Is a “Dear John” E-mail Appropriate?

In a recent interview I was asked if on a scale of one to ten, with ten being the worst, how appropriate is it to break up with someone via email? My initial reaction was that I couldn’t believe that question was being asked. To me, common sense and courtesy would dictate the obvious answer. 10!

E-mail is a wonderful communication tool but like all tools how it is used is unique to each individual user’s idea of what is okay or appropriate. In this case here are my thoughts:

  1. If you are on the receiving end of a “Dear John” email be glad you found out now rather than later the complete lack of character and respect being reflected by the person you thought cared about you. Use this situation to confidently find someone who will not mock your feelings with a choice like this.
  2. If you are the one sending a “Dear John” email know that by doing so it will be clear you are void of intestinal fortitude and integrity as reflected by your narcissistic lack of concern for the other persons feelings.
  3. While email is fast and easy, there are times, like breaking up with someone, where you need to do what is right and have that tough discussion in person or at the very least on the phone. That is simply what adults do.

Of course my point of view doesn’t apply to online only “relationships” where electronic communications have been the sole point of contact or where ones safety would be jeopardized when meeting in person. (I have to put that in writing to avoid just some of the nasty emails I know will come my way.)

Before sending any type of email that is emotional and sensitive in nature, pause for a moment and ask yourself how you would like to be treated. Would you prefer that news of that kind be provided to you in an email or would you prefer a more personal approach?

As with many things in life, making the right choices for the situation at hand requires that sometimes we acknowledge that right thing to do is sometimes the most difficult.

Have you ever been on the receiving end of a Dear John email? How did you handle that and did you reply? Or, if you’ve ever sent a Dear John email share with us your reasons for doing so below.

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