Doing Life Together

ID-10067034It happens to all of us. Someone sends an email that upsets us and we react by firing off an angry response. This impulse to react usually leads to regret and ends up damaging our relationships.

So how do we respond to hurt, upset or accusation from an email? And what do we do if we react in anger and wish we hadn’t? Here are 10 tips:

1) Don’t respond right away. Pause, sit with the feeling and don’t do anything. Rather than react from emotion, take time to calm down so you can react from a thinking position.

2) Write your response and store it in draft. Be careful though because you can hit send by mistake even in draft. Better yet, write your response on a Word document and let it sit for awhile. Come back to it later and read it with a clearer head. Decide then to delete, revise or send.

3) When you write, picture the person on the other end. Imagine sitting face-to-face and saying out loud what you are writing. This may temper your words and tone.

4) If you sent an angry email, pick up the phone and apologize. Don’t try to minimize what you did. Just say, “I wrote out of anger and that was not smart.  I should not have done that. I am so sorry.”

5) If your reaction to an email is intense, send a note that says, “I’ll respond a little later. Need time to process,” rather than avoiding the person or a response all together.

6) Search your heart and pray. Why are you reacting the way you are? Is it a good idea to repay evil for evil? Do you value the relationship enough to not lash out in revenge?

7) Have a third party read your email and tell you whether it sounds angry or defensive. Someone who is not emotionally involved can be more objective.

8) Remind yourself that once you write and hit send, it can’t be taken back. You can apologize but words are powerful and wound.

9) Give the person the benefit of the doubt. Even if you feel the email is angry or accusatory, check with the person first and ask about tone or meaning. Don’t assume.

10) Don’t send angry emails at all. The best solution is not to write an email when you are angry or upset. Better to find the person, talk in person and work things out the old fashion way-one on one.


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