procedure for combs. Would you have a few minutes to talk about it sometime today?”

        7. Gothic Bee*

          But don’t most chat programs show your status? If someone is actually unavailable but their status shows they are available, they’ll either just ignore your question and get back to you when they are available or respond with a quick “Can’t talk now” kind of thing, so I feel like the better option is to just assume that they’re available unless they’re offline or busy. Plus, how can someone know if they have time to chat about your question if they don’t know what you’re asking and how much time that request might take?

          1. Mockingjay*

            For the most part the status displayed is accurate, but if you aren’t in meetings and are concentrating on task, you might forget to change status to “Do Not Disturb.” If I message someone shown as available and they don’t respond, I’m going to assume they are busy with other things: phonecall, important last-minute task for boss, and so on.

            I join the others in pleading for quick context in chats. “Help someone help you.”

            1. Aitch Arr*

              My Teams status is tied to my Outlook calendar, so if I’m in a meeting (even if it’s not a Teams meeting) my Teams status will show Busy.

          2. Seeking Second Childhood*

            Unfortunately our Skype / Teams combo does not show the person’s status until I’ve sent the first *&#! message. New chat that day? No status. Stupidest thing ever.

          3. Koalafied*

            Exactly, there are different degrees of availability. An IM is virtually always going to be interrupting something else I was doing, because it’s not like I have virtual office hours where I turn my status to “free” and then just sit and do nothing but wait for messages to come in. I’m always some degree of unavailable – exactly how unavailable I am depends on 1) how important and/or time-sensitive the interruption is, 2) how long it’s going to pull me away from what I’m doing, and 3) how important and/or time-sensitive the thing I’m already working on is. I can’t tell someone whether I’m available if I don’t know all 3 of those things, and the only way I can know all 3 of those things is if they tell me the first 2.

      3. Crustacean*

        I have been wondering if I’m the only one who is bothered by “hi” without following up with a question/message/etc so I’m glad to see it’s not just me. I recently started ignoring people for at least 5 minutes before responding in the hopes that it gives them enough time to decide to just put the reason they are messaging me in the first place.

        1. Golden*

          Same here! I never know what to respond back to it. “Can I help you?” feels rude, and just saying “hi” back feels off too. I 100% prefer when the greeting and request are included in the same message.

          1. Gothic Bee*

            I usually give it a minute or two as well, but if someone doesn’t respond, sometimes I go with “Hi, what’s up?” because it feels less rude to me for some reason. I guess there’s a risk some people could interpret it as “how are you” but usually people respond with what’s going on/what their request is. But honestly, just saying “Hi” without any follow up is kind of rude, so I feel like moving the conversation along however you want to isn’t rude as a response.

          2. Simply the best*

            I just ignore it. If you aren’t going to tell me what you want, I don’t have time for you.

          3. Elenna*

            I just say “hi” back because it’s a quick, no-thinking-required response that I can type into the chat window and immediately go back to what I was actually doing. Then when they respond with the actual request I can get back to them or be like “give me 20 min” or whatever.

            I figure if they started with just “hi” there’s nothing wrong with me responding with just “hi”.

          4. Le Sigh*

            Same. My one exception to this is a few of our execs — if they are messaging me directly, it’s usually time sensitive. If I get a “Hey — are you online?” it means they’re trying to see if I’m on chat and whatever they need, they need it pretty quickly. Otherwise, please just get to the point.

          5. Koalafied*

            By the time I realize someone is waiting for me to reply, I usually reply, “…yes?” because I’m low-key annoyed about the time I just wasted waiting for them to state their purpose before realizing they had no intention of doing that until I greeted them in return.

      4. miss chevious*

        Same. I don’t respond to “hi” at all, generally, on IM. If they have a question, they will follow up.

      5. sofar*

        Same. I ignore them until they spit out what they want. The dangling “hi” is not a thing I’m going to dignify. We’re all remote, we’re all getting hounded to death on Slack. Tell me what you want so I can prioritize, rather than handing me a Pandora’s box of god knows what.

        If the person says, “Hi, I’ve got a question about the XYZ report,” at least that gives me context. If the person is like, “Hi, I’ve got an urgent request and I need someone knowledgeable in ABC to help me in the next hour, are you free?,” I can jump on it.

    3. Fran Fine*

      Same. That is probably my biggest workplace pet peeve by far.

      People, please stop doing this. Ask your question and call it a day.

      1. KRM*

        Same. If you tell me what you want, I can 1-stop what I’m doing to help you with something urgent, 2-stop what I’m doing and quickly send you to the right person, 3-let you know that I or person X can help you with semi-urgent thing but I’ll take 30′, 4-let you know when I’m free to chat about whatever, 5-get the data you asked for and be ready to chat in some time frame agreeable to both of us. If you just say “hi” and wait for a response, that’s super annoying. Just tell me what you want!!!

    4. River*

      *facepalm* I am so guilty of saying Hi! And waiting until the person has time. I don’t expect an immediate answer at all.

      In my mind it’s very friendly and sociable. I tend to only do it to my coworkers when I want to chat or bounce an informal idea off them. If I need something, I just blurt out what I need… and I never start with hi. If it’s critical I preface my statement with urgent: xyz. I’m going to have to re-think this as I didn’t realize how others can interpret it and I’ve recently been promoted into a leadership role and I definitely don’t want to interrupt someone in flow.

      1. allathian*

        Rethinking this sounds like a good idea, especially now that you’re in a leadership role, and people will prioritize your messages more. But I also think that if you want to be a warm and approachable leader/manager, starting your request with a “hi” is a small gesture that most, if not not all, subordinates will appreciate.

      2. Loulou*

        I think it’s good to preface your request with a greeting, but you can do that without waiting for their response! Say hi and then explain what it is you need, good middle ground.

      3. Anon for this*

        At least give them enough context to determine how high a priority this is. Sometimes I’m working on a bunch of low level tasks that all need to get done but if what you want is just for one of the low level tasks to be done first, I’m happy to get that first. Other times what you think is simple and easy is not simple or easy (requestor who was unhappy that it took me a week to process your easy request, I’m sorry, I spent every day of that week begging and pleading with the requisition committee to please pay for the licenses that were needed to finish processing it now because it’s already been approved and someone needs it and is getting increasingly angry that it isn’t done yet PLEASE and they were not moved by my begging) and it is in fact higher priority than you know it is.

      4. Allonge*

        Oh, please rethink! I don’t seem to mind interruptions at all, at least compared to some people, and ‘hi’ drives me nuts still. At least switch to ‘just wanted to say hi’ so there is some context.

      5. I need cheesecake*

        But then when I have time and I reply, you might not be there to ask your question and you’ve interrupted me for nothing.

        I prefer ‘Hi, I have a question about x’

      6. Bamcheeks*

        “Hi” by itself doesn’t even mean to me that you’ve got the right person! “Hi! Got a quick question about the llama queueing system, not urgent, let me know when you’re free :)” is much more helpful.

        1. CJ*

          For what it matters, seeing more specifics like “Hi, I have a non-urgent question _about X_” or even better “Hi, non-urgent, but when you get a chance, can you tell me [when the last time the accessories section of the user faq was updated and by who]?” [replace with actual question] lets me prioritize at a glance: is this a question I can snap out an answer in 15 seconds or am I going to have to pull up the git blame (actual coding command), so I can prioritize it.

          1. Fran Fine*

            THIS. Provide the context upfront so I can determine if I’m even the person you should be speaking to in the first place and, if I am, when I can fit your request in to my long list of things to do.

          2. Koalafied*

            One of the things I appreciate about my mom is how good she is with this. We primarily stay in touch by texting, but occasionally she’ll send me a message like: “Give me a call when you have a chance. Cleaning out the storage unit and found some old things of yours, but it’d be easier to chat than type out.” Or, “Please call me when you get this. Your grandmother is in the hospital.” It’s never just “Call me.”

      7. Karou*

        I agree with what others have said that “Hi, do you have a minute to chat about X?” Or “Hi! Is it okay if I ask you a quick question if you’re not busy?” is a good medium between just “hi” and jumping into the full question because it gives the person a chance to respond whether it’s a good time to chat or ask to wait.

        1. Lester*

          That actually bugs me as much as just saying hi. If you have a quick question, why not just ask it? “Hi, where can I find the TPS reports?” That way, the person can decide if its something they can give a quick answer to or wait until they are done what they are doing.

          1. ecnaseener*

            I honestly usually do what you do — but I can see how not everyone feels comfortable waiting to respond to a direct question about where to find the reports. Saying “I have a question when you’re free” explicitly gives you permission to wait until you’re really free, and some people need that permission.

            1. Reese*

              It can also be helpful when the question requires the person to switch gears. EG healthcare when you’re treating on the road and someone has a question about documentation or a new patient. It isn’t urgent but it let’s them know that you want to talk.

            2. Allonge*

              Indeed this needs to be considered but I like to solve it by saying it’s not urgent, or appending the ‘when you have a moment’ to the actual question. At least for me, if someone tells me what they need, I can prioritise it appropriately, if I have no clue, then it’s difficult.

            3. EmbracesTrees*

              Even better would be “I have a question ABOUT THE X & Y RE. THE LAST REPORT when you’re free.” (Obviously the caps are just my addition — not suggesting doing this in the actual message lol).

              That way, you’re giving more context and helping the person 1) prepare and 2) decide how to prioritize your request (say they know they can answer it in 2 minutes vs 20 minutes.)

              1. Seeking Second Childhood*

                So much this! I have had more than one project where someone asked me if I had time to talk, and I said no because I was on deadline. I delivered my XYZ, called them back and they were giving me new XYZ information that meant I had to revoke, rework, andre- release.
                :: head-desk ::

          2. Squirrel Nutkin*

            I like this reasoning — it’s like analogous to the polite practice of putting your request in the subject line of your e-mail so that the recipient can quickly assess if this is something they want/need/are able to address now.

          3. Richard Hershberger*

            This, unlike the bare “Hi!”, combines the best aspects of synchronous and asynchronous communication. There is no time wasted, and the recipient can immediately judge if they have the time to answer this right away or will come back to it later.

          4. Sutemi*

            The flip side, if someone is sharing a screen I often don’t want my chat message to show a sensitive question to others. I can’t predict when others will be sharing their screen, so it is easier to ask if they have some time to chat about X topic rather than jump right into a detailed question.

            1. Delia K*

              If you use Teams, their little chat bubble shows when they’re presenting and notifications are muted :)

            2. Alphabet*

              If you’re sharing your screen you should be on do not disturb if you don’t have multiple monitors.

              1. Koalafied*

                “Should” is doing a lot of heavy lifting in that sentence, though. If my recipient isn’t doing what they should be doing, it’s still problematic if my sensitive message displays on their screen, and telling them “you should have been on DND” doesn’t put the toothpaste back in the tube after everyone in the meeting has seen it.

                1. Koalafied*

                  And to be clear, I’m on the side of giving as much information as possible in the very first message – but the amount that’s possible to share can’t be based on the assumption that everyone is consistently adhering to that practice. I’m routinely on web conferences where people who regularly share their screen still spend 60 seconds trying to figure out how to do it every time, or forget to take themselves off mute when they’re talking, or forget to mute themselves when they’re not talking, or don’t realize that when they dial in by phone they need to mute the audio on their laptop to prevent an infinite echo feedback loop…etc etc. There’s no way I’m going to trust that people who struggle with those routine features of web conferencing are faithfully DNDing their Slack every time they present.

            3. SimplyTheBest*

              You can still give enough information without giving away details. “Need to speak to you about a confidential payroll issue.” “Have a quick personnel issue to discuss.” Etc, etc, etc.

          5. Slow Gin Lizz*

            Haha, Lester, I made *exactly* the same comment below and hadn’t seen yours first. Great minds!

          6. Bamcheeks*

            That’s the one I’d be careful with if it’s anything confidential. I have been in meetings where someone’s been sharing their screen and “re: SuperTed’s Disciplinary Hearing” has popped up in the corner!

      8. Dust Bunny*

        Please stop doing this. Just preface by telling them that it’s not urgent and then ask the question. It’s not friendly–it’s like saying “hi” and then standing in their office door staring at them until they have time to talk to you.

        The thing is, it doesn’t actually convey that it’s not urgent (because it doesn’t convey anything at all); it doesn’t give them any information about what you need; it doesn’t allow them to consider the answer they’ll give you (because they don’t know what the question is); etc. You’re assuming that their answer won’t cost them any effort, which may not be the case–they might want to double-check some information before they get back to you, and letting them get started on that ahead of time is much more courteous.

        Especially do not do this in a leadership role. If my supervisors did this to me I would think they were flaky, entitled, and had no respect for me or the work I do for them.

      9. Feral Fairy*

        If you don’t want to type out the specific question in the first IM, you could just say “Hi! I have a question about xyz assignment thatI wanted ask you. It’s not super urgent, I am just trying to wrap this up in the next day or two.” I think it’s a good idea to at least include some context when you reach out. If I got a message on my job’s app that just said hi, I think I’d assume that the person is going to to send another IM with the actual question and I would wait to respond.

    5. allathian*

      Yeah, it’s one of my pet peeves as well. Luckily most people say at least “Hi, do you have a minute?” That sounds a lot less intrusive than just a random greeting, even if I prefer something more substantial. Just a “hi” is likely to get a “How can I help you?” if I’m feeling gracious or it’s someone higher up in the org chart, a “What’s up?” if it’s a close coworker, and a “What do you want?” if I’m feeling peevish with a peer. I try to avoid the last one, though, because it’s not exactly professional. But the “do you have a minute?” is more likely to get a “how can I help you?” in response than just a greeting would be. To be fair, most people seem to feel the way I do, and are likely to continue with what they need me to do in their first post.

      1. HereKittyKitty*

        “hi” and nothing else for several minutes makes me think of someone peeking around the corner saying “hi” to me in whisper and staring at me until I notice them and look up. Oddly enough it’s also how any person who I have explicitly told not to contact me texts me to stomp on that boundary… “hi” and nada!

        1. Esmae*

          Ha, it makes me think of the coworker who used to just stand in my doorway until I acknowledged him. I got very petty and waited him out once, and it took a full five minutes of awkward shuffling and occasional throat-clearing before he actually said anything.

        2. Autumnheart*

          I have a coworker who used to sit at the next desk over, who would say “Psst!” until I looked up. WTF FFS. Just talk in a normal tone of voice and if you want my attention, use my name.

      2. Bamcheeks*

        “Do you have a minute?” also makes it easy to answer, “Talking to the oat king atm, give you a call at 11?” or “yes, but talking to oat king at half past, so only if very quick! Otherwise after 3pm?” “Hi” doesn’t give me any context to know whether it’s a quick unexpected interruption or something like, “you are supposed to be in this meeting, where are you?”

      1. Smaller potatoes*

        That is exactly the response I have to random Hi! texts. Immediately brings back memories of online dating. Hated the one word Hi so much I figured out how to set a minimum word limit.

      2. Berkeleyfarm*

        Back in the usenet days it was “Hi” or “Hey”

        I think I had to figure out how to disable chat the first week or so I was on it … lots of random “Heys” to someone with a female username

    6. Expiring Cat Memes*

      Or this, don’t be one of these people:

      DING (new message)
      hi

      DING
      hope ur having a good day

      DING
      [emoticon]

      DING
      when ur free can I ask a q?

      DING
      no hurry tho

      DING
      just when u have time

      DING
      [emoticon]

      1. OutofOffice*

        This! And it’s always when I’m in back-to-back meetings all day. Just ask the question and I’ll answer you! If it’s a longer form question, one message of “Hi! Hope you had a nice weekend! I have a question about how many teapots we need to paint today when you have a minute.” covers both the niceties and the topic. If you write them in separate lines, that’s fine, too. Just tell me what you need!

        I’m glad I’m not alone in this!

      2. Ali G*

        Hahaha! I do sometimes start with just a “Hi!’ to get the DING for attention. But then I will just start the next message with what I am asking for/need/whatever. I think it’s a good compromise and hope it isn’t too annoying for my co-workers.

        1. Not Today, Friends*

          Ah, but then you’ve hijacked my attention so I can watch you type. The DING with the real message will get the attention when it’s needed.

        2. Expiring Cat Memes*

          You’re fine with 2 dings! I’d even forgive you for 3 if you accidentally hit enter too soon. It’s the eleventy-billion dings when I’m in high focus that drives me up the wall. It’s like the equivalent of them sending in a marching band just to announce that they have a non-urgent question.

        3. RagingADHD*

          Hate to tell you, but I have all my dings turned off because of people like you.

          You are a pop-up ad.

        4. Allonge*

          I guess if you need something really urgently then getting people’s attention with an extra ‘SOS’ ping is fine, but what makes you think that you need their attention while you are typing the actual question normally? Like, the question will give just as much of a ping as the ‘Hi’…

        5. Nanani*

          Actually this is -extremely- annoying, please stop.
          There is no need to rip people’s attention to watching you type.

      3. Berkeleyfarm*

        I’m laughing, because otherwise I would cut somebody.

        (All that and we don’t know the question. Yikes.)

      4. Fran Fine*

        LMAO! Omg, this is so annoying. My boss does this and, though she’s lovely in just about every other way, it makes me want to ignore her because it’s so obnoxious.

      5. Le Sigh*

        This is why I turned the dings off. I cannot handle constant audio assault and just have visual alerts. Doesn’t work for everyone but it’s kept me sane.

        1. Koalafied*

          Yeah, I haven’t let anything other than phone calls and text messages send audible alerts on any device I own for at least the last 5 years. I don’t even let my email pop up a silent notification unless the incoming email is flagged High Priority (which gives me a whole other peeve with the people who mark every single email they send that way).

    7. Chris*

      IMing “hi” and nothing else is a variant on the “naked ping” in IRC.

      “The naked ping should be Considered Harmful, for at least two reasons. The first is that it conveys no information….The second, more subtle reason proceeds from the first. A ping with no data is essentially a command. It’s passive-aggressive; it implies that the recipient’s time is less valuable than yours. The pingee will respond in one (or both) of two ways. Either they will experience increased stress due to increased unpredictable demands on their time, or they will simply ignore naked pings.”

      1. JB*

        Exactly. Even face-to-face, if you’re going to walk up to me and say ‘hi’ and wait for my full attention to be on you before you continue, you’d better be my boss (with something urgent) or higher. That’s not how you start a respectful peer-to-peer conversation. I don’t know why people feel the same thing is more acceptable/less patronizing over IM.

      2. Gerry Keay*

        Oooooh this is such a good name and framework for it. Thank you for nailing exactly why this bothers me so much!!

    8. EZ Like Sunday Morning*

      I’m a big fan of “Hi NAME! Quick q if you have a sec” right out of the gate. Then they can say “Sure”, or “Can I get back to you later”.

    9. Harper the Other One*

      Yes, I use an IM system because I’m remote from my boss and while I may not ask my question in my first message, it’s easy to say “hi, when you have a minute, please message me for a quick question” or “good morning, at some point today we need to plan a half hour to catch up on some things” or “hey, I’ve got an urgent issue – please message back ASAP.”

    10. twocents*

      I don’t mind an initial “hi” message since that can be done to make sure nothing pops up on a screenshare, but yes, follow it up with whatever you’re wanting!

      I have a co-worker who does the “hi” thing all the time, and then forgets what he wanted by the time it takes to finish a “good morning” exchange. So maddening.

    11. Lady Meyneth*

      This is a huge cultural divide. In plenty of cultures, mine included, it’s horrifyingly RUDE to go straight to the point without waiting for a greeting back. There’s no expectation you have to drop everythig or have a whole chat though, you answer the “Hi, how are you”, the other person tells you what’s up, and then it’s perfectly acceptable to tell them you can’t help right now.

      My point being, don’t start off capital-h Hating those people, it’s very possible they’re trying to be considerate and just missed your cultural mark.

      1. Loulou*

        Absolutely. People seem to be projecting a lot on people who do this fairly benign thing. I’m not a huge fan of the practice myself, but it just means I have a different preference! It doesn’t reflect on the people who do it in any way, or mean I should ignore them as people are suggesting.

      2. JB*

        But what you’re describing IS dropping everything to talk to you, RIGHT now. I can’t respond ‘hi, how are you’ while continuing to write a report at the same time. I only have one pair of hands.

        1. Allonge*

          Yes, this. You pinged me, we are talking, at this stage I am probably better off answering your question – I would need to be incredibly busy to say ‘I don’t have time for this now, go away’. It’s not like I am in an uninterrupted space.

