It started with a kiss… How use of Xs in texts and emails spark more than HALF of office affairs
14:04 GMT, 23 August 2012
More than half of office affairs start with flirting colleagues putting an X at the end of a text or an email, a new survey has revealed.
But in many cases the kisses used in electronic communications are misconstrued.
Both men and women wrongly assume that a message ending in an X is a come-on – when, in fact, a work colleague is merely being friendly.
The sign: 55% of women said an office affair had begun with an X in a message
The results give a valuable insight into dating etiquette in the electronic age – and how Xs are being used to instigate sex.
The dating website WhatsYourPrice.com polled 1,000 British members on the significance of Xs in emails.
An over-friendly 40 per cent of women and 10 per cent of men put Xs in emails to their boss, while 86 per cent say they mark mails to ordinary colleagues with a kiss.
In a stark warning to those who litter their electronic correspondence with kisses, the study discovered that 35 per
cent of women and a quarter of men said that they had sent messages
bearing kisses which had been wrongly seen as sexual by the recipient.
It found that 55 per cent of women and 60 per cent of men who had had an affair with work admitted it had been initially sparked by Xs in messages.
The results showed that 90 per cent of women and 85 per cent of men said that if they received a message with an X on it before a first date then the possibility of intimacy increases.
And 82 per cent of women and 70 per cent of men said more Xs on texts or emails showed a greater level of flirtation.
Direct communication: A woman reads her email as a guy looks on. Texts and emails can allow greater intimacy than talking
Denise McCallum, 28, said that the whole issue of putting Xs on texts and emails was a crucial signal on the dating scene.
She said: 'Of course I use Xs to show a guy I am keen. The more Xs, the keener I am.
'Everyone these days is putting Xs on their emails.
'Emails and texts allow you to become much more intimate with a person than you would be either in person or on the phone.
'And the use of an X is a crucial way of trying to get the relationship on a more intimate footing than merely friendship.
'Whereas with girlfriends I will put
Xs on texts or emails to just be friendly, I know from experience that
men are much more calculating and will often use a X to try to
'I am great at working out when an X is merely someone being friendly and when an X means they want sex.
'I think men are less good at picking up these signals. They can often get the wrong end of the stick.
is absolutely true is that almost all office lotharios use Xs
liberally in emails and texts. It is a crucial part of their armoury.
'They sprinkle their texts and emails with kisses all the time – if you throw enough mud at a wall, some of it sticks.'
Denise, who has dated several men on WhatsYourPrice, said it’s not just Xs which are used to establish intimacy.
She added: 'You even have the Prime Minister ending his emails in LOL, thinking it means Lots of Love. The internet is a big short-cut to intimacy. There are all sorts of new ways to show someone that you are attracted to them.'
Misconstrued A man looks longingly at his colleague who appears wary
While most British people are fairly relaxed about using Xs in emails, this is not the case elsewhere in the world.
In America, a kiss is normally only used in a message to a loved one or family member.
Dating expert Helen Croydon said: 'Because email is still a relatively new form of communication, people are still not sure how to interpret Xs.
'Clearly they are a great way of quickly establishing intimacy when you are dating.
'I never put an X in a professional email. To me that would be girlie and dipsy.
'For that reason, if I get one back from a man I immediately see that as flirtatious.
'Women often exchange Xs with friends – that is a simple way of reaffirming friendship and establishing trust.
'Women who receive Xs on an email from a man will almost always interpret this as flirtation, unless the man is gay.'
WhatsYourPrice founder Brandon Wade said: 'We are learning so much about the whole etiquette of dating through the internet.
'It allows couples to establish intimacy much more quickly and freely express exactly what they want. That has to be a good thing.
'Most women want a generous partner who will treat them like a lady and show them a good time. If putting an X at the end of an email helps them to achieve that then that has to be a good thing.'
WhatsYourPrice has pioneered a new form of dating where generous people – male or female – will pay for the chance to go on a date.