Everyone knows you shouldn’t write an email when you are angry. It’s common knowledge now in that same way everyone knows you shouldn’t play baseball in a lightning storm.
I even included this well-known fact in an article for our company newsletter recently. It was number six of a list of common email mistakes: composing an email in a hurry or when you are angry.
It’s easy to misread the tone or subtext of an email, so don’t assume the snarky voice in your head is how the sender intended it. Or even if it is, don’t send an email you will regret after you have calmed down or taken a minute to think about it, I wrote.
And then yesterday, after sending an email I thought would be helpful, I received back a message that was arrogant and presumptuous. It made me mad. I grabbed the mouse, clicked the reply button, and furiously began typing.
My email back began with “Well, apparently . . .” and it went downhill from there. Long before I even thought about hitting the send button, and in fact, long before I even finished composing the email, however, I grabbed the mouse again and clicked the giant X button. Delete.
“Don’t send an email you will regret after you have calmed down.”
It’s that third one that tripped Megan up.
I did that five years ago. I can admit it now. I painted this house just after we bought it, when I was angry that we had bought it. I was angry that it was smaller than our previous house and not nearly as cute.I was angry that there was no affordable housing in this tourist town. And I was angry that we had finally fixed up our old house in Waco (by ourselves!) and then had to move to Fredericksburg before we could enjoy the fruits of our labor. So I painted angry and it showed.
That’s what happens when we respond out of anger. We think we are getting the job done in spite of ourselves, but everyone else can see that we are just making a mess of things.
In previous situations, when I have typed and typed and gone on to hit send on an angry email, there were usually meetings required to smooth things over, and more emails to send, and occasionally even tears shed before the whole thing is cleaned up.
Fixing an angry paint job is no less daunting. Megan’s story went on:
Over Spring Break, my husband and kids painted the exterior of this house, and I am still painting the interior. I’m not angry now. I chose colors that actually work with this house, not the colors I wanted to work.
Of course, I didn’t tell Bonnie at the paint store that the previous awful painter was Yours Truly.
“You’re sure getting a lot of paint,” Bonnie said.
“Yes,” I said. “Our house is one of those ’70s houses that no one loved, and we’re finally fixing it up.”
“What color was it before?”
“Yellow! Can you believe it?” I said.
I don’t get angry very often, but I am certainly heeding Megan’s advice about no angry painting. I’ve got a green wall in the spare bedroom that says I have a hard enough time choosing colors when I’m not angry.
Now about those emails . . .
Join me for regular jaunts around The High Calling network, randomly visiting fellow bloggers, soaking up their words and ideas, and then coming back here to write about them from my perspective. This is what The High Calling network is all about, after all.
Our site is about casting a vision that is clear enough and inspiring enough that our readers can run with it on their own sites. We then spend the majority of our editorial time listening to them on their sites and helping them shine as writers. We believe in the power of the laity so much that we are relying on them and their audiences to help spread the vision that has been given to us. – Marcus Goodyear, senior editor, thehighcalling.org (from “The Challenge, Strategy, and Execution of Combining Web Properties” by Dan King on churchcrunch.com)
Each Thursday, consider going “There and Back Again” yourself. It’s simple.
1.) Choose another High Calling Blogger to visit. It can be someone you have “met” before, or do what I do, and work your way through the “Member Posts” section of thehighcalling.com to meet someone new.
2.) Visit his blog, digesting the message until it becomes something that you can write about.
3.) Go back to your blog and write about it, being sure to link to the post that gave you the idea so that your readers can visit, too.
4.) Add the button above to your blog so your readers know you are participating in “There and Back Again.”
5.) Go back to the Network blog and leave a comment so your new friend can feel the link love!
6.) Complete the journey by returning here, to Wide Open Spaces, and enter your link so that we all can benefit from the new High Calling connection you have made.