        2. RB Purchase*

          This makes perfect sense of why it bothers me SO much. It’s intended to be polite and not waste my time, but you have wasted both of our time by making me respond to you before you can ask me the question.

          I’m also wayyyyy too nosy to just let a “Hi” hang in the air without immediately needing to know what’s up, so on my end it’s so much more courteous to give me the full picture at once and allow me to respond when I’m available.

      3. Hex Libris*

        I don’t understand this at all. One of the benefits of chat is that it can function asynchronously, so it can still get the point across if someone is busy or afk. “Hi” is the equivalent of calling but not leaving a message if the person doesn’t pick up. Now do they “Hi” you back and maybe you miss each other again? Saying what you need seems like a way better option.

        I’m also having trouble with the idea that “Hi, do you have a few minutes to chat about X?” is considered all-caps rude.

        1. Lady Meyneth*

          It’s a different perspective. I don’t mind, personally, and only consider it rude if the greeting is skipped altogether. But I’m definitely the minority among my local coworkers, and they do consider it all-caps rude whenever someone skips the greeting pause. Rude enough to view those coworkers differently from then on. It became a big enough issue a company-wide handbook was issued detailing what was considered polite in each region we do business with.

      4. A Wall*

        I don’t hate people, I hate an office pet peeve. Like I said upthread, I don’t hold it against the other chatter because I know they are trying to be polite. That does not, however, make it any less annoying to be on the receiving end of it.

      5. Nanani*

        Oh please. Social norms across different cultures are very real, but so are business/office norms.

        “This would be rude at brunch with my family, who are from Culture X” is not the standard for whether it’s rude in an office.

    12. Anon for Now*

      Yes, this is an insane way of communicating with people. Especially at work. Tell people what you want!

    13. CJ*

      Amen. Also the anxiety it triggers is only slightly behind “We need to talk” – so much so that I will flat ignore “Hi” messages until a) they cough up what they want, or b) I have the free time to drag it out of them.

    14. KimberlyR*

      Yes! “Good morning, can you send over the TPS report when you have a minute?” is perfectly polite and gets to the heart of the matter immediately. Don’t give me “Good morning” and make me answer before you get to the point. We all have things to do!

    15. Stebuu*

      At my current job it is the culture to just send “Hi X” or “IM?” IMs and wait for a response and I ABSOLUTELY LOATHE IT.

      1. Not Today, Friends*

        Oh my god. They IM to ask if they can IM which they are already doing? This is so weird to me! Why are people pretending this is a phone call? Even the people suggesting “Hi! Do you have a minute to talk about X?” – that makes sense if you need to have a phone call, but IM is not the phone!! argh.

    16. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      I can handle hi, (though coming from someone like your grandboss, a client’s high-ranking manager, an HR director, etc, it can feel scary), but would certainly prefer the whole message at once.

      I’ve had coworkers who take the “hi” to the next level and that is ridiculous.

      CW: Hi
      Me: Hi
      (5 minute pause)
      CW: How are you doing?
      Me: Good, you?
      (5 min pause)
      CW: I am doing well, thank you. *headdesk*

      I usually cut these chats short and ask them “What can I help you with?” But, to everyone reading this, if you are one of the people who do that, please don’t.

      1. Koalafied*

        I have encountered this and I feel like this is the type of person who signs their text messages. It gives the impression that they are completely bewildered by technology.

    17. Sal*

      I hate it when coworkers open a chat with “Hi, how are you?” Listen, coworker, we are at work. I do not want to chat about my personal life or waste time on pleasantries. Do you have a question for me or not?

      1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        Unless it’s a work friend that I haven’t talked to in a while, who really does want to know how I’m doing. Then it’s all good. But you’re right that some people do open with “Hi, how are you doing?” when what they really want to say is “line 387 in your TPS report does not match the totals on lines 2-386 and I need to understand why.” Just say it, I’ll be fine with that question as an opener!

        1. IndoorKitty*

          This.

          Dude, I just chatted with you in the kitchen an hour ago. Why do we have to talk about how my day is going so far? This particular team member seems to put a lot of importance (possibly a cultural preference) on connecting with people so I try to cut him some slack, but he will do things like, come to my office to ask me to do something urgently, but then will ask how my day is and want me to stop and chat about tv shows and whatnot. Well, my day is that I was just given an urgent thing to do that needs doing right now. I get that his communication style is that he wants to connect with people, but read the room, dude!

    18. LQ*

      I think that this is pretty highly correlated with how you already feel about the person. I have one phenomenal coworker who will message me hi and then write letter’s worth, like an olde timey get your moneys worth of the stamp letter. But I already really like her so I just think of it as a quirk. It’s delightful when it’s Jan. But if anyone else did it I would be annoyed. I say this mostly because I think that IM is just another way our relationships with folks get expressed.

    19. Canadian Yankee*

      I definitely prefer to have someone tell me why they’re IMing in the very first message, but there are also cultural aspects at play. I work with a number of people who are originally from India, and their standards of formal politeness are higher than we’re used to in North America. With most of them, the first IM is something like “Good afternoon [name]. I hope you are doing well,” which is more words than just “Hi”, but no more informative about what they want to ask. Even the most casual of my Indian co-workers will send something like, “Hey [name]. Good morning, well almost noon,” as the first message.

    20. bopper*

      I see the “hey” as a “are you there” because if you aren’t I will send you email or ask someone else instead of typing out this whole thing only for it to be ignored

      1. JB*

        It’s not like the IM disappears if the person doesn’t see it right away. They can answer it when they get back, same as an email.

        There’s also this handy thing called a status that should tell you if they’re there or not to begin with.

        1. Not Today, Friends*

          Yes! This 10000%!!!

          And I don’t understand “typing out this whole thing only for it to be ignored”. If you truly need an immediate answer, pick up the phone. Or say it’s urgent when you send the IM. You don’t get to dictate when someone else answers your message. You sending me a message or calling me or emailing me or whatever does NOT obligate me to answer you right that second!

        2. Seeking Second Childhood*

          My company went and broke that. You only get status if it’s an active conversation. Which kills me because I might find out the recipient is out of office after I type hi & why. And then I have to type of attraction and go get my answer from someone else and they will still 90% of the time answer me when they get back to the office.

    21. SongbirdT*

      Hi.

      FWIW, Slack’s own internal etiquette guide says that “Hi” with nothing else is a no-go. Best practice is to always include your reason for messaging in the first message.

      There’s been some back and forth in the tread, so maybe a semi-official recommendation is helpful.

    22. MCMonkeyBean*

      Really agree!

      I would split the “hi” and the question into two separate messages but I’d send them right in a row. I can’t really put my finger on why… I think I just feel like splitting them is more IM-like while putting it all in one message is more like an email…

      I don’t think that part really matters either way though.

      1. Not Today, Friends*

        It matters. Please put them in one message. Read through this thread to see that the overwhelming majority wants one message.

      2. Autumnheart*

        You could compromise by putting a couple carriage returns in the first message.

        Hi, Coworker! Good morning. Hope your day’s going well so far.

        When you get a chance, could you tell me what the status is on Teapot 6753? I’m presenting in a meeting at 1 on all the Teapots currently in progress. Thanks!

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Yes: On Teams, hold the shift key while pressing enter, and it will insert a line break without sending the message.
          ( of course, on some other programs that same shortcut might send the message, but we do what we can.)

      3. Elenna*

        I split them into two messages just because that’s the way the rest of the office does it and I figure I may as well follow people’s lead. Like, if they’re going to have a separate “hi” in their message to me then I’m going to assume they prefer that and do it to them. But personally I’d prefer to have them in the same message (or just skip the hi altogether).

        (It’s certainly possible that there are other people in the office that don’t like the separate “hi” and are just doing it to me because of the culture, as well. But I don’t care enough to figure it out, I’m just gonna message everyone the same way.)

        I do always put my actual question without waiting for an answer, though.

    23. Berkeleyfarm*

      Oh I do as well. It leaves me hanging. It’s really easy to include the purpose/question in the message. That way I’m not waiting for the other shoe to drop.

      I used to love (/s) the help requests I got that were titled something like “hey”.

    24. Andrew*

      My company has started encouraging using chat instead of email for internal communication, so I figure if you wouldn’t just email someone ‘Hi’ and nothing else, you shouldn’t chat it, either. I treat it like a text message. I tell you why I’m messaging you, and you get back to me when you can. Done.

    25. sofar*

      Also, I’ve noticed that the people who type in “hi” and wait, take forever to spit things out across multiple messages stream-of-consciousness style when they finally do get around to telling me what in the actual heck they want.

      Hi!
      [30 minutes go by]
      OK
      If you’re free
      I have a question
      It’s about the ABC report
      So
      With the ABC report
      I need to pull data on XYZ
      So when I view the report in Tableau…

      1. Meep*

        I find there are two types of people who do this – people who are genuinely nervous about bothering someone and people who want to set you off balance because they want to throw you under the bus.

        Those that are genuinely nervous are easier to get to stop doing that.

      2. PeanutButter*

        This Is Just To Say Hi!

        [30 minute pause]

        I have clicked
        the ABC report
        and it opened in
        the Excel

        [30 more minute pause]

        and which
        you are probably
        preparing
        for that important meeting in 20 minutes

        [60 minutes go by]

        Forgive me
        the column of numbers
        so important
        are now dates

        With apologies to William Carlos Williams

    26. CaffeinatedPanda*

      Oh lord, I am a teacher in a district that was low-tech before the pandemic and the prevalence of this from kids as we rushed to digital spaces is insane. “Ms. Panda,” “i have a ?” and “help” are all common first messages. Especially fun on the weekend when it’s likely been hours/days since the student sent the meaningless message, and who knows how long until they’ll see my response.

      On the semi bright side, maybe the early lessons they get from me on this will stick with them…maybe. If I feel optimistic!

    27. Meep*

      My Toxic Coworker does it as a stupid power move so it is especially irksome to me and can even trigger my PTSD (via her). She does it for two reasons. 1. She KNOWS it will set off my anxiety and does it to rattle me so she has the upper hand and can be outrageous (she is a bigot in general but ableist is high up there) and 2. She does it to try to force me to talk to me so she can use me as free therapy.

      I have taken to not picking up my (personal) phone when she calls and forcing her to spit it all out over 5 minutes in sentence-long text chains (typically 5-6 texts with barely a sentence) before I look at it 20 minutes later. It is never important either. 9/10 times it is her asking me about the verdict of a meeting she JUST sat in on (sometimes even ones I was not in). So I don’t too feel /too/ bad about it. (Or like at all.) I just shrug my shoulders, tell her to ask the person who led the meeting, and pointedly go back to work until she gets the hint.

      When other people do it and it is obviously not malicious, I give them until I am done with my task until I respond. If it is important they can come find me or spit it all out.

    28. RB Purchase*

      My brother’s IM greeting says “Thank you for including your message with your greeting for efficient communication!” He set it a few months ago and has had countless coworkers edit their IM greetings as well to the same thing!

    29. Purple Cat*

      I’m really fascinated at the back and forth on “hi”. I wasn’t sure where I stood but realized that if someone just says “hi”, I ignore it. If they’re not going to follow-up with something meaningful, I’m not going to waste my time. It doesn’t “anger” me though.

      1. RB Purchase*

        I won’t reply to a “Hi” (unless it’s from someone much higher up or that I don’t frequently communicate with), but what I will do is anxiously wait for the other person to start typing no matter how much time I have to waste.

    30. Web of Pies*

      I work with one person who will wait AN INFINITE AMOUNT OF TIME after sending ‘hi’. JUST TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT OMG! I try to move things along like “hi there, what do you need?” but it’s too subtle. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    31. SpecialSpecialist*

      I got to the point where I ignored all “Hi” messages that didn’t include anything else.

      However, I did hear that some people say “Hi” because they don’t want the rest of their message to show if you’re sharing your screen with someone and a notification pops up with potentially sensitive info. At least that’s a pretty ok reason for doing it. But, at least in Teams, you can change how notifications pop up on your screen and I have mine set to show “So-and-So sent a Message” without giving a preview of the message to keep that from happening.

    32. HailRobonia*

      My boss does that all the time. It’s extremely aggravating, especially when we can see in our chat program that someone is typing. it will be “Hi” then “[Hailrobonia’s boss] is typing…” and the seconds go by, no message, then finally “can you help me with something…”

      Just say “can you help get the final numbers for the X report?’ or whatever!

    33. Seeking Second Childhood*

      A nice middle ground is to say hi & why.
      Hi SSC,
      –do you have five minutes to remind me how to get into this database?”
      –are you onsite? our vendor needs someone to sign off on this product in the next 10 minutes
      — do have a half hour to go through the spec the new guy in marketing just copied me on? I don’t understand what he means by a coffee teapot, and the email is addressed to big boss.

    34. Susan Ivanova*

      My number one annoyance with the QA team in China was when they’d IM with “hi” after I’d left for the day. Localizing all the times to my time zone, this is what it looked like:
      7PM Monday, them: Hi
      9AM Tuesday, me: Hi, did you have a question?
      7PM Tuesday, them: Yes, are these teapots supposed to be chocolate?
      9AM: Weds, me: Yes, you’re meant to eat them, not drink out of them
      7PM, Weds, them: Got it

      When it could’ve been
      7PM Monday, them: Hi, are these teapots supposed to be chocolate?
      9AM Tuesday, me: Yes, you’re meant to eat them, not drink out of them
      7PM, Tues, them: Got it

      There’s an extra 24 hour delay just because they had to start with “Hi”. I did tell them to just ask the question, but some of them persisted in starting with Hi, until I’d reply with just Hi back and add another day to the loop to drive home the point.

    35. tangerineRose*

      I know saying “hi” first is supposed to be polite, but every time my IM starts blinking, it interrupts my train of thought. Just include the “hi” with your question.

    36. Denver Gutierrez*

      We use an app to communicate with each other at work. If you directly respond to a thread, it doesn’t send a notification to everyone on that channel, but if you don’t, it will. It drives me insane to have notifications go off every two seconds with responses like “Yay!” or “Aww” because people won’t directly respond to the original commenter.You can silence notifications but then might actually miss something important.

    37. Allison*

      HARD agree! Saying “hi,” and then waiting for me to rely, and making small talk before typing out your request is a waste of my time. I know you’re not just messaging to say hey, we’re not middle schoolers on AOL, you want something, and that’s fine, but just say “Hey Allison, when you get a minute could you _____?” Sure, no problem! Easy.

    38. Ellena*

      This should be a law. I sense some people feel it’s rude to just say what they want, but it’s actually so much more efficient.

    39. JustMe*

      I don’t answer just “hi”. Especially if the “hi” comes immediately after I show as available after a meeting or a break away from my desk. You can email me or send me the whole question. (Which if it’s long I’ll tell you to email it anyways.)

      Note I work in a highly technical environment where we need to keep a record of what we advise be done in certain scenarios. Chats delete

    40. Firegirl*

      #2, thank you for raising this question, I thought I was the only one who is irked by the “Hi Firegirl!” followed by the … for minutes. But it’s good to get a sanity check from so many others who also are annoyed by it and just want people to be direct with their questions!

    41. Candy*

      A “hi” on slack to me is the equivalent of knocking on the office door.

      How is this:

      “hi”
      “hey, what’s up?” or :wave emoji:
      “did you get the memo about the TPS reports?”

      any different from this?

      *knock knock*
      “come in”
      “did you get the memo about the TPS reports?”

      1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        Yeah, except that people used to knock on doors because there was no other way to contact the person within. Then telephones barged in, even more rudely, because you couldn’t put a DND note on your phone. Now IMs are every bit as rude.

        At my previous job PMs would try to get me to agree to a job by starting with “are you free?” Even if the answer was yes, I would tell them to please send the job by email. They had to email the job to me anyway, specifying the deadline and the number of words, so why start by asking if I’m free? Even if I’m free, I need to check whether the job falls within my comfort zone.

    42. RebelwithMouseyHair*

      Yup, and if you don’t answer straight away, they might not then come back immediately with their question, so you’re still left hanging. I’ve noticed some will be petty enough to leave you waiting for as long as you left them waiting…

      It’s a bit like “what you up to” socially: if you admit you’re just chilling, they’ll then feel free to use up your time, maybe inviting you to do something you don’t have the energy for, or just chatting non-stop with you.

  2. nnn*

    #4: Depending on interpersonal dynamics, you could present it as something like “I’ve noticed Kaitlin’s name has come out as “Katelyn” in a few of your emails recently. Pro tip: you could set up an autocorrect to change “Katelyn” to “Kaitlin” to prevent that from happening again.”

    That’s a way to make it clear that you’ve noticed the typo and that they should correct it without overstepping your authority – it’s more “Here’s a useful tech tip!” rather than “You’re spelling it wrong!”

    1. Bilateralrope*

      I wouldn’t be surprised if autocorrect is the cause of the problem.

      I’ve had times when my phones autocorrect got some rather strange ideas. Like changing “the” to “5he” for a few months. Then vanished just as suddenly as it appeared.

      1. it's-a-me*

        Good lord yes, the ridiculous ‘corrections’ mine comes up with sometimes!

        Current to Correct is the favorite right now.

        1. Emi*

          At some point my phone started capitalizing anything that might plausibly be either a surname (like “I’m going to wear the Green shirt”) or a brand (like “I’ll be Home [Goods] soon”).

        2. Jay*

          Right now if I start to write “morning” on my phone and miss even one letter, the phone gives me “Moroni.” I am not now nor have I ever been a member of the LDS church. I am quite sure I have never used “Moroni” in any communication on my phone. It’s very odd. Now that I think about it, I should set up a rule to change “Moroni” to “morning.”

      2. Need More Sunshine*

        Yep, or voice-to-text! both of my recent bosses frequently use voice to text even for emails and then don’t spell check. With names that can be spelled multiple ways, it often ends up being wrong.

        One of these bosses is also notorious about sending indecipherable emails and spells everyone’s name wrong all the time. Doesn’t seem like the case here if it’s just happening to Kaitlyn, but the above could easily be part of it.

      3. DANGER: Gumption Ahead*

        That is what I was thinking. The person is emailing/writing about/to “Katelyn” recently and now autocorrect keeps turning “Kaitlin” to “Katelyn”

      4. Denver Gutierrez*

        I work in an animal shelter and use mainly our work iPad. I have to type in a lot of animal names and the autocorrect changes them to the most ridiculous things! Even easy to recognize words. For example, I typed in “Hollywood “,spelled correctly, and for whatever reason, autocorrect changed it to “Hollywoodalannia”. I am not even kidding!

    2. allathian*

      This naturally only works if there’s no Katelyn that this person needs to email regularly… It’s possible that this is an autocorrupt issue anyway.

      1. JustaTech*

        You can also (on some phones) create text shortcuts, so something like “omw” turns into “On my way!”.

        This can be used for evil: I know a guy who went into his mom’s phone and changed a whole bunch of words so things like “dinner” turned into “winner winner, chicken!” and things like that. She thought her phone was possessed. (I do not think this is a funny joke, but lots of people did.)

      2. NotARacoonKeeper*

        You can make text shortcuts as JustaTech said, but you can also change the autocorrect! On my Android, I just press on the correction I don’t like, and an option to delete it comes up. Super handy when your phone’s algorithm has started accepting your frequent mispellings as purposeful!

    3. Katharine*

      I spend so much time correcting official documents I don’t care how a coworker is spelling my name as long as everyone knows if me. I’d honestly rather a misspelling then some of the shortened versions of my name.

    4. Smithy*

      Depending on the larger dynamics at play, I will say that while I would appreciate my boss make a couple efforts to flag the issue – going so far as to encourage setting up autocorrect would not be something I would want.

      While I don’t have a name that regularly gets misspelled, I not only get nicknamed frequently but get called the wrong name entirely that I think is largely due to both names starting with the same letter and both being very popular for the same generation of girls. So instead of calling someone Kaitlin, calling them Katherine.

      For a wide variety of reasons, this really does not bother me. I will correct people when I think there’s a business concern of confusing relevant parties, but it’s really a non-issue for me personally. Particularly when I’ve worked for very large organizations and where if I have a list of 5 things I want people to remember about me, as long as they know how to email me – my name isn’t one of them. So knowing that my boss was harping on someone about that would make me uncomfortable.

      1. JB*

        Same. My name gets misspelled constantly and I frequently get called the wrong name; it also often gets mispronounced.

