Office affairs start with a virtual X

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Whether it’s a casual ‘X’ on the bottom of an email, a double ‘XX’ at the end of a text – both men and women say a virtual kiss is often interpreted as a green light for romance.

A new British survey has found that while many electronic kisses are initially included without an agenda, recipients don’t always see it that way. “People are still not sure how to interpret Xs,” UK dating expert Helen Crydon told the Daily Mail. Some 86% of office workers said they had innocently put a “kiss” in emails to colleagues, yet the survey also found 55% of women and 60% of men who had engaged in an office romance said it had been sparked by X’s in messages.

According to another dating expert, Brandon Wade, there’s a lot to be learned about the etiquette of modern dating through the study of texts, emails and online interaction. “[A virtual kiss] allows couples to establish intimacy much more quickly and freely express exactly what they want. That has to be a good thing,” Wade said.

Those with a habit of including a virtual kiss should think twice though. Thoughtlessly including a virtual kiss can lead to unwanted attention, and about 35% of women and 25% of men reported their virtual kisses as being wrongly interpreted as sexual. According to Crydon, while electronic kisses are clearly a great way of quickly establishing intimacy, it’s for this same reason users should ensure they only write an ‘X’ to someone they would kiss in real life.

A recent survey conducted by mobile network Three for International Kissing Day last month also discovered that almost half of all office workers said they found receiving virtual kisses from their co-workers awkward.

A further one in four people said they felt obliged to return the sign of affection – even if they did not really feel inclined to do so.

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  • Jeanne Martinson on 2012-09-01 2:49:21 AM

    This is unfortunately one of the outcomes of our tech lazy communication style. If you appreciate someone's work, valued their efforts, enjoyed their company - use all the letters - and avoid the potential of miscommunication. Just because XOXO has become to be a quick way of spreading positive emotions, doesn't mean we should take the chance of it being misinterpreted. Take a couple extra seconds and skip the quick emotional symbols! Your workplace relationships deserve nothing less.

  • BB on 2012-09-05 3:52:37 AM

    I have never once sent a business email with an "X" or "XO" on the end of it, nor have I ever received one (and I am a warm person who gets along well with nearly everyone). In my view, there is no place for this in business, so it would leave seem very strange to me to receive an email from a co-worker or business contact with this tagged on the end. It would certainly cause me serious concern about the other person's intentions. This should be reserved for personal emails to people you know well (family and close friends). If your intention is to start a relationship, do it outside of the office...

  • D. Gordon on 2012-09-08 3:32:51 AM

    I agree these activities should not enter
    the office environment.

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