23 Feb Hiding Behind Email
“Why can’t I just send her an email?” asks Vonda as she prepares to tell a colleague that she hasn’t finished some promised work.
“I want to email my boss and tell her that I can’t come in tomorrow – what’s wrong with that?” from Endora.
Ronan has secured a coveted interview for his friend. “I can’t wait for him to get my email about this!” he says.
There are many reasons to choose email over actual human contact but not all of those reasons are good ones. What’s going on in these situations:
– Vonda wants to avoid her colleague’s irritation. Or, more accurately, she wants to avoid being present when her colleague shows her irritation. An understandable desire, but sending bad news in this impersonal way suggests that Vonda doesn’t consider the situation important enough to risk feeling uncomfortable. In person, she could show her concern and maybe establish a comfortable agreement going forward.
– Endorra may ascribe to the view that it’s easier to get forgiveness than permission. Talking to the boss in person may lead to conversations that Endorra doesn’t want to have. Unless she knows that her boss is comfortable with this level of email communication, she might not want avoidance to become part of her relationship with a supervisor.
– Ronan just wants to do a nice thing for his friend, and this email will be welcome. But Ronan is depriving himself of one of the joys of friendship: sharing in good news. Why not deliver this message in person and have some happy dancing together?
Many emails are sent with bad news, questionable news, vague requests, and cheerful announcements with no negative consequences. But some would benefit from a little forethought. Before you hide behind an email, check to see what you’re avoiding. You may save yourself some trouble – or gain some fun – in the long run