Please Mr. Postman

On-line forums are a recent development in the modern world, an on-line space for people to ask questions, share ideas, seek advice and for some a place to share their frustrations.

Some of these on-line forums offer the ability for people to respond which then gets sent to the personal email address of the original poster.

There are no rules regarding this process, there is no written etiquette regarding people responding (or not) to the replies that people may send. But for some people, they feel that if they send an email in response that as a recipient you automatically enter into some kind of contract where a response or acknowledgment is required.

The ‘rules’ are foggy or unclear, but if somehow you do not respond in the appropriate way (to these unwritten rules) then some people feel it necessary to either contact you again to let you know you have let them down/ broken the rules, or go even further by going back to the original forum to create a new post to share their frustrations for  people not responding to them and feeling the need to express their feelings and frustrations on what makes their ‘blood boil’

For those people whose ‘blood boils’ or get angry and frustrated about people ‘not responding’ or ‘acknowledging’ an email from a stranger that happens in response to questions on public forums, I offer these suggestions

1 – Don’t respond to people’s questions. This may be difficult for you, but if your blood boils when people don’t respond, and lets face it, it will happen, and you know that your blood will boil if there is no response, then why contact them?

2- Accept that people are different to you. This may be a challenge, however in terms of self growth and development, it is a great opportunity for yourself to see how you fit into the world and allow difference to happen.

2 – Explore your feelings. This may be more of a challenge but if someone does not respond to your email, instead of feeling the need to share your feelings, write down for yourself what feelings this brings up for you. What do you feel when you have no response? Where in your body? Explore the possible reasons for these frustrations either by yourself or with a trained counsellor or therapist. It is not natural for someone’s ‘blood to boil’ from inaction. Perhaps in times of extreme stress, moving house, bereavement, relationship ending etc then you would be forgiven for the stress getting the better of you, But someone not responding to an email? Really?

3 – If you have rules regarding people responding or acknowledging your reply, do make it clear so that people know in the first place. But in saying that, be prepared that people may still not respond for a number of reasons. They still haven’t read your original email, the email didn’t actually arrive, they did not read your ‘rules’, they do not accept your ‘rules’ as a binding contract and/ or they might think you a little odd so thought best not to get involved further.

 

Finally, as an example, I offer a recent email conversation from someone who responded to my query in a forum. Almost 24 hours later I received an email saying

“In spite of receiving no reply or acknowledgment after sending you the message below…..”

I was taken aback, this was the first email I saw that morning after waking up, I aimed to remain calm and asked

“are you trying to suggest that i have done something wrong?”

I was informed of the ‘rules’

“The (name of forum) works best when people get useful results from their enquiries. I spent a few minutes simply offering you the benefit of our experience, and was awaiting to see if you would have been interested in (advice given). I gave that answer to you anyway. End of story. ”

This person clearly wanted to vent their frustrations at someone, it just happened to me. I was not about to defend myself, that would be descending to their level. They had not taken into account of me not having read the email yet, that I had a life and was out and about with no access to email, that I had not had the time to respond to the 20 responses I had received, that even after receiving and reading the email  – it is my choice, my life.

So all I could respond was

“I have not read your original email yet, I am well aware how forums work. Don’t email me again ”

 

I notice in my brief glance in such forums that this ‘must tell you the rules’ and ‘blood boiling’ and ‘rudeness’ which is associated to people ‘not responding’ or ‘acknowledging’ responses is clearly there and like a virtual dark cloud of negativity aims to rain on people’s lives by telling others how disappointed they are with each other.

It is a shame that the internet that can bring people and communities together can also shine a light on how deeply hurt and unhappy some people can be.

Peace and light to you all 🙂

 

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