Tx is short for f*** you, not thank you

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Today’s practice: Write your thank yous instead of abbreviating them.

Last night, I caught myself on the verge of a profound etiquette violation. A colleague had replied quickly and helpfully to an email I had sent, asking for information, and my breezy reply ended “tx”. She had taken the time to answer my question in the middle of her busy day, and I couldn’t spare the  extra 2 seconds to type out the full “thank you”.

That’s the kind of violation that reminds me of the relationship between good manners and human decency. Saying “thank you” isn’t just a formality: it’s an actual expression of appreciation, an acknowledgement of the effort or kindness someone else has shown.

It’s easy for the fast pace of life online, or the slow pace of typing on an iphone, to erode our commitment to those deeply meaningful human courtesies. Especially when so many of us have bought into the idea that we should be sending pro forma thanks for each retweet or mention — a practice that cheapens the thank you, and pressures us into condensing it so that it fits in 140 characters.

If you’re writing a tweet, it is fine to embrace the “tx” — so that you have room for a more personalized acknowledgement. “Tx for the lovely tweet — it was so delightful to hear how my post helped you plan your new (very cool) campaign)” is a well-used abbreviation. “Tx for the RT” is meaningless, and training you in the bad habit of the empty thank-you.

And if you’re on email, the only time to use “tx” is as a sign-off (in place of “yours” or “xo”). As an expression of gratitude, it’s more of an f-you than a thank-you. As in, I’m too busy, or your contribution was too trivial, to warrant real appreciation.

A real thank-you deserves all eight letters. Maybe the practice of typing them will inspire you to offer even more articulate appreciation for the people who are helping you at work and beyond.

5 Comments on this site

  1. Eric Andersen

    Thank you for this post! 🙂 I wholeheartedly agree, and this is just another aspect of my steadfast belief that abbreviations should be avoided, even in constricted settings such as Twitter. Proper writing and clear communication shouldn’t be dropped simply because the medium has changed.

  2. Joe

    I almost typed laughing out loud in it’s abbreviated form.

  3. Katra

    I really enjoyed this piece as it brings us all back to being humans and that ‘thank you’ means more than the abbreviations. Thanks for sharing..

  4. Branded Items

    I could not agree more! When writing emails, I make sure I use the full word “thank you” or “thanks”. It seems so rude just to type “TX” when there is no character limit. Using “TX” can be justifiable if there is character limit like Twitter.

  5. branded items

    people should practice some cellphone and texting ethics. By which this could also cause us misinformation and misunderstanding of the message. Especially if we are not familiar with this kind of text and would end up confused.

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