Patience before sending saves relationships
Getting the last word feels great! It feels so beautifully indulgent and victorious to hit that perfect phrasing that makes the other person realize how wrong they were.
If only you could see them reading it, wincing, and realizing they should apologize. What satisfaction it would bring.
What a great fantasy.
Too bad life doesn’t work out that way.
You’ve no doubt received a snarky email like I described. Do you ever remember someone’s insulting you leading you to change your mind or think more highly of them? I doubt it.
I think I have indulged myself in those fantasies and sent such emails. I doubt it once led to lasting satisfaction.
My strategy for getting back at people by email
My strategy for getting back at people by email: I don’t. Not by email. Not by any other way.
When I find myself writing a snarky email, I may indulge myself in writing it. Then I remove the most self-indulgent part. Then I reread the email and take out anything else self-indulgent. Then I reread and keep removing until I have only useful material, no matter what my mood. Sometimes five paragraphs of vitriol get reduced to a single sentence like
I’ve never regretted sending a short email like that. I can’t tell you how many times I learned I misinterpreted someone’s motivation, the short email improved the relationship, and only I secretly knew the disaster I averted through discipline and patience over self-indulgence and self-righteousness.
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