I receive a lot of emails. Most of them are okay, even welcome.
But some I don’t enjoy receiving–including a fair amount of spam. But even emails from friends can be upsetting sometimes.
I try to keep this rule for myself as I compose an email: would I want to receive this email? It usually stops me from hitting “Send” when I have just typed an angry or emotional response to a message I have received.
Another rule I try to follow: would this message be better received if I actually spoke to the person? This is especiallyimportant for me when I am communicating a message with emotional weight.
I recently came across this wisdom. The man who penned it, Rabbi Menachem Mendl of Kotzk, died in 1859. So he was not addressing email. But it seems applicable.
All that is thought should not be said, all that is said should not be written, and all that is written should not be printed.
Or as an old codger in the cartoon strip, “Shoe,” said–in response to the question, “How did you get to be so wise?–“It’s simple. Whenever I think of something stupid to say . . . I don’t say it.”