Have you ever heard the saying “Thou Protest Too Much?” What that saying implies is that by protesting too much about something, you are in fact showing your true colors about the topic that you are so emotional about.
Same goes for e-mail. When you jump to conclusions or protest too much, you are saying quite a bit more than you probably want to about the kind of person you are — and what you think of others. Here’s an example of how jumping to incorrect conclusions can cause you embarrassment or show that you can’t stop thinking about yourself long enough to see the forest through the trees.
I was contacted by an individual that wanted to do an interview with me with for an article in a big name magazine. I immediately replied and stated I looked forward to working with them on their project. Moments later down comes a second e-mail from this individual.
They had received my automated response that e-mails to this site receive, that states clearly, in caps at the top, that it is just that — an automated response. The autoresponder goes on to explain that due to all the spam, off-line etiquette questions and e-mail from students who want answers to their homework in lieu of reading my site, that only sincere site visitor e-mails will be responded to.
The second e-mail from this person who wanted to interview me was very condescending. They choose to take my autoresponder personally — as an indication of me not knowing WHO they were. Sheesh…
Clearly this person was not asking off-line etiquette questions nor were they a student trying to avoid doing their homework. So why such a visceral reaction? They didn’t read the entire autoresponder — the root of most online misunderstandings — or they wouldn’t have jumped to this conclusion. They choose to put the message in the context of “She may not respond to ME? The nerve!”
This is a perfect example of how someone can read into an e-mail what isn’t there or intended. By reading more into it than the words actually state. By putting their ego into a message that had nothing to do with them.
There was no reason to jump to the conclusion they did. They choose to flex their ego in a way that certainly didn’t leave them in an attractive light. I won’t respond in kind. I’ll just leave it out there as a learning experience.
So don’t jump to conclusions or make assumptions above the words actually typed. Be very careful to not read meaning or intent that is the specifically clearly implied. If ever in doubt as to someone’s aim or purpose, just ask! By doing so you’ll avoid unnecessary misunderstandings or poor perceptions. I’ll close with another saying. “Better safe than sorry.”