updated 7/10/2007 2:54:16 PM ET 2007-07-10T18:54:16

Learning that you’ve been fired can take many forms: A face-to-face meeting, a telephone call, the much-dreaded pink slip. But an instant message?

According to a new survey, 14 percent of men said they would use an IM with an emoticon — one of those animated faces that range from a happy grin to an angry screamer — to fire someone.

Only 11 percent of women reported the same, according to the nonscientific survey conducted by Yahoo!

When it’s a personal relationship that’s getting the boot, slightly fewer people would resort to an online chat to say “things just aren’t working out.”

At the same time, more than half of respondents said they would rather confess their feelings to a crush using an emoticon than in person. Ten percent said they’d even propose marriage via an instant message.

The survey included 40,000 Yahoo! Messenger users.

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