How to Kill A Relationship in One Easy Step
I learned an indelible lesson about written communication when I was in 7th grade Spanish class. No- we didn’t have email back in the Stone Age, but bear with me. My mother had taught me to NEVER put anything in writing that wasn’t meant to be read by many, with the exception of writing in my journal. But in a moment of frustration and anger, I wrote on my paper in class “Bissell is a b—-“. I failed to see Mrs. Bissell working her way around the class and reading over my shoulder. Busted. I can still feel the heat as my cheeks flamed in embarrassment. Lesson learned.
What does this have to do with email?
Email is a convenient, non-intrusive way to communicate information. But it’s a lousy way to communicate emotion-laden messages. It’s entirely too easy for people to “read between the lines” and inject hidden meaning where maybe there is none. Furthermore, don’t assume the message will only be read by the recipient. They can forward it, print it, re-read it, stew on it… you get the picture. The inherent danger of email is that it’s fast. It’s too easy to fire off a message when you’re angry. It’s easy to kill a relationship in one touch of the “Send” button. So what’s the safeguard?
PICK UP THE PHONE.
Otherwise, you might be like a 7th grader in Spanish class- writing something in a moment of anger and frustration that you’ll regret for a very long time.