“How to Nicely Ask Them to Stop”

How to ask them to please stop forwarding useless silly emails.

We all have folks in our lives that the only time we seem to hear from them is when they forward emails. Emails that many times we really don’t care about.

You would think those who know us would know what would truly be of interest to us. However, when it comes to forwarding useless emails it is all about what the sender thinks is important or interesting.

The reality is that we would actually prefer to hear from them in place of these quickie mass forwards. Especially forwards with long lists of others in the To or Cc fields, with no personal comment whatsoever.

Please Stop; Pretty Please

I was asked this week:

“How do I nicely ask someone to stop forwarding me jokes and chain emails?”
[email protected] Site Visitor

What I find interesting is the part about how to do so “nicely.” Of course, we all know how to ask nicely, right? But the thing is, we sort of know that no matter how nicely they ask, the other side will get mad, and there will be hurt feelings.

And, from what onliners share with me and my own personal experience, that is exactly what happens. The request is taken personally as if we don’t want to hear from them. Not true. We do — but without the silly forwards.

Unfortunately, in the 26 years I’ve been promoting Email Etiquette, no matter how “nice” you may be, many folks will take your request personally and get upset or mad. And if they don’t get mad, some will completely disregard your request and keep on forwarding.

What comes next:

“Please guide me so that I don’t say what I really want to say!!”
[email protected] Site Visitor

Restraint is always a good thing. Unfortunately, for some, being courteous and kind seems not to be typical online behavior. But, of course, you are better than that, so always err on the side of courtesy.

I get it. In today’s online environment, some think that no one should tell anyone else what to do. Forwards, tweets, posts — everything.

You can say what you want the way you want to say it, and the other side should just take it. However, that approach is not how you maintain and build relationships.

So, here’s what you do.

When emotions are involved, justifiably or not — that’s when it goes off the rails. So let’s use a little psychology.

Explain that you look forward to hearing from them but would appreciate being removed from their personal list of forwards. Use the excuse you have email overload and really only want to receive emails personally written from them to you.

Then, you can send them to this article: 5 Rules of Forwarding Email. So, for example, when sending them the link to my article, you could say something like:

I found this article that taught me a thing or two about what to consider when forwarding emails and thought you might find it helpful too!
You to Your Friend

When all else fails, I have an article on my site specifically created for folks to send people to where you can sit back and make me the bad guy where I talk directly to the habitual forwarder.

Hopefully, they will be courteous enough to honor your request and be more responsible about what and how they forward emails. Hey, one can hope, right?

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