[LIFE AND TECH]<br />
Need Etiquette Help? There's An App for That!

We all know that guy (or girl). They’re the co-worker who helps themselves to whatever is available in the office refrigerator, even if it happens to be your lunch. Or maybe it’s that acquaintance on the train that talks just a little too loudly on their cell phone every morning. What about that friend who consistently berates the wait staff at a restaurant and never leaves a tip? If you know someone that could stand to brush up on their manners, a new app can help you break it to them gently.

The You’re So Rude! app was developed by Civility Experts Worldwide, a group that specializes in etiquette training. With the app, you can send an anonymous message to someone who may be violating some rule of social decorum in a way that is tactful and well, civil. You enter the person’s email address and choose an introduction that will ease them into their etiquette lesson such as, “Out of respect, we want to tell you that…” Then you can select the infraction from a list of available options including being late, dressing too provocatively, and my personal favorite, CCing everyone on emails. You then pick the unintended consequence of the action; for example, if a co-worker is constantly gossiping their professional reputation could be at stake. Make a suggestion to alter the rude behavior, and click send! The culprit gets a subtle note that they can then (hopefully) use as constructive criticism to make a positive change.

So as not to seem like a total Miss Manners snob, the app will also allow you to send someone a note who has exhibited polite behavior as well. You can give a shout out to that thoughtful co-worker that cleaned up after the office birthday party without being asked. Or use the app as a way to provide positive reinforcement to a young person who may not have a full grasp of all the social graces that are expected in the workplace. It may seem counter-intuitive to not just mention something directly, but consider that some folks are uncomfortable being singled out publicly no matter what the reason. I don’t think anyone would have a problem with receiving an unexpected note of encouragement in their inbox.

And if you think your bad manners might be what everyone’s whispering about, use the app to get tips from the experts. There are etiquette suggestions included for business and social situations. So if you’re ever unsure, you always have go-to advice handy – before you get your own anonymous email. You’re So Rude is free and available for iPhone and iPad, with an Android version coming soon.

The more digitally connected we become, the less opportunity we give ourselves to interact on a personal level. And we’ve all witnessed how that disconnect has affected the way we relate to one another. Sometimes a gentle reminder is needed for us to remember that common courtesy isn’t always so common anymore.

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