Thursday, May 3, 2012

My Love-Hate Relationship with Email

Email.  I have a love-hate relationship with it.

Staying in touch with my family.
Easily making plans with multiple friends.
Reaching out to potential clients.
Being able to write out what I want to say and edit it before sending.
Receiving a coupon or sale notification just when I need it.
Sending myself documents as a back-up save method.
Having the opportunity to respond when I have time, not immediately.


Becoming addicted to checking my inbox (and social media and blogs and...)
Second-guessing my wording or tone.
Contemplating how many exclamation marks are acceptable.
Realizing I'm being too wordy (gotta get to the point!)
Determining whether it's appropriate to use a emoticon.
Experiencing paranoia about the meaning of a message I received.
Feeling like I have to write back this minute.

So what do I do about these negative aspects?

I try to close my laptop, step away, and distract myself with another activity (which usually works really well).  Sometimes I even check the clock to see how long I can go without checking (within reason obviously... can't abandon my work or totally leave people hanging!).

I try to remember my mantra from this post on confidence: I am who I am.  Though it can apply to times when I'm taking a leap and putting myself out there, it can also relate to something as simple as emailing.  Once I hit send, others can read what I say and take it or leave it, but I can't be anyone but myself.  So if I want to say something a certain way, add a couple of exclamation marks, be a little verbose, or God forbid, accidentally make a typo... that's okay.  That's me.

I try not to read into other people's emails (this is a tough one for me!).  Everyone has a unique style, whether it be direct or drawn-out, business-like or more casual.  We can't always get our message across the right way in a quick email.  And as I have said before, you never know what other people are dealing with outside of your little electronic exchange.  The seemingly-harsh tone carried in an email may have nothing to do with you.

Maybe these thoughts can help some of you who also experience this love-hate relationship with email...  If you have other tips for overcoming the negatives, I'd love to hear them.


  1. Melissa! You struck a chord with me here. I think this is such a problem not only for writers, but for anyone whose craft requires a computer.

    I too struggle with reading into others' emails -- what did they mean by that? Is he/she mad? And you are so right, Melissa, that everyone has a unique style and we never know what a person faced just before writing the email. Especially when someone might be replying by cell phone, the person could be distracted. GOOD INSIGHTS, friend! Thank you!

  2. ohhh don't i know these perils well! that cartoon is dead accurate, to my chagrin!

    and i play the "how long can i go without checking?" game too!

  3. I can relate to that cartoon all too well -- this is such a great post!


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