There it is, lurking in your email client: that email you’ve been meaning to respond to for months or even years now, making you feel guilty for not being more on your reply-game. Maybe you’ve archived it but you still see your response lingering in drafts. Or, maybe it’s marked as important or unread in your inbox, so you see it every time you login. Regardless, that email is always there, waiting for a reply that for whatever reason you don’t want to write.
The Reasons for Not Replying to an Email are Many
There is the obvious one: your inbox is too flooded and that important email got swept up into the trash bin or knocked down in the priority list as other more pressing matters rolled in. But there is often something deeper and more psychological about why you may not be replying. Maybe it’s that the email you received requires a thoughtful, emotional reply. A reply you want to give, but just don’t have the bandwidth for. Sometimes you delay because you’re anxious about saying the right thing. Or, you think the email requires a certain intimidating length. Other times it’s because you don’t want to do what’s been asked of you, but you don’t want to hurt the other person’s feelings in saying no.
And so you think, “I’ll reply to this later today.” Later today becomes tomorrow. Then next week. Next month. And even next year. Until finally it’s too awkward to reply at all. Doing so would require too much explanation and overcoming too much embarrassment.
There’s only one way to remedy this: Email Debt Forgiveness Day.
That’s right, thanks to the hosts of Reply All, a podcast about internet culture, April 30th is now the day when we are all allowed to reply to those lingering emails without any explanation as if no time has passed since it was first sent. Just include this link to the explainer in your reply:
…and your recipient has to forgive your debt.
Not sure what you’ll spend your day responding to?
Here are a few excellent possibilities:
- That email from your kid’s teacher about that extremely embarrassing thing they did at school that you were hoping would just resolve itself.
- The one from your neighbor complaining about your perfect pooch doing her business all over their lawn.
- That email from that person you knew twenty years ago that’s full of juicy updates that you so want to respond to, but haven’t known quite how.
- That super serious, intense email from a former friend, girlfriend/boyfriend, business partner or bandmate that requires time, attention, and tact to respond to.
- That email in which that one person in your life who loves to tell you what to do — surprise! — tells you what to do. Normally you’d just do what they’d ask, but now you’re ready to draw a boundary…even though you keep pushing it off.
Whatever emails are waiting for you, get rid of that inbox guilt! This April 30th get typing and start forgiving. It’s time to get those intimidating emails out of your life!
And of course, should that email (or emails) get lengthy, just make sure you’re typing on a Goldtouch ergonomic split keyboard. You’re much more likely to finish if you’re not typing through pain.
Share your stories of Email Debt Forgiveness Day. Let us know all about your experiences — and what’s been lingering in your inbox — in the blog comments below.