        I’m not bothered by this. I AM bothered when someone else makes a big deal out of it, because inevitably it makes the person who made the mistake feel bad, and I have to fend off a lot of ‘I’m sorry’s and ‘why didn’t you correct me’s. (Well, you were emailing me, and my email address is my name, so I figured if you cared so much about getting it right you would have looked at that.)

      2. Ace in the Hole*

        Personally I feel the opposite. This is something that bothers me and if I were in this situation, I would really appreciate a boss standing up for me.

        Since I my name has a very unusual spelling (think “Sera” vs “Sarah”), I don’t mind if people get the spelling wrong the first time. However, someone consistently misspelling my name when they ought to know better really bothers me. It’s just as inappropriate as consistently mispronouncing my name – which also happens. Names are important. My name is part of my family heritage, part of who I am, and respecting my name is part of respecting me as a person.

        I think the best thing to do is let the employee know you’ve noticed the error and ask if they mind you bringing it up with the person making this mistake. If the employee says they’d prefer not to call attention to it, respect their wishes of course! But plenty of people will be very glad you asked. Even if they don’t want you to say anything, they may appreciate knowing that you were aware of the problem and willing to do something about it.

      3. ggg*

        I have a uniquely spelled (thanks, mom and dad), easily misspelled name. It can also be easily confused with other, similar names.
        I let it go, even though my email address is clearly up there at the top, correctly spelled, firstname.lastname@company.com. People could look at it at any time for ideas on how to spell it correctly. They don’t. They never will.
        I also get many emails meant for people with similar names at my company and they get emails for me. We just forward them to the people in the Name Network who should have received them in the first place.

        1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

          “People could look at it at any time for ideas on how to spell it correctly. They don’t. They never will.”
          I suffer from this too, with an unusual first name that warps into a similar mundane one, and a surname with unusual spelling. But please don’t say “people never will” check the spelling. I’m naturally very good at spelling, but will always check anything that isn’t totally straightforward.

    5. PhyllisB*

      I feel her pain. My name is constantly misspelled. The worst offender? My mother!! Who named me!! Who insisted on spelling it this exact way because she was naming me after her brother!! I finally got mad and asked her if she was so insistent on this spelling, why couldn’t she remember it? Now she’s finally got it right, but I had to reach the age of 40 before she did.

  3. Xenia*

    I’m going to have to disagree here on the answer to #4. Those of us with odd names or names with several different spellings do in fact mind when someone is getting it wrong consistently. OP’s coworker might really not mind, or they might be shrugging it off because it would be ‘rude’ otherwise, but saying that people with multiple spellings to their name don’t mind repeated mistakes isn’t correct. Once or twice, sure, but multiple times becomes annoying.

    1. EY or AY*

      Counter opinion from a frequently misspelled named person. It doesn’t bother me at all. I correct official docs but don’t care if my colleagues spell it the other way. I just think the other way looks ugly but I’m biased.

      1. kittymommy*

        Same. Both my first name (very unusual name) and my last name (Not really unusual but very close to a couple of other spellings) are always spelled wrong. It is what it is and I don’t even notice it most of the time.

      2. You Can't Pronounce It Anyway*

        Agreed. If I took offense every time someone mispronounced or misspelled my name, I would spend most of my time frustrated.

      3. dry erase aficionado*

        As a fellow member of the EY/AY club, I agree that it doesn’t really bother me, but I must confess that it does sometimes make me think people are really lazy since it’s literally *right there* in the email address. Which brings up another issue, after almost getting fired years ago for “not responding to emails,” I now ask IT to set up an email account with the most common misspelling if an address contains my first name. The dummy account magically goes to my real email address and is suppressed from the directory to limit confusion but makes sure I will get all the emails I need.

        1. Aitch Arr*

          Same.

          I’m not in the EY/AY club, more like the n/ne club (similar to Ann/Anne).

          Going with that example, I’m the only Ann and there are two Annes, and people still get it wrong!

      4. Sandman*

        Same here. My name is constantly mis-spelled and is so often mis-pronounced that I hardly notice. What I DO notice is when somebody makes the effort to get it right – that means a lot to me.

      5. Lenora Rose*

        Counter counter; some misspellings and misspeakings bug me a lot (My name is *3* syllables, not 2 (Lenore) or 4 (Leonora)), others makes me shrug (I genuinely had not even noticed when someone was calling me by my mother’s name for several months), but anything consistent and persistent despite correction makes me think the person is being lazy or inattentive, and I worry about what they would do to a non-white person with an odd name.

      6. Sleepless*

        It doesn’t bother me either. I do correct it on official stuff, especially since there is somebody out there with the other spelling who lives in my state and has a spotty credit history. But I don’t really care otherwise.

      7. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

        Me too. I have a first name that has 2 very common spellings and a bunch of uncommon versions. As long as someone is in the vicinity I’m cool with it. I’ve gotten an Attenborough attitude where I muse about the number of people who seem to prefer the longer more complicated spelling rather than my very phonetic spelling — fascinating.

      8. Not Luke Skywalker*

        Same. My first name is common, but I have an unusual last name that trips people up because it’s not spelled the way it’s pronounced. (Imagine that my last name is pronounced “Skywalker” but spelled “Skiwalker”). I don’t bother to correct people unless it’s for legal or public-facing documents.

      9. Meghan*

        As a Meghan I constantly get Megan, Meaghan, Meggin (???), Meagan, etc. If it wasn’t for Family Guy I would’ve shortened to Meg long ago. I don’t generally mind but it gets pretty funny as I respond, my name is RIGHT THERE, and they still spell it wrong for a dozen emails on a thread. It’s a good way for me to identify people who might have reading comprehension issues ahead of time actually, so I know to watch those accounts a bit closer.

    2. Kristy*

      I have a name with SO many spellings and couldn’t care less when people spell it wrong. I think the best advice is to really confirm with the employee if they care or not – you could be making a big deal out of a non issue if they don’t mind.
      – Kristy or Kristie or Christy or Christie

      1. Manda*

        As someone who has a weird name, that is very close to a common name, I agree with you. I don’t really care what you call me. I think that OP needs to talk to the staff member to see if it’s an issue.

        I had a previous supervisor who was always hyper aware when someone screwed up my name. His insistence on correcting it, especially around people I will likely never going to meet/see again annoyed me more than people screwing up my name.

        Signed, Manda (Or Amanda, Mandi, Mandy, or even sometimes Amand)

      2. These Tiny Keyholes*

        I once worked in an office where four of us had the same first name, and each person spelled it differently (it was a very common name for my age cohort and there are multiple popular spellings). There’s no way that people wouldn’t get mixed up occasionally.

        But now when I’m the only person with my name in my department, whether it bothers me or not is pretty situational. If the misspelling comes from someone I don’t work with often or only happens occasionally from someone I do work with often, then whatever. Muscle memory can trip anyone up (I have the worst time trying to email people who have different spellings of my own name), sometimes people are in a hurry, and as long as it’s just a different spelling and not a nickname then I just shrug because it’s not worth the effort to correct.

        But if it was regularly coming from someone I do work with often, especially someone who got it right previously, then yeah that would be pretty bothersome. The person with the name gets to care whether or not it’s misspelled. Mistakes happen, but when someone says “oh, my name is actually spelled Kaitlin” then the polite response is “oh sorry, I’ll be more careful in the future!”

        1. Tell Me About Your Pets*

          I’m a teacher, and one year I had a Jayden, Jaelyn, Jaydan, and Jaylen in one class. Two were boys, two were girls, and all were VERY particular about the spelling. That was a rough year.

        2. NotAnotherManager!*

          Between my daughter’s friends and people I work with, I know two Kaitlyns, three Caitlins, and one each of Kaitlin, Katelynn, and Catelyn. This is to say nothing of Tracy, Tracey, and Tracie or the five varieties of Katherines. I try very, very hard to keep them straight and spell them correctly, but I know I mess them up on occasion and appreciate the correction.

    3. sara or sarah*

      The answer doesn’t say people don’t mind, it says some of them don’t mind. Which is clearly true.

    4. Viette*

      Well, there’s one person who really gets to make the call in regards LW#4’s situation: the staff member. “My staff member shrugs it off”. If it’s that cringey to the LW, maybe check with the staff member before going on the warpath about it. They may not want to be known as ‘Kaitlin, The Spelling of Whose Name Is a Big Deal’.

      I have a name that constantly gets misspelled (because I spell it oddly) and if my boss said, “you say you don’t mind repeated mistakes? You are wrong”, boy would I be annoyed — with my boss.

      1. Anna Badger*

        one thing that’s important to flag here is that if the person whose name is getting misspelt is not from a dominant cultural group then it could be worth pushing harder for a correct spelling, as she may not feel comfortable pushing back. I used to work with a Black woman whose name was forever getting mispronounced and misspelt and in groups she always said she didn’t mind, but when I asked her one on one it turned out she minded a LOT and kept quiet because didn’t want to come across as angry or aggressive. I asked if she wanted me to use my posh gets-read-as-white persona to correct people and she says yes, so for a couple of months I dropped an IM to everyone who got it wrong every time, and eventually people got the hang out of sheer irritation. but the irritation was with me, not with her, which is exactly what we were aiming for.

        1. Ginger Baker*

          I love you. (I am VERY fond of the “[politely] pester people to fix an ongoing issue until they cave because it’s easier to get it right than to deal with me making them correct it Every Single Time” technique, a lot of upfront work but LASTING results!)

        2. American Job Venter*

          Thank you so much for saying this. There is a whole category of microaggressions where people of color are told that our names are too hard to spell or pronounce. As Uzo Aduba said:

          So anyway, in grade school, because my last name started with an A, I was the first in roll call, and nobody ever knew how to pronounce it. So I went home and asked my mother if I could be called Zoe. I remember she was cooking, and in her Nigerian accent she said, “Why?” I said, “Nobody can pronounce it.” Without missing a beat, she said, “If they can learn to say Tchaikovsky and Michelangelo and Dostoyevsky, they can learn to say Uzoamaka.”

          and spell it too.

          1. Formerly Frustrated Optimist*

            I *love* this comment and that story. What a great insight that mother had!
            It is indeed a microaggression to say some names are “too hard” to spell or pronounce.

            1. Former_Employee*

              Except that if there was some Russian or Ukrainian kid in the class with one of the more difficult Slavic names everyone would still have trouble pronouncing it.

              I have a fairly short last name with several consonants in a row and only one vowel in the entire name. People I’ve known for years cannot pronounce or spell it correctly. It is a major challenge for people who aren’t used to languages other than English or Romance languages.

        3. Ace in the Hole*

          “but the irritation was with me, not with her, which is exactly what we were aiming for.”

          This is a huge point. Even if racism and sexism aren’t concerns… the staff member is lower on the hierarchy than the person misspelling their name. They may be brushing it off because they’re not comfortable correcting a department head about it, whether or not it bothers them. Having someone in a higher position offer to do it on their behalf will probably be very welcome, whether or not they take LW up on the offer.

      2. A Wall*

        There’s layers to that, too, since this is a lower-level employee than the LW or the person making the mistake. Gotta find out whether they actually care or not before proceeding, but mindfully. The employee might be shrugging it off even though it does bother them because they’re trying not to make a fuss with management about something small, and they would actually really appreciate if the LW got this other person to stop. They also might not care in the slightest and the LW making a bigger deal about it will be more embarrassing than anything else.

        1. RB Purchase*

          In my experience as someone with a first and last name that have alternate spellings, it is usually someone much higher up than me who I don’t work with often who gets it wrong and it feels really awkward to say “It’s actually Julia Edson, not Julie Edison” (fake names obv) because I never know if it was a one-off mistake or if they really think that’s my name.

          Then there’s the balance of Well…how many times do they have to get it wrong before it’s worth mentioning but not so long that it will embarrass them to realize they had my name wrong for a year.

      3. Katherine Catherine Kathryn*

        I feel like that’s a different – and worse – mistake. Using a widely-used alternate spelling to a name that’s identical when read aloud is a much smaller deal than spelling a name wrong to the point of changing its pronunciation. That’s definitely worth correcting.

        1. HAnnah*

          I get annoyed when my names get misspelled. The last name I get, though if someone has difficulty with it, I don’t know why they can’t slow down to check! Or determine if the last name is even needed.

          The first name is common, but there is a similar one that people have started default to. The one letter makes a difference in the pronunciation (think Hannah versus Honnah). But because they are so close, people think they are the same. I usually correct people along the lines of “FYI, Hannah I has two As and Honnah uses an o.”

          So many people don’t realize that they are two different names (and some have tried to argue with me). I try to correct them in a calm and straightforward way. I’m sure some would think I’m shrugging it off, but I’m not. We are in a hybrid office, so the correcting tends to have to be in email.

      4. Hogsmeade AirBNB*

        Or from a different team: yes, you have to pronounce and spell my easy name even though I’m “just” an admin.

    5. Daffy Duck*

      I’ve got one of those names computers hate, it is constantly miscapitalized or half the letters are dropped out. I greatly appreciate folks who get it right, don’t fuss when it is wrong, but I do sort my mail by the spelling (junk mail always has it wrong).

    6. Mockingbird*

      Just want to second as someone who is bothered by it, a lot. It’s not my name if it’s spelled wrong, but depending on who was screwing it up I might smile through gritted teeth and say it was fine to avoid causing a fuss. People also mishear my name and if it’s someone I’ll never speak to again I’ll go along with whatever they think my name is, and I don’t care if Starbucks misspells my name. But people I’ve worked with for years suddenly getting it wrong would hurt.

      1. Reese*

        As a person with a weird name, I don’t care at all especially in situations where auto-correct will mess it up.

      2. Blue Nicht*

        Yes, that’s where I see the big difference, too: coworker has been addressed correctly by supervisor for years, suddenly she’s getting misspelled – surely she’s wondering what caused that? If supervisor is mad/passive-aggressive/bullying at her, or trying to push her out?

        Not making a big deal is often for one-time encounters where it doesn’t matter, but at work? When coworker can’t speak up because colleague of LW is a bit above her in hierarchy? That’s not an honest “shrug it off”.

        1. Kippy*

          Or supervisor’s brother just got engaged to Kathryn and his brain is now just defaulting to that when he includes Katharine on work emails.

          1. Purple Princess*

            Yes. When my brother started dating a Kathryn, it took a lot of effort for me to remember she’s a Kathryn, not Catherine. Now, several years and a wedding later I default to Kathryn and if I don’t consciously double check the spelling, I’m likely to spell Catherine as Kathryn in any correspondence.

        1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

          at least you can tell straight away and just hang up if you want!
          I do that when I’m called Mrs Partnersname, now that the kids are no longer in school.

    7. KiwiLib*

      Yeah I’m one of these people who has always minded, but as I get older, I’ve minded less. However if it’s someone I have regular communication with, I’d expect them to get it right and would remind them. But I’ve stopped getting too het up.

      1. Less Bread More Taxes*

        I think this is where the distinction lies. I absolutely don’t mind if someone I’ve just met or someone I only have contact with a few times a year gets my name wrong. But if you’re someone I’m corresponding with regularly… come on, my name is RIGHT THERE at the bottom of my replies.

        1. Ace in the Hole*

          Exactly. I don’t care if the pizza place gets my name wrong. Heck, I don’t even mind if a relative I only see every few years at family reunions spells my name wrong on a holiday card. Or if it’s a once-in-a while mistake from a regular contact that I can assume was autocorrect or brain farts.

          I definitely mind if someone I’ve regularly communicated with for years routinely gets it wrong.

      2. Willis*

        This. Also, where is the misspelling occurring? If it’s in something super casual, I probably am not gonna be too perturbed. If it’s in the company newsletter or a client proposal or contract I’m supposed to sign – get it right!

    8. Katherine Catherine Kathryn*

      I’m another one who doesn’t care which variant is used, as long as I can tell whether they’re addressing me or not. Nicknames or shortenings bother me more. Kat is fine and what I go by outside of work. Kath, Kathy, Kate, Katie are not, and I won’t realise they mean me.

      1. Lady_Lessa*

        I once considered going by my middle name, which is in the same family as your name. But I realized that it would probably be shortened to Kathy which I dislike. So I never did. However, the short variation that I like, I find very useful on the Internet.

    9. Need a WFH policy*

      I generally take the view that if the worse thing that happens to me in a day is that someone spells my name wrong, then I am having a pretty good day. I don’t generally correct people on it, though I do love using it as an example of lack of attention to detail if it makes sense in a situation. (Favorite was the person who was actually using the wrong name, not spelled incorrectly but wrong, in an email and then argued with me about my name when I corrected them which lead to me saying “Of the two of us, which one of us would be in a better position to know what my name is?”)
      My bigger pet peeve is when people ask me if my name is my “real” name. I go by an extremely common nickname for my full name. You wouldn’t ask someone named Mike if that was his “real” name, why do you think it is appropriate to ask me if mine is my “real” name? What does “real” name even mean? How am I supposed to respond? No, I am giving you a fake name because you aren’t good enough for my “REAL” name. Ask me if it is a nickname if you must, but real name just irritates me to no end.
      I absolutely make an effort to spell people’s names correctly though.

      1. doreen*

        I don’t like the phrase “real name” either – but I wish more people would ask if my husband’s name ( something like “Billy”) is a nickname. Because instead they just assume it’s a nickname for “William” ( it’s not). And while t doesn’t matter if random people think his name is “William” , it does matter if payroll does

        1. Denver Gutierrez*

          The same with my dad. His name is a common nickname (think Jim). But that is his full given name. People like to assume he is James, and some even argue when corrected! I think my dad knows his own name, people!

      2. Dust Bunny*

        I have an uncommon name and far too many people, when I introduce myself, ask immediately if I have a nickname. My name could easily be shortened to a nickname that is often derived from another, far more common name. Think, “Sophie” if my name were “Persephone”. But I don’t like the shortened name and have never used a nickname outside of one my close family gave me when I was little and my cousins couldn’t pronounce my full name.

        No. No, I do not. And now I have the impression that they’re lazy and dismissive.

        1. nopetopus*

          I get that a lot! I used to get told by teachers as a kid that they were giving me a new name – once a sub said that I must have got my name wrong, it’s not a real name. It’s SO dismissive.

          1. Panhandlerann*

            When I was a kid, I knew of a family with a (younger-than-I) kid named Kristi. Her middle name was Jill. The family always called her Kristi, and she always referred to herself as such. When Kristi was in the third grade or so, her TEACHER decided to call her Jill because there was another Kristi in the class. Kristi thereafter became Jill to everyone; even her family went along with it. This always seemed extremely nervy of the teacher, to just by fiat change a kid’s name like that. (I mean, I had an extremely common first name–there’d always be more than one by the name in my classes–but no one ever insisted on using my middle name instead.) The fact that the kid’s own family simply went along with it seemed bizarre to me. And Kristi Jill herself–at least as the story was told to everyone–seemed to have had no agency in all of it at all.

            1. alynn*

              My dept. already had a Steve and a incoming hire was also Steve. Another coworker just announced in a meeting that we would call current Steve ‘Steven’ and the new hire would be ‘Steve’. Coworker had not asked current Steve’s preference. It was very odd. Fortunately, current steve spoke up and we just use first name with last initial.

              1. banoffee pie*

                My nickname/shortened name can be spelled a couple of ways and I don’t care less how people spell it. But I don’t like being called my full name. It’s way too formal and makes me think the authorities are after me or something. Some people just keep calling me the full name even after I tell them I go by my nickname. I think they’re trying to be extra polite, like ‘you deserve your full name’. Or they say ‘I’m sure your mum wanted you to be called full name.’ I’m thinking no, she told me she picked my name always meaning me to use the nickname I now go by! I’m not sure where to go after that so just start answering to the full name. It’s pretty annoying

            2. Denver Gutierrez*

              How rude of the teacher. When I was a kid, in one class we had 3 Sarahs, 2 Jennifers, and 2 Tawannas. The teacher asked the class on the first day while taking attendance that if any kid preferred a nickname to let her know when she got to their name. If none of the kids with the same first name had a nickname, she would just say their first name and first initial of last time when addressing them in class.

            3. Guin*

              That’s so rude! When my kids were in school, there were always at least two Tylers, Taylors, Olivias, and Emmas in their classes. The teacher would just say “Olivia T/Olivia N” or “Tyler S/Tyler D.” She didn’t just randomly start calling them by their middle names!

