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Email Bullies

What to do about email bullies?

A site visitor writes:

Could you please evaluate this message? The “friend” that sends this states it means nothing to have the ???, !!! and cap letters, but he continues to do it. Sometimes he scares me with these type of communications. What should I do?

Jane:

Where have you been lately???????? Can you please just respond to me – NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It means nothing? The first sentence warrants one question mark. The multiple instances reflects emotion.

This appears to either be a very frustrated or extremely controlling person. If having multiple exclamation points or questions marks “means nothing”, then why are they including them and communicating in this manner? Clearly they are upset otherwise the caps and multiple instances would not be used.

Intentional or Just Ignorance?

There are many folks who do not realize the power of their written words and the corresponding punctuation. There are ramifications on how they choose to use them.

This certainly does not mean that the perceptions they are presenting, or the emotions they are insinuating are not there. They most certainly are!

Your friend is either showing their lack of online savvy or they know exactly what they are trying to accomplish. Making a demand that you respond. They apparently do not have the nerve to admit it when confronted.

By typing in caps, and by using !!!! or ??? they are typing to you with an overly aggressive and condescending tone. This comes off as a bully and not very nice. If that is not what they meant to relay, basic punctuation would have sufficed, right?

What is your next move?

You now need to decide how you are going to handle this. If this is someone you know very well, then have a discussion with them explaining that the way they communicate is something you don’t appreciate. And that it needs to stop.

You can send them to my articles:

If this pattern of communication continues, you may have to request that he no longer email you. After that, ongoing aggressive emails need to be reported to either the social platform they are being sent through or to local authorities.

Wise persons are those who think twice before speaking once.

Perhaps the greatest quality in a leader and the most valuable skill in building relationships is the ability to think before you speak. If you have a tendency to speak hastily in anger and regret your actions at leisure, the childhood admonition to count to ten before speaking will still serve you well.

When you pause-if only for a moment-to consider the consequences, you may think better of what you were about to say. And if you must speak strongly, it’s a good idea to sugarcoat the words-just in case you have to eat them later.

Napoleon Hill

Words + Punctuation = Tone & Intent

Some recklessly neglect to choose their words carefully, they use multiple instances of punctuation, bold words, turn on the caps and change entire sentences to red type all because they can. The above quote from Napoleon Hill applies to emails as well.

Maybe send this quote to those who do not yet understand the importance of thinking before they type (and click Send).

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