Tuesday, January 24, 2012

There Are Emails and Then There Are Emaaails

Emails.   They can be life savers. You know, when you have to tell someone something important and you want proof that you did.  Or you email someone who is notorious for keeping you on the phone forever. Short and sweet. Or you email yourself a reminder, knowing you always check your account when you get home.  Or when you have to tell someone bad news. Who wouldn’t rather send an email, though that’s a little dangerous and you probably know why.  That leads into . . .  

Emails.  They can be the bane of our existence.  You send an email asking for clarification on someone’s email or you remind someone what they forgot to do. Or you make a statement, it can be positive but especially those that are negative, and before you know it, you’re in a heated email debate.  I hate those with a passion.  I’ve had the misfortune to be involved in three separate instances where people have become angry at something I’ve typed in an email. Working in a day job that includes mainly working with men, I’ve learned to be short and to the point. Nothing like my writing here or my romances.

The first time it happened, I tried my best to defuse it by explaining why I said what I did. When the angry emailer continued to blast me, I knew it wasn’t getting anywhere. Some people just want to take offense and see words that aren’t written in the email. In other words, they read between the lines. Sad thing, I try to be polite, but I never say anything I don’t mean. I have no idea what type of experiences that person has had in the past. She (yes, very sad thing, they’ve all been women) may have been lied to by another woman and she didn’t trust I was being truthful. Or she thought I was being sarcastic.  It’s a shame there are no fonts for Truthfulness, Teasing, Sarcasm, and Sincerity.

Another time, I simply asked a question that someone else had asked me.  I was mildly curious and a simple answer in turn would’ve satisfied me. Lord of Mercy, you would’ve thought I had questioned their ancestry. After learning from the previous time of how when someone doesn’t like you (that’s when I realized she didn’t – people who like you are less likely to get so offended when you ask a question and not even a personal one), I quickly apologized for the misunderstanding and never asked a question of that function again. Well, at least to that person within her hearing and certainly not in an email to anyone.

The doozy email problem was with an author I’d admired and really liked, and it had happened in-between the two above.  Looking back on it, I realized I could’ve handled it better.  It was during a stressful time for everyone, and I had already been on pins and needles as the author in a previous email had accused me of ignoring her at a function.  I cried when I got that email. Like I said it was stressful time and one of my favorite people was upset with me. Needless to say, when she began fussing at a meeting about how something was handled (she hadn’t attended a meeting in a year) and then emailed our chapter loop complaining, once again, I tried to explain, even stood up for myself. As you can imagine, it didn’t go well. She has spoken to me only once since then, but she hasn’t been to a writers meeting since. I hated that it happened, but we all must move on. Although, like I said, I could’ve handled it better, I know she wouldn’t listen to what I had to say as she’d already decided that I couldn’t be trusted. Too sad. 

If only these people knew, I’m so honest as sometimes I take on responsibility of things I later find out wasn’t my fault. I just assume I screwed up. I know I’m not perfect, wished I was. One thing I have realized, sounding like you’re too nice (giving truthful compliments about clothes or something they did) can make people who don’t like you think you’re insincere.

So what I’ve learned from all of this. Don’t have negative opinions in emails. If someone attacks you in an email or you think they have, ignore them. If you can’t, keep it short (that’s very important), polite, and if you must do so to defuse the situation, apologize, and then don’t answer any more of their emails about that subject afterwards.  Then if they continue to send accusations or whatever, others (if it is on a loop or public arena) will realize it wasn’t you, or if privately, they will realize you’re ready to move on and their insecurities are their problem.