          2. Sunny Dulcibella*

            I also have an extremely unusual name. When I was a child, adults made terrible comments to me about my name. Once at about age six or seven, the librarian checking out my books commented “What a weird name. What were your parents thinking?”

          3. Denver Gutierrez*

            That is so arrogant and obnoxious of people! I would be tempted to call them something completely different and see how they like it. If they get offended and say, “I’m not Kate, I am Shirley “, my response would be, “Well, I’m not Nickname, I’m Real Name.”

            It really isn’t hard to learn how to pronounce anyone’s name correctly! Not even bothering to try is rude and disrespectful.

            1. Blue Meeple*

              I had a coworker a few years ago who repeatedly called me by the wrong name (think Jenna vs. Jenny) even after being reminded repeatedly. He only stopped after I lost my temper and yelled at him, which was pretty much the only way I could communicate with him, unfortunately. I often wish that I had thought to start calling him some random other name instead. His name was Chad. Wonder how he’d have liked being Carl or Chet instead.

      3. Smithy*

        While I don’t has misspelling issues – I do more often encounter being nicknamed, or having a popular name of my generation will often get called another popular name that starts with the same letter. An example would be that instead of being called Kaitlin, getting called Katherine, and I truly don’t care.

        However, I think part of that is personal preference and part of that is centered in privilege around overall having a traditional Western name. And part of that is where I do think those attention to detail points are worth flagging in terms of where those types of slips happen. Are these slips that seem to happen more with women than men? Do these slips happen primarily with non-English or non-traditional names?

        I think all of that is relevant and does matter in how it’s addressed, as well as how the individual in question feels.

      4. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Who remembers the MASH episode where the 4077th tried so hard to find out what BJ Honeyicut’s initials stand for?
        (Spoiler alert: He says it stands for nothing, nobody believes them, and hilarity ensues.)

    10. Bagpuss*

      My name is relatively unusual, especially for people in my age range, but has at least 4 common variant spellings.

      I don’t get annoyed if people I don’t interact with much get it wrong.

      It would annoy me is a co-worker or someone I was dealing with on regular basis did, especially if they continued after I had mentioned it to them. I mean, I wouldn’t be frothing at the mouth, but it would low-level irritate me and I would push back. But I am in a position where I can push back – when I was more junior I would have (and did) put up with it because I didn’t feel confident repeatedly correcting someone more senior than I was.

      But I think OP should ask her employee and specifically as whether she wants OP to push back on her behalf. Employee may genuinely not care, but equally may care but feel that she can’t push back without being seen in a negative way or burning up limited capital

    11. Let me be dark and twisty*

      I have to agree with the others. I think Alison was on the mark by saying “some people don’t mind.” It acknowledges that some people don’t mind, like all of us replying here, and that others do mind (like yourself). There’s room for both of us in this boat.

      I am a Megan, though that’s not how I spell it. I truly do not care how you spell it as long as it looks like a Megan and sounds like a Megan. I’ve had people get upset on my behalf and it is a squicky feeling because it implies that I don’t matter enough to be in charge of my own name. But having this name does make me more conscientious that I correctly spell others’ names because I know there are people who do mind and want to be acknowledged properly.

    12. Hogsmeade AirBNB*

      My name is Hallie (rhymes with Sally), and I am called Haley more often than my actual name. I’ve been called Haley in email when someone had to spell my name correctly in order to reach me in the first place. People seem to think it’s not a big deal — but I do! Give me the basic courtesy of spelling & pronouncing my very-easy-to-spell-and-pronounce name!

      1. dresscode*

        I had a direct report with your name and I had the hardest time saying it. I ALWAYS said it right, because I think it’s obviously very important to call people by their names, but man, something about the name Hallie was so hard for me- I tripped up a lot at first. (I think it was a midwest accent thing on my part- I’ve never had trouble with other names, it was very strange.)

        You are right, by basically all new people she was called Haley and I was happy to correct them.

      2. (Former) Halley*

        Oh wow, I’m so glad it’s not just me! My given name is Halley (also rhymes with Sally), and basically every person I meet pronounces it as Haley or Hayley. It drives me crazy! This isn’t just people reading from text (which I would understand); it also happens when I introduce myself out loud. I’ll say “Hi, I’m Halley, nice to meet you,” and less than a minute later they’ll address me as Hayley. I always correct them (in as friendly a manner as possible), and most people get it right after two or three corrections, but some people just… don’t, ever. Not even when I say “It’s pronounced like Halle Berry.” And then I just have to live with these people pronouncing my name wrong forever.

        As the above suggests, I realllly dislike it when people mispronounce my name. I know they’re not doing it on purpose or trying to be disrespectful, but the wrong pronunciation just grates on me. It’s one of the reasons (though not the only one) that I actually switched to using a completely different name! I now go by Darcey, which never gets mispronounced, and almost never gets confused with nearby names. (I never officially changed my name though, so I’m still Halley when I talk to the doctor’s office or the auto mechanic, and I still get to hear it be mispronounced all the time…)

        On the flip side, though, I basically don’t care at all if my name is misspelled. Everyone misspells Darcey (usually as Darcy or Darcie), and since I chose the name myself, I feel like it’s basically on me for putting a superfluous ‘e’ in there. The only time it really bothers me is if someone I’m dating misspells it, or if a stranger is emailing me out of the blue to ask for a favor and can’t even bother to spell it right. Otherwise I pretty much don’t care.

        Anyway, solidarity for the fellow Hallies and Halleys out there! This is the first time I’ve heard from other people with this same problem and I’m soooo glad it’s not just me!

        1. Hogsmeade AirBNB*

          My go to is either “RHYMES WITH SALLY” or “Like Halle Berry, not Haley Joel Osment.” Some people get it but for whatever reason people are DETERMINED to call us Haley! You’d think the difference in a quick glance at a y vs. an e would be enough for people but…. guess not.

          I see you, my fellow HalleyHallie!

          1. Hogsmeade AirBNB*

            You’d think that would work… but a lot of people think it’s Haley’s comet. People are weirdly determined to get the name “Hallie” wrong, ha ha.

    13. Leia*

      For me, I think it’s the context of who/when they spell my name wrong. If I’m at Starbucks, I don’t feel like spelling my name out every time so I just accept whatever someone puts down. If it’s a new co-worker, I’ll forgive them but I will correct the spelling. If it’s someone close by to me, like someone I’ve known for years, yeah I get mad. My uncle spelled my name wrong once. That was years ago, and I still remember it.

      One thing that drives me crazy though is if I put my name in my email signature, and they still spell my name wrong when replying back. It’s right there, there is no reason not to spell it right. I do my best to make sure I spell and pronounce someone’s name correctly, because I know how annoying it can be. Plus the issues with race and culture. I’m white, but I have step-family from Korea. They took on ‘English’ sounding names when coming to America, but I could tell they preferred their own and I insisted on learning how to pronounce them correctly. It means a lot to people.

      1. Hogsmeade AirBNB*

        Or if they had to spell your name correctly in order to catch you in the contact directory in the first place. At that point you’re just stupid for getting my name wrong.

      2. Agnes*

        At some point you’ve got to accept that people are terrible spellers. I get plenty of emails with “freind” or “tommorrow” and everyone has probably seen those a lot more than they’ve seen your name. Regarding bad spelling (and personally I’m a very good speller, and it grates) as an insult will really not get you anywhere.

        (Also, remember a few weeks ago when we were discussing spelling in a cover letter and people were falling all over themselves to insist it didn’t matter – interesting how it shifts when we’re discussing words that don’t in fact have a standard spelling.)

        1. Hogsmeade AirBNB*

          Also, if you know you’re a bad speller, copy-paste people’s names….laziness isn’t a good enough excuse for rudeness, and continually misspelling someone’s name is rude.

        2. pancakes*

          I’m inclined to think mistakes of that nature reflect fast typing more often than terrible spelling.

      3. Spotted Kitty*

        I’m very white but have a name that’s more common in the Black community. My mom also chose to spell it differently than it’s most commonly spelled. I give people a LOT of leeway, but I HATE when my name is in my email signature and they STILL mess it up. It’s right there. Just look at it.

      4. MissMeghan*

        UGH YES on replying to an email when my name is right there in the signature. Everyone makes mistakes from time to time, but when my name is literally right there and you had to see it to read and respond to me, it feels disrespectful to not take that time. If someone has an email that says Christopher but they sign off as Chris, I always respond to them with Chris.

        An odd mistake here and there, of course we’re all human and mess up. But consistently disregarding the name that’s staring right at you in the email feels rude to me.

        1. Why did I go to library school?*

          Yes, the constantly misspelling when my name is LITERALLY RIGHT THERE baffles me. I worked with someone who, for three years, responded to every single one of my emails where I signed my -y ending name by addressing me as the -ey variant. It wasn’t that big of a deal, but it was eyeroll-inducing and definitely made me question how carefully she was reading said emails.

      5. Tiffany Aching*

        YES about the email. Like it’s RIGHT THERE.
        My name isn’t often misspelled, but I have a two part first name (think Anne Marie or Jo Beth) and the second part is dropped all the time. Like you, context matters — I don’t care if the Starbucks barista puts “Anne” on my cup, but I want people I’m interacting with a lot/knowing for a long time to get it right. Luckily, my boss gets more irritated than I do at people getting my name wrong, so she’ll often correct them before I do!

    14. QA Peon*

      I am SO used to having my name misspelled that I just roll with it now. BUT, my name is also a common nickname for a longer name and I HATE HATE HATE people who assume that they can call be by the longer name. I’ve even had people argue with me about it. I go by the name on my birth certificate and that’s the short version.

    15. nopetopus*

      Agreed. With mine it tends to verge into racism – “but your name’s just not normal! (white) it’s so hard! (it’s not)” So I’ve really appreciated bosses who help cut that kind of thing off at the pass – and I’ve found it helps to form an environment where other microagressions aren’t welcome. I had a colleague who started doing this a few years in when we got a new boss (adding letters in random ways to anglicize my name) and it really coloured my perception of her and highlighted how much my old boss had cared.

      1. American Job Venter*

        Your point about microaggressions is very, very important.

        Ugh, the concept of “normal” names.

    16. AthenaC*

      Either way, I think the answer is that the person who actually wrote in doesn’t have standing to address this other than a quick “Oh hey, have you noticed?” which it sounds like they have already done.

    17. anonymous73*

      I used to mind but it happens so often, I really don’t care anymore. I don’t think it’s a hill worth dying on, especially since the OP isn’t the one who is having heir name spelled incorrectly.

    18. KayDeeAye*

      Alison didn’t say “Nobody ever minds this.” What she said was “She may not even care; people with names with multiple spellings are *often* pretty used to it and *not necessarily* that annoyed.”

      In other words, it varies from person to person, and possibly even from incident to incident.

    19. Alphabet*

      I have an uncommon name that is frequently misspelled and it really bothers me. I feel that it’s unacceptable to repeatedly spell my name wrong- it’s right there in my email address after all! I’ll let one misspelling slide usually since people can be in a hurry or fat finger it but if it becomes an ongoing thing, I will correct them every single time.

    20. STG*

      I agree. I think it’s a bit disrespectful particularly from a coworker that you’ve worked with for years. I would correct them probably the first few times. After that, I would view it as someone not caring enough to make an effort and it would absolutely shape my opinion on that person.

      I could see this verging into issues with racial undertones as well.

      I get that this doesn’t bother some people but it does bother others. It’s important to note that. In this case, it doesn’t sound like it bothers the coworker as far as the OP notes but I don’t think it’s the point. I guarantee the coworker would at least prefer it was done correctly even if there’s little to no annoyance from it.

    21. Elle*

      My husband and I both spell our names unusually. He has never cared at all. We’ve been married decade and my dad still spells his name wrong most of the time. I used to care a lot, but now I’m just interested and amused by the totally wild ways people come up with to spell my fairly traditional if old-fashioned name. Even if the folks at Starbucks ask me how to spell it and I spell it out for them (I don’t bother unless asked) they still get it wrong most of the time. My aunt was married to a man with a very complicated last name and they kept a running list on their fridge of all the different misspellings they’d seen.

      1. QAPeon (formerly HelpDeskPeon)*

        The Chinese restaurant I used to order from got my name so VERY wrong that it actually made a cool new name, which I’ve used ever since for my MMORPG characters!

    22. Jamjari*

      I feel the response needs to consider power dynamics. The employee might truly not mind but they might also say they’re fine to avoid conflict or being considered annoying.
      Another thing to consider, especially if they’re just starting out, is that they become known professionally by the misspelled name, which could be an issue. Right now, it’s just the one coworker but it could spread.
      As someone whose last name is constently mispronounced, it drives me batty even though, in my case, there’s reasons for the mispronunciation that I understand (spelt the same as a common word, not pronounced the same).

    23. JB*

      Nope. Many people don’t mind. If the person who’s name is being misspelled minds, she has to voice that.

      1. allathian*

        Sometimes it’s not that easy, especially if the person whose name’s constantly misspelled or mispronounced is a member of a disadvantaged minority. They may mind, quite a lot, but feel like they don’t have the capital to get it fixed. Besides, people shouldn’t have to fight to get others to spell and pronounce their names correctly.

    24. Green Tea For Me*

      I don’t just have a name that’s commonly misspelled- I lm cons ta rly called by the wrong name in spoken conversation. (Think, my name is Rochelle and I’m frequently get called Rachel). That doesn’t bother me, nor do misspellings. I also try to always make sure I’m spelling peoples names correctly, because I know it does both some people. It’s entirely up to the individual, and I think the key here is that the employee doesn’t care.

      (I’m also 32 and my mom still consistently calls me by the name of the dog we had who died when I was in second grade. So if I was going to have an identity crisis about this I think that would’ve happened long ago.)

      1. nonegiven*

        My grandmother had 4 boys and 3 girls. All the girl’s names started with the same letter. Every time she needed to say one of their names she’d end up cycling through all 3 before she was done.

    25. Jennie/Jenny*

      My name has several possible spellings, and it bothers me when someone whom I’ve known awhile, or see often, misspells my name.

      And misspelling names can have consequences. I was involved in a project once (to evaluate responses to an RFP) that included people from several departments, located in different states, across my large company. Most of the others in the project were people I’d never had any contact with before, but one was someone else in my office. We knew the date range for the evaluation but didn’t have a specific start date.

      One day the other person in my office commented that I’d been really quiet in the project emails that day. I hadn’t seen a single email. Turned out that there was another person in yet another department with the same first & not-common last name as me, but the other person spelled their first name differently. All the emails had gone to them, and neither my colleague nor my boss, who was cc:d, had noticed. (Why the other person hadn’t responded to ask why they were included is beyond me—they had a different role.)

      My colleague forwarded me all the emails and I had to send an awkward email asking everyone to please remove the other person with my name from the project communications and add me instead.

      This is an extreme case, but it’s not always just an inconvenience when someone’s name is misspelled—there can be real consequences.

      1. Cynara cynara*

        I was a contractor and the client wanted to send me to an industry conference because none of their staff could go but it was potentially going to be helpful to my role with the organization. The person who bought my ticket spelled my last name incorrectly (it is frequently confused with let us say, a common archtectural feature). I usually notice this mistake but did not , until I go t to the airport and got all the way to the front of the security line where I was denied entrance to the gate. Luckily it got sorted out but it was incredibly stressful and I came very close to missing the flight.

    26. RabidChild*

      Agreed. I not only have an uncommon spelling to my name (think: Maggy vs. Maggie), it is also just that nickname version (i.e. not Margaret). I particularly hate being called by this longer version, especially when the person is trying to sound mock-stern or something. It’s simply not my name, and it irks me to my soul.

      My third grade nun didn’t think my given name was appropriate or something, and made me use the longer version. When my dad noticed, he gave her quite the talking to (I think–they were speaking in rapid-fire Polish, which I did not understand). It wasn’t until I left that school to go to junior high that we discovered she had changed it on my official school record! My mother had to show my birth certificate to get it changed. This was back in the late 70s–can’t imagine it happening now.

      1. QAPeon (formerly HelpDeskPeon)*

        Happened to me in the 90s too. We got to chatting in history class one day and I said about how annoyed I was that people always assumed I didn’t know my own name and insisted I must be Patricia when that isn’t even on my birth certificate…and I noticed my history teacher quietly erasing my line of her grade book and rewriting it. At least for me it didn’t go any farther!

    27. Beth*

      Agreement here, although not a blanket agreement. Some of the more common misspellings of my name either misgender me or insult me. Neither one is funny, and I’m heartily sick of both.

      This isn’t a case of, for example, Alison vs. Allison, where there are multiple alternates in common use and the words look nearly the same — I think that would feel different.

      My name isn’t hard to spell, either — so when it’s misspelled, and the person won’t accept a correction, it grates. It sends the message that my identity isn’t even important enough for someone to take a microsecond to get it right.

      1. La Triviata*

        My name is easy enough to spell, but it’s a family (last) name that is commonly a man’s name (I’m a woman). I was working at a PR firm and the client contact person I dealt with refused to accept that was my name. She came up with a sort-of similar name that she used for me; it caused some confusion when she started using it, because there was no one with that actual name working in the office. She’d call, ask for me by her name for me and, when told there was no one of that name, she’d say it was the person working for my boss, so the receptionist would transfer the call to me. Eventually, people got used to having me identified with that name, although there was occasional confusion when it slipped their minds.

    28. Close but not quite*

      I have a very simple name – 5 letters 2 syllables for each first and last, no unique spelling or pronunciation. However both names have 2 common spellings and I have the less common of both. I have an internal interview today and my last name is spelt incorrectly in the subject. The recruiter has my resume with my name in the document title attached to the meeting maker and when they typed my name to set up the meeting it comes up as just my name – not xxxx@company.com. Even with two correct spellings right in front of them, one name is wrong. I don’t usually correct anyone unless it’s legal or a published document. It’s annoying but since I have the less common spellings I have long learned to accept that I can’t make someone spell it correctly since they likely aren’t doing it on purpose or out of some malice. Some people will likely not see your concern as you clearly know who they mean. Having this exact issue, I agree with the response above – it may bug you more than your employee as she has probably had to deal with it all her life.

      When someone ask my name to write it down/type it in – I always start spelling it. It’s just easier for them. It also has made me conscious of other people’s names and I make that small effort to spell and pronounce them correctly.

    29. One "n" not two "nn's"*

      Frequently misspelled name here. It bothers me A LOT and in fact makes me think less of a person if they keep getting it wrong.

      1. Caitlyn*

        Me too. I think my name (Caitlyn) was used in the example since it’s a name with soooo many different spellings. I definitely give people grace at first, but when my name is listed RIGHT THERE, I definitely get frustrated.

        The spelling of my name is a part of my name and (even though it’s silly) part of my identity. I went to school with dozens and dozens of Caitlin’s/Caitlyn’s/Kaitlin’s/etc. I have a certain association of Kaitlyn’s that start with a “K” and Caitlin’s with an “-in” instead of a “-yn” – and don’t even get me started on “KATElyns”! Totally different name.

        /literally only Caitlyn problems

        1. Mx*

          My given name is Caitlyn too (the “right way” :P) and for the most part I just spell my name after I give it on the phone since they’re gonna ask anyway. For food pickup I don’t specify. Sometimes it bothers me when people spell it wrong, like the person who make schedules at work, but often it doesn’t, since I’m not totally attached to it. Some of my long-term friends have trouble, which I genuinely find funny.

          I looked it up briefly and there’s anywhere from 135 to 660 ways to spell it, depending on source. Yikes! No wonder people have trouble haha

      2. Alternative Person*

        Same. It’s in my e-mail, it’s not hard.

        My poor parents actually regret my name (as much as they like it) because of all the trouble I’ve had over the years. I like to think I do get a small benefit by the fact it’s a gender neutral name.

        Also, shout out to the people who use the short form with me without asking. It’s the full form, without exception.

    30. tangerineRose*

      I’m used to people misspelling my name, but I don’t like it. Not a big deal really, but it is annoying. What’s especially funny was when my e-mail address included my first and last name, and people still got it wrong.

      1. Greg*

        “I’m used to people misspelling my name, but I don’t like it. Not a big deal really, but it is annoying. What’s especially funny was when my e-mail address included my first and last name, and people still got it wrong.”

        YES! I have a cousin who constantly misspells my name, even as she’s responding to an email from me. I really do think in those cases, there’s some kind of a psychological block. My old roommate was dating a woman named Vanda, and even though I knew that, I would still sometimes call her “Wanda” for some reason. It would just slip out.

