Majority of Kiwis admit hiding behind keyboards for tough conversations, and many confess feeling guilty about it

More than half of Kiwis (57 percent) avoid having tough face-to-face conversations and hide behind written communication to deliver the news, according to the latest findings from a nationwide survey commissioned by 2degrees.

Though we are doing this thinking we’re taking the easier route, we know it’s not the best choice and almost half (49 percent) of us confess we feel guilty for doing so. That doesn’t apply if you’re over 55 – for that age group attempts to lay on a guilt trip are futile, with little over a third caring.

City dwellers are the biggest avoiders with Wellingtonians (51 percent) and Aucklanders (47 percent) most likely to cop out of hard face-to-face chats compared to those in regional areas, who are significantly more likely to face the music in person.

Relationship expert Dr Anna Martin has teamed up with 2degrees to make sense of the findings and encourage Kiwis to have a #GoodChat about their communication habits.

“While technology has changed the ways we communicate with each other, there are some conversations that still benefit from old fashioned face-to-face contact,” she says.

“Though it may be tempting to hit send and be done with it, delivering difficult news this way can lead to serious misunderstandings as the message can be lost in translation or taken out of context,” says Dr Martin.

Dr Martin says that without the subtleties of face-to-face conversations such as body language and friendly small-talk, difficult news can be interpreted by the receiver as a bolt from the blue, and much harder to digest. 

The research also found that over one third of New Zealanders (35 percent) experienced unintentional conflict with their partners as a result of written communication. In most cases, problems arose when the message was perceived as being too blunt (53 percent) or simply misunderstood (51 percent).

An undeniably modern-day conundrum, one in ten Kiwis (11 percent) said they have also clashed with their partners after inappropriate emoji use.

“So much of our communication is non-verbal, which is lost when communicating via text, email or through a messaging app.  The written word can often appear harsher than intended as you can’t soften the message through a smile or change in tonality or inflection,” says Dr Martin.

For people who want to make more of an effort to have difficult conversations in the most effective way, Dr Martin says having insight into what you want to achieve is key.

“Ask yourself ‘what is the desired outcome?’ If it helps, write down what you want to say to avoid going off topic or becoming overly emotional. But most importantly, breathe, slow things down andapproach the conversation with openness and a willingness to also hear and validate the other person’s experience, which helps resolve the issue,” says Dr Martin.

Stewart Sherriff, 2degrees CEO, says the company was curious to find out how New Zealanders are communicating with the people who are important in their lives. 

“Our business connects millions of Kiwis every day, and through the #GoodChat campaign we want to start a conversation about how we can use that unprecedented connection to have more meaningful communications with those closest to us.”

To hear more from Dr Martin about how to communicate confidently and constructively with those closest to you, visit

For further information please contact:

Katherine Cornish

021 947 835

About 2degrees:

Communication comes naturally to you. It’s easy. And at 2degrees we want to keep it that way.

Back in 2009 we burst into the market determined to give Kiwis a better choice of telco and a fairer deal. From day one we challenged the status quo by halving the price of calls and texts and overnight freeing people to use their mobile for less than ever before.

Since then we’ve invested more than $680m into building our own new mobile network to cover 98.5% of the places that New Zealanders live, work and play. Later, we set our sights on broadband and acquired a NZ-based internet service provider in 2015 to offer ADSL, VDSL and UFB services, supported by award-winning, NZ-based customer care.

In 2017 we announced a maiden profit of $13.4m for the year ended December 31 2016. Today we’re a fast growing business with more than one million customers, a 1200-strong team and 55 retail outlets throughout the country.