DEAR MISS MANNERS: With the advent of so many ways to communicate, I am sometimes at a loss to know how to avoid misunderstandings and missed messages attributable to using the wrong medium.
Some of my friends and acquaintances prefer telephones to email, while others prefer text messages. Some prefer landlines to mobile phones, etc., ad infinitum.
Is there a rule, or at least an expectation, that one should reply to a message in the same medium in which it was proffered?
GENTLE READER: It is getting so that one has to keep dossiers on one’s friends: what do they refuse to eat, what forms of address (honorifics, surnames) do they find insulting, and now, what forms of communication do they refuse to use.
So yes, it would help to notice the means in which messages are sent, and to respond in kind. Miss Manners realizes that acceding to that preference deprives the flexible person of choice. But, then, those who will not speak by telephone and those who do not communicate by keyboard are not going to have a future together, anyway.