        That also may be going on with the OP’s coworker, which might explain why they only started misspelling it recently. Like something happened that caused the alternate spelling to get lodged in her brain.

    31. Ginny Weasley*

      I have a last name that can be a first name/biblical name, but is also commonly misspelled, especially because the misspelling becomes a real word (Abel –> able.) I work with children, so I am so used to it that it doesn’t bother me anymore. When someone I have known for a long time spells it wrong (or a fellow teacher instead of student), while I’m not particularly bothered by it, I do wonder how they can know me for so long and still get it wrong! For me it reflects more how I feel about them/their observation skills more than bothers me or makes me feel uncomfortable.

    32. Jayn*

      I would also be bothered by it, but might not think it worth addressing. I’m just so tired of the issue (and have been since high school) that I usually let it slide. I’d like for my name to be just a name and not “how do you say that? Oh that’s a pretty name” but short of moving to Quebec I don’t see that happening. So I just let it be rather than waste energy when ‘close enough’ works.

    33. Greg*

      I think it really depends. For some reason, it drives me crazy when people spell my name “Gregg” or “Gregory” (it literally says “Greg” on my birth certificate). On the other hand, my wife has a non-traditional spelling of her name that people get wrong all the time, and she doesn’t even bother correcting them.

      So if I were the coworker, I would want my boss to speak up (although I would probably do it myself). But if my wife were the coworker, it wouldn’t be worth saying anything. Only way for the OP to find out is to ask her coworker. (And I also agree that, if she’s from a historically marginalized group, it might be worth being a little more proactive.)

    34. Katt*

      My name is frequently misspelled by French speakers because my version of my name doesn’t really exist in French. It doesn’t bother me too much, but, and I would never say this, my name is literally right there in the To: line of Outlook… They had to type it in to send me the email, or presumably they looked at it when my email came in or else they wouldn’t know who I was. I don’t really understand the argument of that they might not realize what my actual name is because my name will be both in the from line and my signature block!

    35. Sara without an H*

      Xenia, you may be right, BUT…I would strongly recommend that OP#4 check in with the employee before making a case out of this. It would be embarrassing to go all in on this and find that “Kaitlin” doesn’t give a whoop.

      And as you can probably tell from my user name…yes, this is a real issue in my life. But I decided long ago that it wasn’t worth getting excited about.

      (Full disclosure: I do check and make sure my name is correctly spelled on anything official.)

    36. singlemaltgirl*

      agreed. i have an unusual name. 5 letters. it’s there in the email. it pops up when you are sending me an email. i have staff who still get it wrong. i take great pains to ensure i spell their names correctly, don’t shorten them, etc. and i’m the one who does the hiring so often they’re not in our system yet so i have to check their resume to ensure i get first and last name correct. it’s particularly bothersome when their introducing me to other folks on email. i’m polite about correcting the spelling of my name in my responses but it shows laziness and a certain…i don’t know. obviously, minor irritation.

      pronunciation, i don’t get bothered about. i know people struggle with it, so i tend to help them out when i can see their anxiety about it. and if it’s ‘close enough’ i don’t do any corrections. why bother? but i’m also a woman of colour. i think we’re just used to code switching and i find this is one of those things. it’s not a hard to pronounce name. but it’s not a mary or jennifer.

    37. Database Developer Dude*

      I don’t have an odd name. I also go by my initials (first and middle). An example would be a Robert Joseph going by R.J.

      I’ve had colleagues in the past, working with me for an entire year or more, and still call me the wrong name. Someone’s name is their name, and repeated misspellings after being corrected shows you have no basic respect for that person. It’s rude AF. If you’re a co-worker and you do this to me, I’m going to distance myself from you. Get someone’s name correct.

  4. Astrid*

    #3: Years ago, before transferring firms, I went on a weeklong Rollerblading trip. Everything was fine until my last day. I didn’t realize that a dip in a driveway cutout was filled with sand, which sent me skittering face-first across the pavement. I had superficial cuts and bruises but it looked like I went 10 rounds with a prize fighter (or I was in an abusive relationship). It was very embarrassing to be introduced to everyone in the firm a few days later, but they were understanding. Even worse, there was no way to avoid having my building ID photo taken, so I had a daily reminder of my accident for the eight years I worked there.

    1. allathian*

      Lesson learned, don’t do any risky activities just before you start a new job. Of course, that doesn’t help if you’re hit by a car or by an abusive spouse or whatever, but I guess it’d be prudent to avoid taking unnecessary risks.

      1. Sleet Feet*

        Lesson learned? Are you serious?

        You don’t owe your employer avoiding fun activities that can result in scrapes and bruises. Yet alone before you are even working for them. What if you cancelled a planned blading weekend only for them to pull the offer? It happens all the time.

        The only lesson I got from this story is that Astrid’s employer were buerocratic jerks for not letting her update her photo.

        1. allathian*

          Fair point about the photo! I still think it would be prudent to avoid taking unnecessary risks on the weekend before you’re starting a new job, but then I’m extremely risk averse. I never do anything more physically risky than ride a bike in city traffic (with a helmet).

            1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

              That’s for the US and I don’t think allathian is in the US.
              Down my end of Paris, it’s perfectly safe to ride a bicycle because there are bike lanes literally in every direction I ever go.
              And cycling is only dangerous because there are too many cars. Once cars are in the minority again, and more people start cycling, it will be increasingly safer.

          1. Ancient Llama*

            I hate to say I disagree about how risky bike riding is, and I have evidence I actually came in to say for the LW 3 but this seems like the perfect spot: The weekend before I started a new job, I was riding on a flat golf-course driveway (so a 1/2 mile long straight stretch) with helmet on, no traffic. We don’t know what happened (I think a squirrel tried to run between my tires, it has happened before) but next thing I know I am flying through the air. Even with helmet my face was scrapped a lot (I still have small scars on one side). So bike riding is not “risk adverse” even with the helmet.
            The job was remote (this was like 2015 and I lived 3 hrs from the home office but there were 5 offices and about 10% of the staff were “elsewhere.”) I went into the home office for my first day (where I had to stay at a hotel for that week, this comes up later) and laughed along with the comments of shock, commiseration, amusement, etc. Slightly embarrassed but I knew they were all fine.
            Fast forward about a year, I am checking into that same hotel again and there are 2 reps behind the counter. The one practically yells “you’re her!” and turns to his colleague (another guy) to say how he had been working there the previous summer too (away at college since then) and I came in all scarred up, and how I was a MESS! The colleague was trying to shush him for calling out a guest on how bad she looked, but I knew he was clearly saying it was a big bunch of scarring and you would not believe that looking at me “today.” I laughed hard.
            So LW3, go ahead and go in – you got the job for your abilitities. Temporary or permanent, looks should not affect treatment (sorry it does for many, this is a good chance to remember we should all treat each other with dignity and respect).

        2. doreen*

          I sure don’t owe it to my employer to avoid fun activities that result in scrapes and bruises – but I know myself, and know that I would be extremely uncomfortable even leaving my house with my face bruised and cut up. It would be much worse to start a new job – so, yeah, I avoided activities that might have gotten my face bruised or cut before starting a new job.

      2. Cynara cynara*

        I suspect that rollerblading isn’t particularly risky. Where I live the number one cause of accidental death is from falls – falling off a ladder, falling on a sidewalk, etc., very mundane stuff. Maybe falls from rollerblading are included in there! I don’t know, but point is that a lot of accidents that happen are true accidents, not the result of activity that is has higher-than-usual risk. Don’t even get me started on how risky it is to be in a moving car, which most people find completely acceptable.

        I burned my finger baking the morning before I started a new job and had a giant bandage on my hand – it was fantastically awkward to have to opt out of shaking hands with all the new folks I was meeting and explaining that yes, I was distracted when I started to pull a meal out of the oven and forgot to put on an oven mitt before grabbing the cast iron pan.

        1. allathian*

          Yeah, that as well.

          Accidents happen, it’s just a matter of personal risk analysis to determine which risks you’re willing to take and which you aren’t.

      1. Sparkles McFadden*

        Some places are weirdly rigid about ID pictures. They don’t want to make exceptions lest they end up retaking photos for people who don’t like how their ID picture looks.

        But, in this case, you’d think they’d make an exception since the person would be more recognizable with a new picture. Might be a “rules are rules” kind of place.

        1. NotRealAnonForThis*

          I will state that Big University (I worked in a support department) made an exception for me when I had some serious stitches and bruising around my eye on “photo ID update day”. As in, “Okay, we’re taking your picture today for your ID today, but we’re setting up an appointment for a re-take 3 months from now too, please let us know if you’re still dealing with after effects and we’ll move it”.

          Honestly my department was pretty cool.

    2. Zona the Great*

      I think I need to know more about a weeklong rollerblading trip. Did you travel great distances on blades? Was there a tour guide? This reminds me of the guy on rollerblades in Caroline in the City. Did you buy a special pair of blades? Did you ever attempt to wear your blades while you rode a bike? Serious serious queries!!!

    3. Tirv*

      Lol reminds me of my first day at a new job. I decided to have a tiny growth removed from my eyelid the day before which resulted in a big black eye. I felt the need to explain the cause of the shiner to everyone I met ( as I could see the wheels spinning in their minds when they saw it). I also had to have my employee ID photo taken that first day.

  5. GovSysadmin*

    OP #1:
    Just to throw this out there, but unless your concern about inviting your other coworkers is about capacity or having too many people over, you might want to consider extending them an invite if you are inviting your other coworkers. As one of those folks who is getting into middle age, but wants to believe I’m still hip and with it, if I got an invite to something like that, it would make me feel positive towards you as someone who is reaching out to everyone, even if I (most likely) would decline the invite, or possibly just stop by for a short while. And I have to say, I’m also more likely to bring a housewarming gift now than I probably would have been in my twenties. :)

    1. RT*

      Yeah, I kind of disagree with the advice from AAM because this is nearly half the office we’re talking about. I mean not that anyone would feel like you’re acting like a high school clique excluding your older coworkers but they might appreciate an invite.

      1. Lance*

        Even if it’s half the total office, though, it sounds like it’s all the junior (role-wise) members that are being invited, not the more senior members (who, from the sound of things, are somewhere directly above OP and the co-workers in terms of hierarchy). In that case, I don’t really see an issue with it even based on number spread.

        1. Gerry Keay*

          Yup, I think the fact that they’re all junior staff is hugely significant here — more-so than the age similarities. Very very normal for folks within the same hierarchical band to have more camaraderie.

    2. Rachel*

      As someone who is probably pretty similar to you in age (and wants to believe I am hip too, lol), I would still advise OP#1 to not invite older colleagues unless you have a diverse age group attending as is. It changes the vibe of your party from all just-out-of-college peers to…something else.

      You have a pretty clear division as it is to only be inviting people at your level and not have to deal with the awkwardness of everyone’s bosses being at the party, so I agree with Alison that this is an easy one.

      1. allathian*

        Yeah, me too. Of course, it might be politic not to discuss the party much at the office either before or after. I totally understand why the LW is reluctant to invite the older employees and their manager. Let’s not forget that it’s also the roommate’s party, and I can imagine that the roommate and their friends might feel awkward if the LW’s manager comes to the party.

        That said, it could also be invaluable to cultivate good, friendly, professional relationships with the older employees at work. (I don’t think that it’s ever appropriate for a manager to be actual friends rather than just friendly with their reports for as long as they’re in the same chain of command.)

        1. Elenna*

          Yeah, don’t spend a ton of time talking up how fun the party will be, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to just invite all the people at the same level as OP but not other levels.

      2. Tuesday*

        Yes, if one of the older people accepted the invitation, they might be surprised to find only twentysomethings there and feel awkward. I think implicit in a party invitation is the message that this is an event I think you’ll enjoy, feel comfortable at, etc. I say only invite the young people.

        1. MK*

          But you don’t really know what other people might enjoy, and it’s pretty presumptuous to basically say that older people can’t like an informal party with loud music. If you would like them to come, make sure to tell them what kind of party it will be and let them decide. In this case, I don’t think the OP really wants a closer relationship with these people, so best to leave it alone. If I took anything from the Bad Art Friend Saga, it’s that we need to cultivate the art of being polite acquaintances.

          1. ecnaseener*

            Right, you DON’T know what they might enjoy. If you don’t know someone well enough to have a sense of whether they’d enjoy a party full of people much younger than them, you don’t know them well enough to invite them to that party.

            1. MK*

              No, not necessarily. Who says you have to know someone well to invite them to a party? How well is good enough? The level of acquaintance that is required to invite someone to a party is not objective, and many people keep more open houses than others and invite everyone. And inviting people to do stuff with you is how you do get to know them.

              1. ecnaseener*

                What I’m picturing from the question is a fairly sizeable house party, where the host will not necessarily be able to spend much time with any individual guest or notice if a guest is uncomfortable.

          2. JB*

            I don’t think anyone’s saying older people won’t like an informal party with loud music. As someone in my 30’s, if I were invited by my coworker to a party and everyone else there were close friends of the coworker in their early 20’s, I would probably feel out of place and odd.

            1. alienor*

              Yeah, I think it’s less to do with the type of party or the coworkers’ age, and more that the LW wants to invite *their friends* who also happen to be their age. I’m in my late 40s and I would go to an informal party with loud music if it were my own friend group (and I do still know people my age who have parties like that) but I wouldn’t go even to the most “grown-up” party if everyone else there were friends except me.

              1. allathian*

                Yeah, this. And like I said before, the LW is co-hosting the party with their roommate, so the roommate’s feelings should also count for something.

            2. Denver Gutierrez*

              In my 40s and would feel the same way. I have no problem with informal or loud music. But I would feel too awkward being the oldest person there, especially if everyone else was young enough to be my children! People in their 20s and those in their 40s are in entirely different life stages. I could see myself doing small outings like getting coffee with younger coworkers, but not going to their parties or tagging along to the bar with them. Unless the group included other coworkers of varying ages. When I was in my 20s, my coworkers and I often went to bars and restaurants. We varied in age from late teens to middle-aged and it was always fun.

        2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

          Yep. You come in on your Saturday night, your younger coworkers are there playing beer pong (real scene from a real coworker party I’ve been to), and you are standing there like ? And the odds are high that you didn’t really want to go to begin with, but figured that you had to, and it would be rude to the coworker who invited you if you hadn’t. OP, if you are friends with three other people, have chats about personal stuff, and do things together, then to me it is okay to just invite the three people. You do not have to invite the whole class. I’ve had coworker housewarmings happen in my workplaces that I found out about after the fact, and was grateful that they’d saved me a 50 mile round trip on a Saturday night. I also had someone ask “are you coming to (coworker) party?” and the person then felt bad when I replied with “what party?” But I barely knew the person and did not want to drive across town to their party anyway!

        3. Alexis Rosay*

          I’ve been in the position of the person in their 30s who accepted a party invite only to find out it was not aimed at my age group. LOL. It was a bunch of very recent grads hanging out playing video games. My husband loves classic video games so he ended up getting really into it but I personally felt pretty awkward. I’m honestly not sure where I come down on this still though—it was sweet of the recent grad to invite me but I don’t know if it made things more awkward for them when I came.

          1. MK*

            Personally I try to give some idea of what kind of party/event/gathering it is when I invite people. And I sometimes ask follow up questions when I am invited somewhere and not told what it’s about.

            1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

              That one time when I decided to host a (department-sponsored – had it cleared with my boss) work holiday party at my house, had an artistically inclined friend make a flyer with the invite, and sent it to the whole department of 50+ people without looking at it first. Then was surprised to receive a few snarkily declining emails. One person in particular almost sounded offended, and I was puzzled. Who gets offended by an invitation to a work party? Looked at the flyer I’d sent out – instead of there being any mention of it being a work party for the whole department, the flyer said, in bright letters on top, “A special party for special people!” which muddied the waters even more on what kind of event I was even trying to host there.

      3. LTR/FTP*

        Hahah Rachel is on point here. I had a party in my 20s and invited a whole bunch of work people… as the party was getting going, much to my dismay, a personal friend of mine announced very loudly DOES ANYBODY HERE WANT TO SMOKE SOME MARIJUANA???? and I just about wanted to die… until I saw all of my coworkers following him outside to partake… but that could have gone in a totally different direction since it was the 90s and it was definitely not legal then!

      4. Jack Straw*

        Speaking as a 40-something who has both 1. worked in a small office with the dynamics you describe (2 senior people, 8 junior people with ages ranging form 21 to 67), and 2. actually has very close friend in their 20s–hard agree with Rachel on this.
        Unless your party will be a diverse age range, leave the older folks out of it. And TBH even if it WAS a diverse age range and you were inviting your parents, it’s okay to leave them out not because they’re older, but because you just aren’t as close of friends with them.

        In our small office, there was a close pair (Ang and Allison), a group of people ages 22-45 who ate together and sometimes did stuff together on the weekends (Ang, Allison, plus Jack, Jen, and Megan), and then the whole group (add on the 55+ group of Tom, Bev, and Kathy). The two bosses only joined in if it was a holiday lunch or someone ‘s birthday.

        We all did things in variations of those groups. It was fine. Tom, Bev, and Kathy sometimes joined the lunch crowd, and sometimes didn’t. Like Alison says, it’s if you are leaving one person out where it’s weird.

    3. MK*

      I don’t think it’s a problem to have work friends with whom you are closer than the rest of your coworkers, provided you are vigilant about not letting it bleed into your work interactions (not always an easy thing). For myself, I wouldn’t think twice if the OP only invited the 3 people she usually has lunch with, it’s her work friend group. But I wish people would quit the whole “Oh, I didn’t invite you because I didn’t think you would enjoy it” shtick. OP, if your older coworkers wouldn’t like to attend, they will make an excuse like grown-ups. You aren’t inviting them because you don’t really want them there, not to spare them having to refuse the invitation.

      I had a version of this happen to me, only with partnered people vs. singles. We were a small, fairly close workplace, we socialized a lot but not pitied of work. And then I found out that the partnered coworkers were socializing on the weekends together with their S.O.s. I did feel a bit weird, but no one owes me a closer friendship, so I shrugged it off. What really left a bitter taste in my mouth was a couple of the partnered coworkers trying to smooth my (mostly unruffled) feathers, by implying the out-of-work socializing meant nothing and we were all equally close (no, we are not as close as you are with those you see each other every weekend and visit eachothers’ houses), that they didn’t think I would enjoy the activities, which sometimes involved their kids (I like kids, I have an army of nieces and nephews and I have probably attended more children’s parties that you have, and also a good way to find out if I would like to do something is to ask me), that they thought single people didn’t like going out with couples (I don’t even know with that one).

      Sorry for the rant. It was a bizarre situation because the original issue was really a non-issue, until people tried to solve something that wasn’t a problem. My point is, you are allowed work friends, but don’t try to bullshit people about it.

      1. Overseas worker*

        Hah! The whole single vs. partnered people dynamic drives me crazy. I got married late, and while my close friends just invited me and let me decide if I cared, the larger world making this a Big Deal got SO old sometimes.

      2. Hex Libris*

        Some people watch too many sitcoms. “Everyone knows single people and partnered people have NOTHING in common!”

      3. alienor*

        It’s always weird when I hear about couples I know hanging out together. Not because I expect them to invite me to everything or would even have wanted to go, but the reminder that there’s a couples’ world I don’t belong to anymore gives me some sort of feeling, even after years. (I got married quite young and didn’t realize how much socializing revolves around couples until I stopped being part of one.) However, I’ll take just not being invited over being told that I should start dating someone so I *can* be invited, which is a real thing that has happened more than once.

        1. Persephone Mulberry*

          I was once basically instructed to find a plus-one for a new year’s eve dinner party because everyone else invited was part of a couple and the host didn’t want it to be awkward for me to be the only single person there. I said that if my single person-ness was that uncomfortable for THEM, then I would just save them the trouble and not attend. They tried to backpedal but that friendship has never been quite the same.

      4. allathian*

        Yeah, that’s a really weird dynamic. I’m just grateful that I’ve always fit in with my friend group regardless of my relationship status. Most of us are partnered, but you better believe we’re welcoming to the single people in our circle as well.

      1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        Came to say this. There’s a time and a place for OP to get to know their older teammates and to find out if they maybe have more in common than OP had initially thought. But that time and place are a happy hour or another work-related activity. Not OP’s personal party at OP’s home!

