Before you hit that Reply button and start typing a cryptic emotional response that you may later regret, sit back and carefully reread the e-mail you are responding to making sure to take in its intent in its entirety. If you are very upset; wait until the next morning before considering even if you should respond!
When an email upsets you, take the time to read it out loud — word for word — and you may find that your perception changes. If you react emotionally to one part of an e-mail without looking at the message as a whole, you can many times take the senders meaning out of context.
The last thing you want to do is send off a reply that filled with accusations (and the formatting to back up your emotional state at the time) when, if you would have reread the e-mail and took it at its face value, you could have saved yourself embarrassment. Believe me, more times than not we incorrectly assume the other sides meaning and intent.
Make sure you are not reading anything into the e-mail that isn’t there! I know that is easier said than done — but you should not jump to conclusions about comments that were not included or twist those around that were.
I see this happen every day. “I thought that they meant….” when in fact the e-mail in question did not show anything to that effect. The person was reading more into the typed words than was actually there (or didn’t take the time to read the e-mail in its entirety).
Or, worse yet, one chooses to imply their own meaning regardless of the words typed by not taking what an e-mail has within seriously or verbatim. Taking comments personally is a choice — a choice you make that many times was not meant as such.
Take the senders words at their face value (good or bad) and don’t assume anything that isn’t there. If you still feel upset, take the time to ask the sender first if how you perceived their words is what they really meant — before you fly off the handle. Maybe consider picking up the phone before assuming? You may find you avoid hurt feelings and misunderstandings by asking instead of reacting!
Have you run into this type of situation? Were you misunderstood or did you misread the senders intentions? How were things resolved?