What To Do When You Receive a Rude Email

Rude and crass email are at an all time high. Emails blurting out demands or questions without the courtesy of a decent subject field or a thank you to follow. Questions or requests that are demanding a reply without the courtesy of a hello, or a closing that notes their name.

Could it be because manners are at an all time low off-line? Combine this with folks not learning the power of the written word or the skills to communicate clearly to reflect their tone and intent and you have a volatile combination. There are two assumptions here.

The first being that anything goes online. There are no rules, you can do what you want – period – and don’t try to tell anyone differently. Proof in point are the e-mails I receive through this site by those typing in caps with profanities questioning my content and opinions here at NetManners.com.

How dare I suggest that folks be courteous?  “The Internet is a “free-for-all” and there are no rules!!”

Secondly and a big contributor, is the belief that there is no good reason (even if there actually is one) for anyone to not say what they want when they want (freedom of speech issue).  Consideration for other’s feelings and opinions don’t matter when you can tap out some uninformed crudeness and hit Send.

Folks are quite bold in the anonymity being behind this screen offers them.

What do you do when you receive an email with and accusatory or rude tone? Well, I was a firm believer that you should respond to every email someone takes the time to send you – that is everything but spam. However, as of late, I have found myself at a loss for words when reading some of the email that has come my way. Folks who don’t know me using verbiage that makes my cheeks flush!

Unfortunately, I think all of us will have to deal with these “personalities” at one time or another and probably more so that any of us prefer. Here are some thoughts to help you decide if and how to deal with rude or nasty email:

  • If you receive an email with foul language and threats, know that this is against the TOS (Terms of Service) of all ISPs. Immediately send the email to abuse@ at their ISP. Keep the email on file if you need to refer to it or provide extra copies down the road.
  • When you receive an email that is blatantly rude or obnoxious and is not based in fact, think about if there is any constructive reason to respond. If the tone is so bad that you feel your blood pressure rise, wait until the next morning at the very least to even think about if you need to respond at all. Your ego is not large enough (I hope) to have the need to defend yourself when faced with incorrect accusations or personal digs, especially from folks who don’t know you. Don’t lower yourself to their level by responding to this type of email in kind. Hold yourself to a higher ground and do not respond at all regardless of the tone or accusations within.
  • If an uniformed Netizen who did not read the information on your site, a post somewhere online or possibly could have made an honest mistake, “kill” them with kindness and give them the benefit of the doubt. Most truly are not aware of the tone of their emails  nor do they expect you to take them at their word. All too often you’ll hear “I didn’t mean it that way….” Well, I have a saying around here, if you type it, you’d better mean it!
  • Onliners who email in this way simply do not realize the power of their words and the tone they are setting. Point out in a courteous way the information to correct the issue or point them to the area on your site or elsewhere that has the info they seek without personalizing the issue. Thank them for contacting you, sign off in a professional manner and hold your head high knowing you just provided a level of courtesy that is quite rare online. You may even be surprised when that very same Netizen sends you a thank you email! That being said, with some folks there is nothing you can do to sway them. Being correct, courteous and clear won’t matter – they simply will not admit to being misinformed or plain old wrong. Don’t take it personally, feel sorry for anyone with a mind that closed and move on.

Because you have a Web site, are visible in online forums, or are available via email in no way means that you must to respond to those who do not communicate with you in a respectful courteous manner. And, most likely those who do not communicate with courtesy and knowledge are folks none of us would care to form a relationship with or do business with anyway. So, don’t let worrying about losing that online “friend” or business “lead” cause you to lower your standards about how you are treated.

I receive on average over 500 emails each day. Most are positive and many are simply wonderful written by great people across the globe who have been to one of my sites and are asking my help or advice. However, for those who think they can just email and make accusations, rude statements, demands or requests without a hint of courtesy or consideration, well, they will not hear from me – DELETE!