    4. L.H. Puttgrass*

      Yes. As a borderline oldster myself (I won’t say which border), I know I’d appreciate an invitation. Even if I’d politely decline, it’s still nice to be asked. Besides, you never know—I might be into inebriated rollerblade karaoke (or whatever 20-somethings are into these days. I dunno; I’m old-ish!).

    5. Daisy-dog*

      From reading these comments, I now feel like I am the only one who feels obligated to go to something when I get invited by certain people. This is *not* all invitations, but it would apply to a co-worker in such a small office. (Other examples: old friends who I don’t see often and my sisters-in-law. The obligation would not apply if I did have plans already.)

      1. JB*

        Yeah, a coworker has invited me to a housewarming before and I definitely felt obligated to at least make an appearance.

        1. Daisy-dog*

          Lol, good. I likely wouldn’t have a bad time, but it may not be what I prefer to do on that particular Friday/Saturday night.

    6. Junior Assistant Peon*

      My own experience is that being in your 30s and 40s, when half your peers are married with kids and half aren’t, is like a repeat of that awkward middle school age where half your peers are into Barbie or GI Joe and half your peers are into dating. I don’t have kids, and I feel like I have more in common with a recent college grad half my age than I do with a peer whose social activities are all child-friendly stuff. If you invite everyone to your party, the married people with kids will self-select out pretty quickly.

      1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        And then in your 40s, people start getting divorced and children start graduating school and leaving home, and all of a sudden, you’re into Barbies and GI Joes again! I would not know what to talk about to a married couple with young children at this point in my life (Unless they are my old friends and we have common interests outside of whatever life stages we’re in.) I vaguely remember being there? but not well enough to really contribute to a conversation. Life is wild.

        Early in my single life, I was invited to a ladies’ brunch, where I was ten years older than everyone else, and also the only single woman at the table. Everyone else talked about how difficult their partners were to live with, and what to do to coax them into proposing. (I have no rational explanation for these two topics being discussed together by the same people, about the same people.) I don’t remember saying a single word, and I’m usually quite talkative. I could’ve talked about dogs or teenage kids, but no one else had any, so I just sat there nodding in (hopefully) the right places. I was not invited to any subsequent lady brunches. It was a relief, lol.

    7. PhyllisB*

      I agree on being open to friendships with people of different ages/life stages. I worked in another city for a number of years and I made some very warm friendships with older women with children. (I was young and childless in those days.) I have always been of the opinion that we should have friends older than us (hard for me to find nowdays considering I’m 70!!) some younger and some about our own age. It keeps us from getting stagnant.

    8. RebelwithMouseyHair*

      I’d be chuffed to be invited, but I’m pretty sure I’d just swing by early on with another oldie colleague, and announce that I’m just staying for one drink because I’m off somewhere else afterwards. If the music’s too loud and 21st century, I very much wouldn’t want to stay any longer than that.

      I do want to reiterate Alison’s suggestion of being friendly with older folks. I was very much the oldest at my previous workplace, same age as some of their mothers in fact, but we got on really well together, went out for drinks after work and invited each other to our birthday parties. I miss them terribly now!

  6. WoodswomanWrites*

    #1, Alison’s comment about being open to connections with older co-workers is spot on. I used to work with a woman in her early 20s when I was in my 40s, and we became friends. Nearly 20 years later, we are still close. We communicate regularly despite living far apart and get together in person when we can. Having multi-generational friends definitely makes my life richer.

    1. Fran Fine*

      I always had older friends at work and rarely had work friends my own age, lol. That’s still the case at 34. I’m a homebody by nature so wasn’t really up for all the weekend (and sometimes weeknight) partying my peers would do, and I just had a lot more common interests with my older colleagues (e.g., attending the opera and symphony, murder mystery dinners, antiquing, etc.).

    2. a sound engineer*

      This. Not to mention that my older coworkers have been in this career path roughly since I was born, and there is an incredible amount that I can learn from them, about the profession we’re in and life in general.

    3. allathian*

      Yeah, absolutely. I’m in my late 40s, and while I’m really not big on spending my limited free time with my coworkers (and would probably not attend a party like the one the LW is planning), I really appreciate the relationships I’ve built with my coworkers, regardless of age. Some of them are in their 60s, others in their 20s, and everything in between.

      That said, I’m afraid that all of my really close friends are pretty much the same age and/or life stage as I am. Some are a few years older, others a few years younger, but that’s mainly because I’m introverted to the point that I don’t have the energy to maintain more than 5 or 6 close friendships at a time. But I put effort into my friendships because I value them, so they tend to last.

    4. Rosie*

      Definitely agree – I’m 30 and one of my good friends is in her 80s, and I like to think we both bring something interesting to each other’s lives!

    5. Anna Badger*

      I owe so much of surviving my 20s workplaces to friendship with older colleagues. from the contractor who said “this place has deeply weird norms and they do not see your potential, please get out” to the co-conspirators who set up informational interviews with their contacts from old jobs and reviewed my CVs on the sly to the ones who fed me cups of tea and gave me a sense of perspective.

      friendship with older colleagues also really helps you figure out your unique work strengths, because the areas where you’re adding value and insight to someone who has been in a business for a decade or three are the areas where you are doing your most original and unique thinking.

    6. Born to Rune*

      I, at 27, have recently made a friend who is 50 years older than me. I enjoy his company in a different way from that of friends closer to my own age which I think is a lovely thing!

    7. Janet Pinkerton*

      Yes this! One of my dearest work friends is…35 years older than I am, and she’s just great. It’s funny how when you’re a kid or just out of school, one year age difference can mean you’re too far apart in age to really click, but when you’re an adult it can utterly not matter.

      1. EngineerMom*

        I think it’s totally fine to not invite the old people at work but I fifth there being a possibility of friendships. I am 45 with 4 children toddler to teen and my best work friend is 26. We met at her first job out of school though she proceeded me here by 18 months. We have not much outside of work in common but she showed me the ropes at this weird place and I can explain to her many industry related work functions she hasn’t been exposed to.

    8. Stacy*

      I agree! I’m 36 and have a good amount of work friends in their 50s and in their early 20s. I’ve also observed a lot of my older coworkers brush off getting to know young coworkers because they think they won’t have anything in common. The benefits of multi-generational friends goes both ways! *as seen in Only Murders in the Building

    9. Tessie Mae*

      Agreed! Not a work situation, but I belong to a local sorority alumnae group whose members range from “senior women” to recent college grads, and I have developed close friendships with women who are around the age of my young adult kids. Yes, this has made my life richer, and has broadened my perspectives beyond those of my generation. I don’t want to say that these friendships keep me young (I dislike that phrasing), but they definitely keep me out of the mindset of “those young ‘uns don’t know nuthin.”

      1. Tessie Mae*

        I forgot to mention the close friendships also with women the age of my parents! Great life experiences to share and learn from.

    10. Nonprofit writer*

      Agreed! I think it’s fine to only invite the 20-something colleagues to the party. But I will say that my closest friends from my old job (I was there for 9 years & I’m now a consultant) are all in their 60s, while I’m in my 40s. Two of the three were my bosses at one point but then we transitioned to friendship after I moved to a different department. All of them have been mentors to me in different ways over the years but I would also say we have a genuine friendship now due to common interests, etc. It’s a great thing!

    11. Dust Bunny*

      Yeah, I have tons of friends who are a generation or more older than I am, and have since . . . forever, really. And I guess now I have friends who are a generation younger? There are things to have in common other than major life milestones. A lot of mine are through hobby groups where age isn’t that big a deal since everyone shares the same interest, and it’s not uncommon for younger people to have been participating longer than older ones.

    12. catbowl*

      I am the younger person in a similar dynamic! And frankly, to emphasize the point that you shouldn’t write off someone just because they’re in a different phase of life, that older colleague and I had pretty much nothing pointing to friendship on the surface – no obviously shared hobbies, different genders, different backgrounds, etc – but we worked so well together that a warm friendship formed that outlasted our time working together. I still consider them one of my best work-friends, and will still go to them for advice when I’m in a “is this normal?” questions as well as “omg look at this funny meme” missives.

    13. Elle Woods*

      Exactly. At my first job out of college, I became friends with a woman in her late 40s. Now, 25 years later she’s still one of my dear friends and I can’t imagine life without her. Even though we’ve not been able to get together much the past two years, we still call one another every few weeks to catch up. Our friendship has definitely enriched my life.

    14. None*

      I couldn’t agree more. I’m a 20 something and I literally have friends of all ages. Work, neighbors, drinking buddies. As long as you’re a good person, I could careless on age. I have taken so much from my friendships with older generations in all aspects of my life.

  7. indubitably*

    #2, my only caveat is, if you’re going to discuss something that’s confidential or sensitive in any way, then starting with just “hi, got a quick question” can be helpful.

    If you jump right to, “Any news on the merger?” and it turns out the other person is in the middle of presenting/screensharing in a roomful/Zoomful of people who didn’t know about the merger, the indiscreet comment could reflect badly on you both.

    Ditto for personal questions, griping, etc.

    For most work-related, non-confidential messages, I agree it’s good to get right to the point.

    1. Anna Badger*

      I think for this it’s more useful to say something like, hi, please let me know when you’ve got five minutes + some indication of urgency level, so they aren’t left hanging for the rest of the message

        1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

          …people don’t always have a clear idea of what an emergency is. I spoke to a young mother the other day, she was very diffident, clearly in a “don’t want to bother you” mindset and I almost told her I was busy and come back tomorrow. But then I just asked offhand what her problem was, so that I could prepare something for her the next day, and it turned out her newborn baby was losing weight. Oops no, that can’t wait for tomorrow!

    2. I'm just here for the cats!*

      I think that would be more on the person presenting. In all of the chats that I’ve used for work you can turn off chats during a presentation.

    3. ecnaseener*

      Yes, and the related – don’t send a team-wide message complaining about the IT person whom you know is working on your coworker’s computer at that very moment.

    4. Anon for Now*

      Yeah, I think saying, “I have a quick question” is still telling people what you want, so that’s fine in a way that “hi” is not.

      1. tangerineRose*

        In my experience, a quick question might be asked quickly, but that has no bearing on how long it takes to answer it. It can be a yes/no that can be answered quickly or something that takes a long time and a lot of effort. I kind of hate it when people say they have a quick question. Just ask the question.

        1. Gerry Keay*

          Yeah, I’ve gotten sales/pitch training that explicitly says to never call questions “quick” because it’s so subjective and can feel presumptuous, for all the reasons you mention above. I have seen “please don’t spend more than 5 minutes thinking about this!” as an indicator for “low prio, only info off the top of your head,” and I like that much more.

    5. AthenaC*

      Yup – back in the day, it was standard practice to begin Skype messages with “hi” and then make whatever you want the next message. In our line of work the other person is likely to be sitting with a client so you don’t want to share confidential information by putting what you need in the first message.

      Kinda hilarious that there are apparently so many people in the thread above that decided a standard practice like that is basically unconscionable!

      1. Kyrielle*

        For me, the problem is “hi” not followed by anything else – ie, the coworker waits to get a “hi” back before adding anything more. Two separate messages sent close together, or just a quick “Hi, let me know when you have 5-10 minutes for a question about X” or “Hi, got a quick question when you have a moment free” or the like – or the whole question if it’s not sensitive – is all fine. Send it as one message or two, still fine. Just don’t wait for the response to the “hi” before sending anything else.

      2. Nanani*

        I think you’re missing the point.
        Nobody is saying “hi” is rude, and it doesn’t really matter whether it’s a separate line or not.
        It matters that you -tell them what you want- so that they can figure out if they have time to respond as soon as they see it, or should wait until they have a clear block of time for a longer conversation, or whatever.

        “Hi”
        “I have a quick question”
        is fine.

        “Hi – do you have time to discuss X” is also fine

        “Hi”
        by itself is not fine. People are not chatbots, we need to budget time and attention.

        If you really can’t tell people what you want without spilling confidential details, I don’t know what to tell you.

      3. tangerineRose*

        It probably depends what you IM about. In my work, we usually aren’t IM’ing anything sensitive, so not a big deal.

        It’s not that I think “Hi” by itself is rude exactly, but I’m busy working. Every IM message distracts me from what I’m doing, and I’m trying to get things done, so I appreciate it when the “hi” and the question are all in 1 IM message.

    6. Nanani*

      The point isnt “Hi” is rude. “Hi” isn’t rude.
      It’s JUST Hi, with no indication of what you want that is rude.
      So in your example, “Hi, got a quick question” is perfectly fine – it has the content that is needed for the other person to know whether they can take the time to text you back quickly or whether they should wait until they have more time available.

      Like getting a voicemail that says just “call me back” without mentioning whether they just want to catch up or actually have urgent things to discuss. It doesn’t matter if they said a polite greeting at the start, it matters that they didn’t tell you what they want and that you therefore can’t know whether you even want to call them back and how much time to budget for it.

  8. Bowserkitty*

    #1’s summary title was mildly confusing. I had no idea why they wanted to socialize in the OP’s small office! Like, is there no break room?

    Then I got it. lol

    1. Daisy-dog*

      Same! I thought it was extra clique-y in that case (like trying to be secretive, so no one else would see).

  9. indubitably*

    LW 3, if your injuries are preventing you from being able to speak, send your new manager an email and definitely mention that fact. Onboarding often involves a lot of communication. Maybe delaying your start date will work for both parties — if not, maybe a small whiteboard would enable you to ask questions during training sessions, etc.

    1. Teekanne aus Schokolade*

      Came to say the same plus assuming you’re on painkillers what will you do if they wear off during the day/you need to drive?∆

      1. Yvette*

        Not to mention that, if you need any prescription painkillers, they may cause some “loopy” (for lack of a better word) behavior.

    2. Chidi-Janet & The Tarantula Squids*

      Yes! All the introductions and smiling hello and stuff. Much better to wait a couple of days if possible.

      1. Cordelia*

        also, the first week is a lot of new info to take on, and if you’re in pain/medicated/ finding it hard to talk – or worrying about any of these things, or about the impression you are giving – you might end up having to repeat much of the week anyway (speaking from a similar but not identical experience of having started a new job too soon after surgery…) I’d let your new manager know whats happened, and ask to push back the start date if you can.

    3. randocommenter*

      I can’t be the only person here suddenly reminded of the projector scene in the Hush episode of Buffy….

    4. Attractive Nuisance*

      Yes, I’m surprised Allison didn’t focus on that in her answer! I think the wording she gave makes it sound like LW is just embarrassed about coming to work with an injury. But it sounds like LW might be physically incapable to work on Monday and that’s definitely something she should discuss in clear terms with her new boss ASAP.

      1. TwoFace*

        I’m the letter writer and both embarrassed and incapable! I was getting anxious and ended up emailing my new employer using almost the same verbiage as Alison suggested.
        Me pushing back my start date was a non-issue. They are just happy I’m okay and joining the team. Receiving that feedback/reaction from them has made me feel even better about taking a job with them. I’m still going to look pretty banged up when I start, but at least they know what to expect. Also, wear your seatbelt! It can be the difference between some facial bruising and stitches and death!

    5. Elenna*

      Yeah, I was coming down to say the same thing. If there’s a chance you still won’t be able to speak on Monday, that definitely has to go in the email!

  10. SleepyKitten*

    Came here to say this. Not being able to talk will also explain why you’re emailing rather than calling with something this important and urgent.

    1. Salsa Verde*

      Me too – not being able to talk is a very big deal, especially in the first days on a new job. Definitely mention it to the boss in your email, otherwise she might try to call you at some point.

  11. be kind to your poor manager!*

    Exactly! Because probably those ping, ping, pings are coming in while I’m a) leading a teams meeting, or b) trying to write something that takes thoughts, or c) having a face to face conversation. And in each scenario, they are incredibly annoying. I’m a pretty calm person in general, but as a high level manager the MOST stressful thing for me about my job right now is the constant onslaught of interruptions with auditory stimuli. It completely breaks my concentration and makes me significantly less efficient. A series of text messages also takes MUCH more time for me to process than just telling me what you need. Yesterday I had two of my staff members contact me for items of nearly identical complexity; one started with “hi! PING How’s it going? PING” and waited until I responded before he told me what he needed and made it into a whole back and forth conversation giving me the details; the other send me a complete message saying “Hi! Hope you’re well. I’m working on the ABC and need your feedback on whether you prefer approach E or F; I’m hoping to submit this by COB today due to customer needing it by Monday”. The amount of time I spent before the 1st person got what they needed? 22 minutes!!! The amount of my time the 2nd person took? 3 minutes, which I could handle at my convenience knowing his timeline. Which coworker am I thinking fondly of today? You can figure that out.

    1. Reba*

      Maybe it’s time to have a little session with your reports and set out the standard for how you should be IM’d! Especially as a manager, I think you can ask this of people (I mean I think people can ask it of their peers too but as a manager you can enforce it). It’s not trivial! Like, it’s good to recognize people have different communication styles but you don’t have to just suffer with it.

      Also I chuckled at “trying to write something that takes thoughts” it’s not easy!!

    2. Metadata minion*

      Do you need the auditory alert other times, and it’s just annoying when you’re trying to do stuff? Because you can turn off the noise in every IM program I’ve ever seen (I hate my computer making random noises, so “how do I turn the stupid beep off??” is usually my first question). Sometimes an IM conversation does require lots of back and forth, so if I’m messaging you, I’m going to assume you have your alerts set up so they won’t be annoying to you.

      1. Tiffany Aching's imaginary friend*

        Thank you! One of the first things I do with any (Windows) computer I’m getting ready to work with is to set it to “no system noises at all”. Nobody needs to know that I have just started up my machine, or I’ve just gotten an email/IM, or really anything else at all.

        Also, anyone who does screen presentations should use the setting so that IM’s and emails do not automatically pop up on screen. Not only are there privacy/security issues, but also it’s distracting to the viewers.

  12. TechWorker*

    I do get that people dislike the ‘hi’ messages with nothing else so I try to avoid them. I get them a lot though and they do not bother me! I don’t view it as ‘like emailing hi only’ it’s more ‘are you there and free?’

    If they’re not and they don’t have time, fine, we can follow up over email. If they are, we can have a conversation. If it’s something that might need some back and forth then IM can be quicker though.

    Yes, one can type out the full question but then if the other person is not there, they need to write up a more detailed email to try to predict follow up questions and avoid some of the back and forth. So what you’d put on email vs opening IM *is* different, and doing both feels – to me – like you’re really bothering someone more! Vs sending a ‘hi’, getting no response and then sending an email which the receiver will hopefully connect and realise they don’t need to reply to the IM. Obviously people have different views here (hence I try to avoid it!) but I don’t really understand why it’s so terrible.

    1. TechWorker*

      From reading the other responses possibly this is because I a) context switch a lot and don’t mind it and b) treat email and IM pings broadly the same in terms of urgency. I get it can be difficult to just ignore them if you are fully into something but I don’t really have any trouble doing that (with the exception being if it’s my boss or boss’ boss pinging me, then I’d make more effort to reply quickly).

      1. tangerineRose*

        My context is that I am in the middle of something, I get interrupted by a “hi”, I say “hi” back, and then there’s what feels like a long pause where they type in the question, where I have a hard time focusing on what I was doing because I know I’m going to be interrupted again soon.

        1. tangerineRose*

          To be fair, my “dirty lens” is that an IM means someone has questions I need to answer. They may be easy, they may be hard, they may require directing the person to someone else, but they always mean some work.

    2. Allonge*

      I context switch a lot too, but any communication that relies on mind reading is bad communication and will annoy people.

      If your question is ‘are you there and free’, a, you can type that and b, I still have no idea what your urgency level and actual issue is – I might be free for an urgent issue but not so much for a random brainstorming. So I would suggest ‘Can we talk about [issue] when you have a moment’? at least.

    3. Airy*

      It’s not terrible, but the thing is, you may think “hi” means “are you there and free?” but the only thing that unambiguously means “are you there and free?” is the phrase “are you there and free?” You may be assuming that “hi” and nothing else places no pressure on the other person to respond right away, but many people will feel they should respond right away because from “hi” alone they have no idea what you’re contacting them about and how serious or urgent it is (you may assume it’s obvious it’s not serious or urgent because you said “hi” and then nothing else, but again, that is definitely not obvious to everyone and could just look like you are sitting there waiting for a response and won’t say anything else until you get it, but will definitely be annoyed if it takes longer than you think it should, because some people are Like That). Thus the effect can be the opposite of what you intended and this could be avoided by typing, not everything you would put into an email, but a sentence instead of one word. “Hi – do you have time to answer a quick question?” or “Hi – I’d like to discuss an idea with you, please let me know when you are free.” Then they can tell you “Sure, what is it?” or “I’m busy just now but could talk in 20 minutes” or whatever the case may be.
      So it’s not terrible, it’s just rather pointless, and pointless things annoy many people.

