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E-mail Narcissism

What is a Narcissist?

A narcissist is defined as “someone in love with themselves”:

nar?cis’sism: n

  1. Excessive love or admiration of oneself.
  2. A psychological condition characterized by self-preoccupation, lack of empathy, and unconscious deficits in self-esteem.

So, based on the above, one can easily surmise what email narcissism is right? And, if you look at some of the issues that cause you to pause by others who email you it is usually because they are only thinking of themselves.

Or are you the narcissist?

A few folks have shared with me some of the emails they received. Even threads that turned argumentative. I just shook my head.

One case in particular the recipient really tried to take the high-road when being sent downright accusatory and nasty emails. They tried to explain their point of view in an adult manner. Void of emotion or return accusations. The other side was so into scolding that they wouldn’t listen to any explanation. Narcissism…

Another case was clearly due to a misunderstanding and/or over use of formatting. Subsequent emails stated “I didn’t mean how you are taking this!”. We’ve discussed that excuse before! It’s not a valid excuse. Narcissism again. Our priority was to make our point to the point of not being clear about our intent. This would have only taken another sentence or two to avoid.

Not Considering the Other Side’s Perception

Nasty emails that I receive in my inbox from any of my blogs mostly come from those who reject the idea that they should think of others and that they “have the right not to”. Wow. Sort of feel sorry for onliners who feel that way.

Yes, you have the right to not communicate as an adult with courtesy and understanding. Freedom of speech and all! I agree — you do have the freedom to do or not do whatever you like. But understand that with those choices you then have to accept the repercussions.

When it comes to your email communications, it would behoove you to not just think about yourself or what it is you want to accomplish at that given moment. Think about how your actions (or lack thereof) and words will be viewed by the other side. Read your emails out loud and make darned sure your intent — and tone — is clear.

Things like ignoring emails or quick blunt replies can leave incorrect undesirable impressions. Assuming what someone meant in lieu of asking — well, you know what happens when you assume!

This is interactive technology. It isn’t a one-sided deal. Every email you send will be opened (you hope) and viewed by another human being on the other side. As a civilized and educated society, common courtesy dictates that we think about how our actions will be perceived by and impact others.

Not choosing your words carefully, not taking the time to include a greeting and closing, exposing other’s addresses, typing in cryptic thoughts instead of correctly spelled and structured sentences are some indications that the sender is only thinking of themselves.

What is ironic is that email narcissism doesn’t have to exist at all! Minuscule time and effort is all it takes by each and every one of us stop and take a moment to think of the other side when we are creating and responding to emails. Are you in?

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