Sometimes the best e-mails are those that you have not sent
Remember the Garth Brooks song about thanking God for unanswered prayers? Well, that is not much different from not sending e-mails that you wrote in anger, love, or any other significant emotional state. Some mails are just better never sent, because they tend to work like a concrete trampoline. (Click to tweet this)
There is the thing about e-mail that appeals to a lot of people: You can track and document them in case you ever need them again. Trouble is that the written word can be interpreted in more than one way. Typically, the key malfunction of us humans kicks in that sees a problem before an opportunity and to top it off, a lot of people take it personally. This can lead to even more intense (meaning nasty) return mails.
How do you deal with this issue when your stomach and head are really turned into a pretzel and you just want to lay your law down for the others to abide by. Perhaps, you are just frustrated and want to vent. There are many occasions when you just want to let it rip. Trust me, I know how that feels because I have been there many a times.
There is a really easy recipe to follow when you are dealing with writing angry -or other emotional states – mails. Type your e-mail and just let your emotions flow. This really lets you deal with your emotions for one and on the other hand it provides you with an opportunity to sort your thoughts and you have thus an opportunity to figure out why you are really angry.
When you do this, make sure that you only have one address filled out in the To and CC lines. Why? Simply, you do not want to prematurely fire this off without first thinking about it again. More practically speaking though, you are merely trying to buy time to do more formatting and reviewing of your content.
Here comes the tempting and challenging part. Resist the urge to immediately clicking on Send. Instead, save this mail in your draft folder. At an absolute minimum please wait to respond at least 30 minutes, preferably wait 24 hours before reading it one more time and only then sending it. Some of you may say, but Ralf how about the Recall Mail button? How about it? I have found it to be useless and before you know it your rant may show up on Youtube etc when you let it rip.
Bring some time between you and the event leading up to you getting upset or angry. Of course you may still send it, if you still feel you have to make a point that the other party (and perhaps your close family and friends) needs to ponder their actions. Make sure that the fight is just, fair and fast. Do not offend and keep your ego in check. Otherwise, keep them in your draft folder and look at them once in a while as a reminder how most of the time they are a blessing when they are not sent.