    4. be kind to your poor manager!*

      So from my perspective, a teams ping is much more disruptive, especially since I’m almost always in a meeting. If it’s not urgent, please just email me. If it’s somewhat urgent, give me everything you need at once, because I’m probably going to have to answer your text while I’m officially in another meeting listening with one ear. It’s also worth thinking about how many people your person is likely getting messages from; I get about 30 “ping” an hour, so every 2 minutes my attention is pulled away from whatever my main task is to assertain if you’ve got something super urgent or not. There are some days where I seriously want to quit over this issue. I miss about half of every meeting I’m supposedly sitting in due to having to also monitor teams chat messages.

      1. Green great dragon*

        Yes! And also if it’s all in one message it’s a lot easier to forward on to someone in my team who isn’t in a meeting and can actually do something about it without me having to lose focus dragging the key points out of you with questions.

      2. Autumnheart*

        I’m a “put everything in one message” person anyway, but this is good insight. I know my manager is in meetings all day, but just because I only ping her every so often doesn’t mean she isn’t fielding tons of pings from others.

    5. socks*

      I think the disconnect here is that you’re assuming people are using IM for quick chats and email for longer discussions, but at my company (and I assume others?), my department communicates almost exclusively through Slack. If something doesn’t work in chat form, we get on a call.

      So, since the conversation is going to be entirely in Slack whether I respond right away or not, I get annoyed when the opening message doesn’t at least include some context so I know how to prioritize it.

      1. TechWorker*

        Ah yes I see that makes things different. Most (not all but definitely most) longer discussions here we would have on email – IM is definitely for shorter more point in time questions and queries, if it’s a long conversation we’ll move to email or a call.

    6. Mike*

      > I don’t view it as ‘like emailing hi only’ it’s more ‘are you there and free?’

      The problem I have is that “are you free” really depends on who is asking and what they need. My boss / grandboss is almost always yes. System outages are always a yes. The “how do I do the thing I’ve asked you about 20 times” are probably going to wait.

      1. TechWorker*

        Sure – and there are certainly people in my org who do ‘hi TechWorker’ and my response is ‘I am in a meeting right now, please email our alias’ – but that would be the same response to basically any question they would ask me so I guess I’m lucky in that way *shrugs*.

        (As I mentioned from the start I very much try not to do this and always provide context, I just don’t care that much if people do it to me)

      2. hbc*

        Yes, I’m happy to tell someone that their package shipped (but no tracking number yet) as I’m just about to shut down for the day. I do *not* have time to explain why it took us so long to get it shipped. And I might not have time to confirm that the package shipped if I have to go through the whole “hi”…”what’s up”…routine. Possible exchanges:

        -“Hi, did my package ship?”…(looking in system)…”Yep, can get tracking number tomorrow”
        -“Hi, can you help me understand why it took so long to get the part?”…”On my way out and it’s complicated, let’s talk tomorrow”
        -“Hi”……….……”This came in too late for me yesterday, you still need something?” (That’s at best.)

        The “hi” people should take note that the person with a complicated question who gives context gets some answer sooner than a “hi” person with an easy question.

  13. Bagpuss*

    For 5, I agree with Alison’s advice to speak to them directly , but I am not sure that I would include the bit about asking for help, as it could reinforce the idea that she is less able to assist customers than they are.
    Maybe treat it more as a training issue “I know you are enthusiastic about wanting to help guests, but when I or another staff member is already helping them. it’s just disruptive for you to interrupt – in the event that a second opinion might be useful of course I’ll let you know, but usually it’s best to have one person dealing with any individual guest”

    I do think it depneds a bit on the dynamics, though – whether they are just over enthusiastic or whether they think they know better or are at a higher level than OP.

    1. J.B.*

      This may not be about age but I’m wondering if it is about gender. I have some young male colleagues who would say they are feminists but are quite condescending to female superiors. My way of dealing with it is to be very direct and there is no question mark to soften the language.

      1. Bagpuss*

        I wondered whether it might be new graduate intake condescending to someone they perceived as being less educated / intelligent than them, so not necessarily age but possibly someone who sees the job as the first step to ‘better’ things, and perceives those who have been there longer as being unable to progress, for instance.
        But definitely agree that it may well be gendered as well.

        1. alynn*

          I did not read it as anyone being condescending. It could be a personality clash and/or not good for the role, as LW described.

          I am a butt-in-er and I’ve learned to turn it down. I was raised to think I was just being friendly. But I learned as a young adult it really bothered some people -when they said something- and I changed my behavior accordingly.

          Interestingly, my current dept. dynamic basically encourages this behavior. We are constantly collaborating to problem solve and it is very helpful when someone butts in with an idea.

    2. ecnaseener*

      I really don’t think saying “If I need help, I’ll let you know” (and then presumably never/rarely asking for help) is going to reinforce any ideas about being less capable. It’s communicating “you don’t know when I need help, I know when I need help, so stop butting in.” If a person refuses to admit that there could ever in a million years be a situation they’d need help with, that makes me less confident in their abilities, not more.

      1. Bagpuss*

        Sure, but I don’t think omitting that wording does indicate that OP could never need help, or admit to needing help, whereas I think that in a situation where less-experienced coworkers are already treating her as less capable, there is the risk that those individuals might (mis)interpret it . It seems to me that the coworkers here are either clueless or condescending, so minimising the opportunity for misinterpretation is a godd plan for either possibility!

        1. ecnaseener*

          Leaving it out means you aren’t communicating what I said above, about how the coworkers need to stop guessing at whether the LW needs help because she will make it clear to them if she ever does.

    3. Sandman*

      Yeah, I disagree with Alison on this one a little bit. I’m an early-40s woman and find that early-20s men assuming general incompetence on my part is becoming a real thing – not all younger men, of course, but it’s happened often enough for it to be a pattern at this point. It’s annoying enough to me at this point that I’d probably take out that softening language as well.

  14. Rosacolleti*

    #1 just for few record, older people like drinking cartons of beer in the backyard too! I also love your advice around being open to friends of all ages – my best jobs were ones where we had friendships from 18 to 70 year olds – seriously!

    1. Enginuity*

      Agreed, but as I approach 40, I’m probably more interested in doing that with a mixed-age crowd or people around my own age than with a group of people mostly in their 20s just because someone felt rude excluding me. But yes, I love the advice about mixed age friendships and branching out – it really enriches your network and is satisfying both personally and professionally.

    2. dresscode*

      The person I was closest with at my first job until she let was a women in her mid-forties while I was in my mid-twenties. I went on college visits with her daughter and she renovated a dresser for me as a housewarming present. It was so great to have a friend like that a work, I was very grateful for our cross-generational/cross-life stage friendship!

    3. Reba*

      Well, it depends if it’s beer in the backyard with some nice snacks and chit chat vs. beer pong and loud music. :)

      1. Enginuity*

        Exactly this.

        Side note, I worked for a company where this kind of party was a semi-regular, semi-official team bonding activity because the vast majority of individual contributors and first line managers were under 30. I’d never endorse this as a company culture now, but boy did it lead to some stories…

    4. anonymous73*

      While I agree that it’s beneficial to have friends of all ages, as a 47 year old woman, the last thing I’d want to do is go to a party where everyone there is young enough to be my child. If it’s more age diverse, I’d consider it, but only if I had gotten close to the inviter. OP shouldn’t feel obligated to invite the people to her home she hasn’t gotten close to at work. If it were happy hour, that would be different.

  15. MistOrMister*

    OP2 – I have a coworker that will IM me a hi and casual chitchat and once I’ve answered a question or two about how I’m doing/how wqs my weekend, etc busts out with, ok so I have a question about x. I hate it. HATE IT! Please just say hi and what you need all in that first message. I am perfectly happy to chitchat, any maybe some people prefer the buildup to questions, but to me it is just a waste of time. And every single time that coworker messages me now, I am just waiting for her to get to what she actually wants.

    OP4 – I am the Kaitlin/Kaetlyn in your office. In my case, I am Kaitlin and have a coworker in my department is who Kaetlyn and hoo boy, not only are people always spelling our names the wrong way in emails, they email the wrong one of us fairly often. Your employee likely appreciates you speaking up, but I agree with Alison, saying something once is enough. I don’t bother correcting people on the spelling of my name because it really just doesn’t ever seem to change. Honestly, I’ve had people add letters into my name that changes it to a whole new name, and I just go with it. As long as it isn’t being done maliciously it’s an annoyance but not a big deal.

    1. Kaitydid*

      There are so many ways to spell Kaitlyn/Caitlin/Katelyn… I’m in that group of names, have met at least a dozen others, and not one of them has the same spelling I do. I don’t mind an error if the person shows they’re trying to correct it once they know, but repeated misspellings in emails get on my nerves. I copy/paste names if I’m worried I might type them wrong. It’s not that hard to get names right in emails. I asked a Zachary in my office how he spells the shortened version of his name when I realized he goes by the one syllable version in conversation. He uses Zack, and seemed pleased to be asked.

      On the pronunciation side, I give a lot more leeway before I get annoyed. My last name isn’t common, and is easily mispronounced. I’d say at least 75% of people guess wrong on their first try. Telemarketers always do, which was handy. I only get irritated about my last name being pronounced wrong if the person is in my group or has had reason to use my full name and be corrected frequently.

      I guess it comes down to if I think the person is trying to get it right.

  16. Anon for names*

    One place I worked years ago, we had a Marlene, two Marilyns, a Marlyn, two Mary Anns, and a Marian. It was important to get the names right especially talking to others regarding them because they all had different jobs, although sometimes the context would reveal which. It was mostly difficult for switchboard. Sometimes I think it would be easier to go by last names.

    1. After 33 years ...*

      I once chaired an 8-person committee meeting, involving 7 people named “Jennifer” and myself.

      1. JustaTech*

        That sounds like my high school class and “Elizabeth”. There was one Liz and one Beth and everyone else just went by their last names. Except the gal who had the same last name as one of the teachers, she had to go by her full name all the time.

    2. James*

      My family is like that. My first name is the traditional name given to the first son. So there are multiple of us running around. You learn very early on to ALWAYS include your middle initial.

      This came up at work once. My dad was working with someone in the company I work for, and my name popped up on an email. The guy with my company asked my father if he was changing jobs. We all got a good laugh about it–it was an easy fix, due to the middle initial thing–but it could have gone sideways in a hurry if the folks involved hadn’t been comfortable around each other. Working two jobs at once is bad, then you add in the whole conflict of interest angle; even if the investigation found everyone innocent it would be a royal pain.

    3. Kyrielle*

      For a while at $OldJob, our office admin (not in the home office) had the same first-and-last as someone in HR. She got all sorts of mail she shouldn’t have. I can’t actually tell you what; she quite rightly forwarded, deleted, and didn’t comment on contents. But she did moan about not wanting to know so much about her fellow employees sometimes!

      1. JustaTech*

        In grad school there was one TA with the same uncommon first name as me, and I did occasionally get emails intended for her (pretty irritated emails, in general, it wasn’t a well run class). The email system we had didn’t make it easy to forward emails, so I would just reply with “I think you meant this for the TA, and not me your classmate.”
        (Sometimes I was tempted to add “and I agree about X, Y and Z about the class” but I wanted to preserve the illusion that I hadn’t read the whole email.)

    4. Gumby*

      I have a brother-in-law and a nephew who have the same name. Ideally in family situations like this various generations will go by certain nicknames. So you have Grandpa William, father Bill, and child Will or something. Or maybe someone will go by a middle name. Or William Smith III will go by Trey. But in our case, nothing has yet become a dominant nickname for the toddler vs. the adult. (Not helped by the fact that the adult goes by either of the two most common nicknames for the full first name, and no one wants to go by the full name.)

      I have had a couple of times when my sister was relating a story and about 3 sentences in I realize she’s talking about the baby instead of her husband. The first two sentences work for either but when someone starts crying it’s probably the two year old.

      1. PhyllisB*

        One of sisters-in-law and I have the same name. It was fun before she got married. I was constantly getting calls for her and when we ordered pizza half the time it went to the wrong one. (Small town, everybody knew everybody else.) They started calling me by my first and middle name to cut down on confusion.

  17. Cookies for Breakfast*

    #2, I’ll add one more voice to the choir against messaging “hi” with no context.

    On any given day, I have several people message me “hi” and just wait. Sometimes, it’s people I’ve never spoken to before, which puzzles me to no end. There are a few repeat offenders, and when I’ve engaged with them in the past, they’ve followed up with vague requests that took way more time than I actually had to fully understand.

    A “hi” with no immediate follow-up gets marked as read and ignored, because the conversation is never urgent, and sometimes not even worth having (if it’s urgent, people lead with that!). They’re either hoping for a quick response, because our workplace puts a premium on being helpful and dropping everything you’re doing to attend to colleagues’ needs, or they have all the tools to find the answer but want someone else to spare them the work. A lot of the time, if I don’t engage immediately I don’t hear anything back: people actually take the time to figure it out themselves.

    People that take a few extra seconds to type “hi, could you do X for me?” or “hi, I’m not sure how X works, can you help?”, or even “hi, do you have a moment to chat about X?”, save everyone time. Then I know whether it’s something I can a) help with; b) help with quickly; c) set aside more time to help with later, in which case I let them know when to circle back.

  18. not your typical admin*

    As someone whose name has constantly been misspelled by one letter who whole life, it’s not a huge deal. I appreciate the effort of those who make an effort to correct themselves and remember, but not something worth getting upset.

    1. allathian*

      Perhaps not to you, but don’t assume everyone else feels the same way.

      I hated my maiden name because it’s rather unusual and most people could neither spell nor pronounce it properly. I was very happy to take my husband’s name when we married. There’s no way I’d ever change it to an invented name, that would feel too much like rejecting my roots. But marriage was the perfect excuse.

  19. Please Remove Your Monkeys from My Circus*

    #2: The “hi” thing isn’t really a thing at my org, but the variation that drives me up a tree is a voicemail from someone I’ve never heard of that consists of “please call me” without any additional context. Maybe I’m actually the one the person needs to talk to, but I’ve also became the default “we don’t know what to do with this call that came into the general line, Circus will figure it out” person. If you include even a modicum of context, I can get you to the right place instead of wasting both our time calling you back to find out what the heck you need that you could’ve just told me in the first place. (And…breathe. Also, yes, I hate the telephone like a stereotypical xennial, even though I’m a late-stage gen x.)

    #4: My last name is similar to a fairly common name, but with one extra letter (and different pronunciation). Thus is gets misspelled All The Time. Which leads to people spelling my email address wrong, which (since misdirected emails at our domain disappear into the ether rather than bouncing, for some reason our IT manager thinks is valid), mean I semi-regularly get irate calls from people who think I’m ignoring them but are just messing up my address. Past IT guys (yes, in my experience, it’s always been guys) set up a forwarding dummy with the most common misspelling to alleviate this problem, but the current guy would rather just have messages disappear, apparently. (Wow. I was kind of triggered by these letters first thing in the morning….)

    1. EPLawyer*

      UGGGH. The “Hi, this is so and so voicemail, call me” message. I just hate it. My clients do that. I don’t know if the kid has been snatched or they just want to know the next court date. Give me some freaking context so I can prioritize it.

    2. Katt*

      The “Can you call me?” stresses me out. From past jobs I’ve learned that it’s never something good, because something good will usually be communicated via email.

      1. tangerineRose*

        I hate that too. If someone lets me know more about what’s up, I can do research beforehand and may have an answer for them instead of having to either leave a return message or have to figure stuff out on the fly.

  20. MissDisplaced*

    I always start my DMs with
    “Hi Jane! I have a quick question about X.”

    Job start: It’s usually much easier to push back a start date by a week unless there was travel or training involved. If you’re beat up from the accident it would be reasonable to ask for this. Or, you could request “lite” things like reading, phone calls with your colleagues and other things you could do from home initially. Just keep them in the loop.

  21. Anon for This*

    Correcting the name misspelling is a big deal. I have a commonly misspelled name. When I was junior I let it slide because I didn’t want to get a reputation for being trouble. Now I am the boss and it really irritates me that some people continue to get it wrong. My name is right there in my e-mail address and signature block – it’s not like they have to guess. It doesn’t help that I am the only female on the management team and I don’t see any other manager’s name spelled wrong, including the two men that also have commonly misspelled names.

    This is a matter of basic respect for co-workers. Yes, you should correct it because the person whose name is being spelled wrong won’t correct it for fear of being branded the problem. But having been there I know that as it continues it grates. And it is particularly important to correct if the person is a member of a minority group or female in a heavily male environment. Even better if someone in management notes it.

    Note: From someone outside the organization it’s a different story. As Allison notes, it is pretty common for those of us with names with multiple spellings and it’s not that big a deal.

    1. Dust Bunny*

      Good grief, this: When people misspell it even though it’s right in front of them . . . AAUGH.

      One of my cousins misspelled my name in a Facebook message. He’s known me all his life and literally had to click on my profile–with my name on it–to message me. Seriously, dude?

      1. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

        OH THIS IS SO MY WORLD.

        It amazes me how many people use an E at the end of my name instead of the more appropriate A … despite the signature line at the bottom of the email I sent them, and the fact that it’s also part of my email address.

        I used to think it was some sort of strange poor pronunciation practice of mine b/c I was saying my name out loud to people, but it after a year and a half of remote work … nope. Just inattention.

        (However, I will also point out that the percentage of times I type my own name wrong (although not with the wrong letters, just transposition) is strikingly high. I’ll sometimes get on a roll and can’t stop doing it for days.)

    2. Esmeralda*

      Agree that people should spell it correctly.

      But I never bother looking at anyone’s signature block, I just read the message. I only look if I need to be sure I’ve got it right (and usually I’m looking for a title or an office name), and that’s not someone I interact with all the time.

      Correct the person who misspells/mispronounces. But usually not worth getting heated about it (and yes, people misspell and especially mispronounce my name all the time — it has several possible pronunciations)

      1. Agnes*

        Posted above, but repeat:
        At some point you’ve got to accept that people are terrible spellers. I get plenty of emails with “freind” or “tommorrow” and everyone has probably seen those a lot more than they’ve seen your name. Regarding bad spelling (and personally I’m a very good speller, and it grates) as an insult will really not get you anywhere.

        (Also, remember a few weeks ago when we were discussing spelling in a cover letter and people were falling all over themselves to insist it didn’t matter – interesting how it shifts when we’re discussing words that don’t in fact have a standard spelling.)

        1. Alphabet*

          I think if someone takes the time to correct you on the spelling of their name it’s an indication that it matters to them and it’s discourteous to ignore that and continue misspelling it. If you’re emailing someone or pinging them, chances are their name is right there for you. Taking a second to double check before hitting send is easy.

        2. Purple Cat*

          Personally speaking, there is a world of difference between spelling “freind” wrong and getting a person’s name – ie their actual identity, wrong. People constantly mispell my name by inserting an extra letter and it drives me bonkers in a professional setting when they have seen it written in front of them 3x when responding to my email.

      2. Dust Bunny*

        Literally the point of a signature block is to make sure people have your correct professional information.

        I always look at signature blocks specifically because it annoys me so much when people get my name wrong that I’m extra careful about not getting others’ names wrong. I mean, yes, I can correct them, but if they’d look at my signature block I wouldn’t have to.

      3. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        People who can’t be bothered to spell my name right don’t get priority, so maybe you should bother after all.

    3. anonymous73*

      I don’t think it’s that big of a deal. I can barely get people to read the context of an email and actually answer the questions that I’ve asked. I’m not going to be bothered to get worked up if they spell my name wrong (which they usually do). Not to mention, the OP isn’t even the one having her name misspelled. Maybe it doesn’t bother their employee?

    4. JanetM*

      I recently responded to a prospective vendor whose name was “Jeff” as “Jill” because I hadn’t changed from my distance glasses to my computer glasses and just misread the letter shapes. A few minutes later, I wrote back to apologize, and he replied, “I’ve been called much worse in my day but thanks for the apology; please keep us in mind for the future.”

    5. Cookies for Breakfast*

      “This is a matter of basic respect for co-workers. Yes, you should correct it because the person whose name is being spelled wrong won’t correct it for fear of being branded the problem.”

      Thank you a million times for this.

      My name is a bit of a mouthful to say. In the country I live and work, it’s an unusual name (I’m an immigrant). It gets misspelled and mispronounced all the time, no matter how many email signatures and written documents it appears in, how many times I introduce myself, and how many times I spell it on the phone. I only correct it when there’s a risk of getting an official document wrong, because in so many other situations, I’ve seen being corrected grates on people. But boy does it grate on me to receive yet another email with a version of my name that I don’t answer to, don’t identify with, and give everyone plenty of opportunities to learn.

      1. tangerineRose*

        “This is a matter of basic respect for co-workers.” Yeah.

        I try to always be careful in spelling people’s names because of this. With that said, as a human, I can goof up and have, and others can do this too. When someone misspells my name, I generally roll my eyes and get on with life because it’s not a big deal. But still, at least try to get it right!

  22. Green great dragon*

    I also hate it when I get a ‘hi’ and have to type back before you’ll tell me what you actually want. But please have a bit of tolerance for those of us who work across several IM systems and never can remember which is the one that sends whenever you hit Enter instead of starting a new para.

    1. KimberlyR*

      But if you immediately follow up with the meat of your question/comment, its still better than just typing “Hi” and waiting for a response.

    2. anonymous73*

      I generally ignore a simple hi message (unless it’s my manager). I don’t have time for those shenanigans.

    3. Nanani*

      It’s fine to have “Hi” on a separate line or message though.
      That’s not rude, what’s rude is leaving people hanging with no idea what you want.

      If I respond to your Hi, are you going to expect a long detailed conversation? Do you want me to send you a document? Do you just have a quick question? TELL ME.
      It is completely beside the point whether you said Hi or not and whether that Hi was on a separate line.

  23. I forgot the name I usually use*

    #1 you’re fine!! There’s absolutely something to be said about having friendships with people in similar life stages, and you don’t need to feel obligated to include everyone. But I echo Alison’s advice on being open to friendships across age groups. Some of my closest friends are from former jobs and 20+ years older than me. In my 20s I never would have thought this possible but it really is.

    1. The Rural Juror*

      Same. One of the colleagues I’ve kept up with after working together 10 years ago is about 35 years older than me. I would have been…23 or so when we met. We email each other about once a month to check in and sometimes grab lunch together. It’s been interesting to hear about how our male-dominated industry has changed over time and how she’s needed to adapt with changing technology. She’s one of my favorite people.

    2. Rebecca*

      I’ve really enjoyed friendships lately with people who are in a life stage that I want to grow into. I’m friends with some women who are all 15 to 20 years older than me, successful and smart, who are living the kind of life I want to be living in 15 or 20 years. It’s really great.

      And I have gotten over not wanting to be friends with people younger than me, too. I’m in my late 30s and I’m more open to people much younger than me instead of feeling like I outgrew them – I benefit from new ideas and freshnesh and the kind of excitement I felt in my 20s before I got tired.

      I like and need friends my own age, but diversifying has only been good for me!

  24. Hiring Mgr*

    In a previous company we had two Sara(h)s working in the same group – one with an h, one without.. They were already getting mixed up as it was, then one of them got married and changed her last name so we had a Sarah Reilly and a Sara O’Reilly who sat next to each other and worked on the same team.. yeah some confusion for sure :)

    1. not a doctor*

      Not a work thing, but I have a dear friend of many years named Allison LastName, who lives in Boston. A couple of years ago, I met a woman in NYC who looked so much like her I almost thought she’d come to the city without telling me — so imagine my shock when she introduced herself as Allison SimilarLastName. I’ve shown them each the other’s picture and they agree they could be sisters! I call them Original Allison and Allison Allison when I’m talking about them to other people, which they both seem to be okay with.

  25. Cthulhu's Librarian*

    LW 5 -Are your colleagues “butting in” in such a way that it appears they are trying to support you, or in a way such that they are trying to correct you? Your letter doesn’t say explicitly, but the comment that you’re providing correct information makes me wonder if it is the second.

    One thing I see occasionally in the dynamic between new, freshly schooled librarians, and older, more experienced librarians (and I’m guessing happens in many fields), is that people who are freshly trained with theoretical knowledge sometimes try to step in when a more experienced coworker is doing something in a way that historical practice says is correct, but which more cutting edge theories hold are not best practices. That doesn’t make what your coworkers are doing okay (it almost definitely isn’t), but it may mean the conversation to get them to stop is one about how cutting edge theories are not necessarily best every day practices.

    A case in point – I once had a coworker who had just taken a class in how to conduct a reference interview, where there was a lot of harping on ‘you should always do one before helping a patron’. They kept trying to do full interviews before they would help a patron with even basic things like filling out job applications, or printing an email, “in case they needed more resources than they realized”. If they saw you just helping a patron with their initial request, they’d immediately want to step in and be like “well, but wait, are you sure that’s the assistance you need?” to the patron. The conversation that needed to happen with them (and did) was about how reference interviews were good for patrons who had nebulous questions like “I need legal help” or “Do you have resources about Y topic” but completely inappropriate for the majority of our patron interactions.

    1. Dust Bunny*

      Second this comment. Also a library/archives employee here and, yeah, there is the Ideal World and then there’s the Real World. My department does pretty well–our department head is youngish and very attuned to changes in the discipline–but logistical and budget constraints keep a lot of Ideal World stuff reined in.

      (OMG dying at the thought of doing a full reference interview for every little thing!)

    2. Jack Straw*

      Or even butting to learn from you and/or ask a question about something you’ve just said to a guest. Super annoying, but having a conversation with them to hold the question, jot it down so they don’t forget, etc. would remedy it and help you share your knowledge with them.

    3. Denver Gutierrez*

      I have worked both in the animal shelter field and the veterinary field and have noticed the same type of thing with fresh out of school (or even still in school) veterinarians and vet techs. Not all of them of course, but so many are just so arrogant and condescending to the older vets and techs and also the staff who may not have gone to school but have years of experience and know their stuff.

      Yes, things change but my philosophy you don’t know everything, even if you went to school for it and you can learn something from everyone. Don’t treat everyone like they are stupid or beneath you just because they are a certain age or didn’t go to college.

  26. as a Sarah*

    in response to LW4, as a Sarah people often misspell my name. It usually does not bother me. I does bother me when it is someone from my own team or someone who I work with frequently. And I’ll admit I have taken to replying by saying Thanks and misspelling their name. It is petty but I think it is fun little game I play

  27. Dust Bunny*

    Name: No, correct this person.

    I have an established but rare name (rare enough there isn’t quite a “standard spelling” for it) and I don’t mind people who just met me misspelling it the first few times, but if you’ve known me for years and used to spell it correctly you’d better believe I’m going to expect you to keep spelling it correctly.

  28. Undine*

    Name spelling gets complicated when the person is from a country with a different alphabet. We had a number of Russians and Ukrainians and their names would be different in different places in the system, so you would be wondering if they wanted Dimitrii or Dimitriy or if you could just call them Dima. (And auto correct just tried to trash that and make both versions Dimitri, which is just … wrong.) I would, time and circumstances permitting, look at their email signature and then use that.

    People do care about names though. There was one Alex who was always so happy when I called him Sasha. And I have a commonly mispronounced name, and I’ve gotten stricter about correcting it over the years. If you’re going to spend time with me, know who I am.

    1. Clorinda*

      If he wanted to be called Sasha why didn’t he invite people to do so? Due to my extensive reading of Russian novels during my raucous youth, I know that Sasha is the friendly nickname for Alexander, but many people (1) don’t know that or (2) wouldn’t be comfortable making that assumption even if they have read Crime and Punishment. Alex is the default English-language nickname for Alexander. I wouldn’t presume to call someone Sasha if he hadn’t asked me to.

      1. Threeve*

        No Russians I know would invite someone to use their diminutive, although most would happily supply it if asked.

        1. Clorinda*

          He’ll have to put up with being Alex, then. How would a non-Russian know when they had reached the culturally appropriate moment to shift to the diminutive? (And my actual given name is a Russian diminutive, not Sasha but close, so that would open a whole different can of worms.)

    2. Minerva*

      And there’s the “It’s not the real spelling of my name, so I don’t care as much” side to it. My spouse has non English characters in his name that can’t be recorded on his identity documents in our country. He doesn’t actually view the official spelling as correct.

      My traditionally scottish last name got split into one piece of it is my patronymic, the remaining part is my surname when I got a Russian visa. Forever will my official Cyrillic name not make any logical sense. I wouldn’t be able to take misspelling my Russian name seriously if I tried (my first name is also transliterated based on a pronunciation I don’t use – the visa is hillarious)

      Also, Natalia had to explain that yes she’s also Natasha, one isn’t wrong or even preferred, and the spelling isn’t really official either way as far as she’s concerned, confusing our group of non Russian mostly Asian immigrants. But Sofia wanted to only be Sonia.

  29. Applesauced*

    Related to #4 – in my first week on a new job, I emailed my boss, but wrote “Dog” instead of “Doug”
    Luckily he was a friendly guy and just gently teased me back

    1. anonymous73*

      I used to work with a Brian and a Christi and would often email them calling them Brain and Christ.

  30. Esmeralda*

    OP 1. Not what you asked, but…I’m pushing retirement age and I love a keg in the backyard kind of party. My 80-something parents like that sort of party too.

    You don’t have to invite everyone in your office, for sure! but please don’t assume that folks who are older than you (have/don’t have kids, are/aren’t married, rent/own, etc etc) are boring and stodgy and spend their weekends drinking chardonnay in their perfectly appointed great rooms lol.

    I’m sure you don’t want your older coworkers making assumptions about you and “young people these days.”

    1. Sleet Feet*

      The OP didn’t say that her older coworkers are stodgy, she said beers and loud music in the backyard is not the kind of party she would invite her boss too. She also said she had clicked with the younger employees on the team and not the older ones.

      Can we please not #notallolderpeople every single time someone says anything that might even mildly hint that people at different life stages general have different attitudes and priorities? Can we also not put words in young people’s mouths?

      It gets a bit exhausting especially considering that young people have been wildly screwed over by older generations in this country in almost all facets of life (school, housing, work, healthcare, media representation, etc.) rather it’s through I’ll intent or not and even the most mild pushback (OK boomer comes to mind) has been swiftly deemed illegal (literally will get you fired for age discrimination) while active harm continues at length.

      Ill finish by saying I’m in my mid thirties and very much aware that by taking advantage of normal opportunities like leveraging my accumulated wealth to buy a starter home to rent to gather more wealth that I am very much harming 20 something’s who have one less house to consider. So I’m definitely not going to try and shame or virtual signal to a 20 something who doesn’t want to invite me for beers or a teen tik toker who wants to make fun of my boyfriend jeans and side ponytail.

  31. Dwight Schrute*

    My name is frequently misspelled and I often get the wrong name too. I’ve just learned to live with it. My name is along the lines of Libby so I get Lily, Lizzy, Wendy (?), Libi etc all the time

  32. Scooter*

    I’m almost 50 with kids and my back hurts. I don’t want to drink beer with coworkers young enough to be my kids on the weekends. Besides, they’re probably going to do it after 9 pm and that’s my bedtime.

  33. anonymous73*

    #4 – let it go. I spell my name differently than the most common way and people always spell it wrong in emails, even when it’s in their face in my signature. And it’s not even YOUR name. It’s not worth the brain space.
    #5 – To me this depends on context. I used to work in a large office and told my teammates that if they’re speaking loud enough for me to hear them, expect me to add to the conversation if I have something relevant to the subject. If I heard someone talking about a work related subject and what they were saying was wrong, I would definitely speak up and correct them. But there are other types of jobs where I could see this could be less than helpful. Just make sure the “less than helpful” is the reason behind you talking to them, and not something personal.

  34. Camellia*

    OP#2 – looks like I will be disagreeing with most of the comments – it depends on the culture! In our office, we send ‘Hi’ and then wait. It is like a polite knock on a door – you wait until you are invited in. The person’s response – hi, gm, or whatever their chosen reply is – let’s you know they are now available, and if they don’t respond, you drop it or write an email instead or try again later. And folks are really good about replying ASAP.

    Maybe it’s evolved like this because so many of us spend a lot of time presenting/doing screen shares, not sure, but that’s the way we do it. If it is different for your office, great! Just follow what most people do with you – hi then wait, or hi I have a quick question or hi [here’s my question] and you will be okay.

    BTW, I always share this info with new people so they know the norm in our office, along with the fact that [these particular teams] treat email like an IM – you are expected to reply within a minute or two and if you don’t, you will get called or someone will show up at your desk.

    1. anonymous73*

      Just because that’s the culture of your office doesn’t make it any less annoying. And if all I get is “hi” to start a conversation, I’m going to ignore it unless you give me some small clue as to what you want.

      1. Camellia*

        Then if you were in my office, you would get a talking to about ignoring those. If you didn’t like that culture you could move on. If I move to an office where the culture is to say hi here’s my question, then I will certainly adapt to that.

        1. anonymous73*

          Ok bye. It’s rude, and if I’m in the middle of something, I’m not going to get my work done being interrupted a bunch of times with no context. Context is what tells me if I need to stop what I’m doing now, or if it can wait. It’s a bad culture to adopt.

          1. Marillenbaum*

            There’s really no need for that. It’s clear you don’t like the practice; it is also clear that other offices have different norms and reasons for those norms. Being a jerk to someone who has a different position by telling them this cultural norm is bad doesn’t help anyone.

      2. Allonge*

        I can see that it might annoy some people still but if this is spelled out to everyone and used universally, that would be fine for me, even though I hate it normally.

        For me the reason is that if this is the culture, I know what hi is meant to say, so there is no guessing game involved, which is the annoying part.

    2. RagingADHD*

      I think it makes a difference that the person saying “hi” will default to a different way of communicating if they don’t get a response. In other words, the responsibility remains on the asker to get the question across, and the ask-ee can safely assume that they have the discretion to manage their own time & attention appropriately. They don’t *have* to drop everything and reply if it is a bad time.

      1. allathian*

        Yeah, I got a bit confused, if they don’t reply right away someone’s going to call or they get a talking-to?

        At least on Skype and Teams at our office, if someone’s screen sharing, they’re automatically flagged as DND/screen sharing, and no messages will go through.

  35. bopper*

    Misspelled names:
    It is not that it doesn’t bother us (it does), it is that we get resigned to it because people are too dumb to see that my name spelled in the email and in my signature is different than what you are putting.

    1. MCMonkeyBean*

      I agree, I don’t know if there is a good way to ask whether she is truly unbothered or if she just thinks she should say that because it’s someone higher up making the error. If she’s secretly bothered it would be kind for her manager to try more to take care of it.

      I don’t know if introducing her to outside parties in email is a regular occurrence or if that was kind of a one-off, but that seems like it should be kind of a big deal!

    2. anonymous73*

      Agreed. But I also feel like those who have this happen to them all the time (like us) are more likely to pay attention to the way someone spells their name and get it right.

  36. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

    I have a coworker who will IM me “Hi” or “Good morning, [my name]” and I say hi back … and then crickets for days. Clearly it was meant as just a wave over the virtual fence, but it’s so disconcerting.

  37. employment lawyah*

    1. Can I invite only some of my coworkers to socialize in my small office?
    Yes, but you should make a point of trying to become friends (not necessarily besties, but something more than casual acquaintances) with older people. It will serve you well.

    3. I had an accident right before my first day and my face is swollen and stitched up</b
    I would try to delay your start. First impressions are hard to beat and if you show up looking truly horrible it may affect you for a while–obviously this isn't fair, but it's still true.

    1. Policy Wonk*

      #3 – not to mention you will probably have a photo taken for your ID badge, which in some places is then attached to your e-mail account.

  38. EmKay*

    re: name spelling

    When I was in university waaaaay back in the early aughts, I had a roommate named Amélie. My name is Emilie. Whenever we got a call (on a landline, I’m old) there was a whole “which one do you want, the musician or the teacher?” routine that had to be done every. single. time.

    It got old fast, haha.

    1. Tomato Frog*

      Was this in the dorms? In my dorms, whoever made the room assignments deliberately grouped folks together who had similar or identical names. Erin and Ferrin is the one I remember the most.

      1. EmKay*

        Erin and Ferrin! amazing XD

        ….. and no, we were roommates in an off-campus apartment. We were 100% the authors of our own misery, lol.

      2. AlexandrinaVictoria*

        There were 7 women with my not-very-common first name in the same wing of my dorm. Someone definitely had a good time with that!

      3. JustaTech*

        In my college two guys named Ben B got put together as freshmen and were such good friends they roomed together for three years and their own mothers couldn’t tell them apart on the phone.
        (They did have different last names, but my college wasn’t a last names kind of place.)

  39. Archaeopteryx*

    At least with teams your conversations show up in one long thread, so it seems so bizarre to keep starting new conversations with “Hi!” … (creepy blankness). The whole rest of your conversation is in a big thread above you, why do you need to keep reestablishing that it’s OK to message someone?

    You can definitely start with Hi or Happy Friday or whatever, but then just message the question! “Hi Jane! Do you know which documents boss wanted for project X?”

    If your screen sharing, you’re the one who should put yourself on do not disturb so things don’t pop up. And if you just fork over the question, you don’t have to wait until you’re both free! Jane might reply with the answer while you’re away at lunch or something. Then you can send a thank-you GIF or whatever. Everybody wins!

  40. I Faught the Law*

    “She may not even care; people with names with multiple spellings are often pretty used to it and not necessarily that annoyed. If you were my boss, I’d appreciate you making the one-time attempt but I wouldn’t need you to pursue it after that.”

    NO! THIS IS NOT COOL. Names are important, especially if they come with family history or cultural significance. I have an ever-so-slightly abnormal spelling of my last name, but inverting two letters makes it seem like I’m of a completely different nationality. I am so tired of endlessly explaining this when it’s just not that difficult to transcribe my name properly. This is why we learn to pronounce people’s names correctly, respect people’s pronouns, etc. Do better.

    1. LMB*

      I agree with you. I think getting people’s names right—spelling, pronunciation, calling them by the right nickname, trying your damndest if they’ve changed their name—is really important for inclusion. It’s just basic decency to get someone’s identity right. But I do also agree with Alison—she and I both have one of those common, western names that do have multiple spelling versions. It’s a little annoying, and frankly strange, when people who have known you for years pick the wrong one, but it is understandable. A lot of people actually apologize when they realize it, and as Alison notes, it’s usually because they have a close friend or relative with an alternate spelling and their brain just automatically goes there. I think we should all strive to get others’ names right, but on the spectrum of name mistakes you can make, I think this one is pretty forgivable.

    2. I should really pick a name*

      To be clear, the letter writer is not getting the name wrong. A third party is.

      It’s not unreasonable for the letter writer to only correct the third party a couple of times, though I think it would be good for them to check in with the affected person to see whether they want to be supported on this or not. Taking up a battle on someone’s behalf without finding out if they want you to can be a problem in and of itself.

      And for context, I have an uncommonly spelled name (at least uncommonly spelled where I live).

    3. NeutralJanet*

      As someone whose name is difficult for Westerners to pronounce, nothing annoys me more than people insisting that I say my name forty times in a row to teach them to say it, except when those people claim to be doing it so as to be respectful of me. Opinions on this type of thing vary, and given that LW is neither the person whose name is being misspelled nor the person misspelling the name, it’s reasonable for her to check in with Katelyn/Kaitlin to see if she particularly or if she’d rather let it go. Do better at accepting that different people have different priorities.

  41. LMB*

    On the misspelled name—I have a name that both has multiple spellings and is close three other, totally different names. The spelling version my parents gave me is pretty rare, so personally I don’t mind too much when people spell it the more common way, though it is a little odd when I’ve know them for years and they can see the correct spelling right in the email in front of them. On the other hand, when people address me by one of the other names it does really tick me off. If they’ve just met me and they say it out loud, fine I just correct them. But when someone writes a different name in an email I want to scream. A guy I have worked with for SIX YEARS did this to me a few weeks ago. It makes you feel like you don’t exist or you’re just not “important” enough to matter.

  42. Jack Straw*

    3 for 5 for annoying habits at work in this post. The worst is the “Hi”–starting with just a greeting is the perfect way for me to completely ignore your chat.

  43. SparkleBoots*

    #2 – I’m not a fan of the simple “hi” either, but I have found a good way to kind of train