The unanswered email syndrome

Does this happen to you, too? If you were to add up all the emails you send, and subtract that from all the personal emails you receive, you’d end up with some huge deficit? That is, are you like me? You send about ten times more emails than are answered, right? Where do they go? I was thinking the other day of collecting all the emails I have written over the years that were not responded to and put them in a collection. That and the ones that I put a whole lot of effort into and received a dismissive response.

True, people are not obligated in any way to respond to email. Of course not! We cannot expect them to respond. But sometimes, I know people do write back. They respond selectively, though. In other words, they do respond. If they think you’re worth it. Sometimes, a non-response says, “I only respond to the elite, I do not respond to peons like you.” Or, “I only respond for those worthy of my time. You aren’t.” Or, “I put your email on the back burner because everyone else’s was far more important. Yours was the least important.”

I guess I am the type to write back no matter what. I really do! Only if a person is being particularly obnoxious do I not write back. And the other reason is if I think I wrote back but lost track, and actually, I didn’t. Or if your email ended up in Spam, or mine did. These things happen. I think responding is the responsible thing to do. Even if it’s to say, “I’m on my way out and will be gone three days with no internet. I’ll get back to you ASAP.” That way, the person at least gets acknowledgement. I guess other folks have no clue that it does indeed send a negative message when they do not reply. And the bounce-back is kinda worse, don’t you think? Depending.

I suppose we cannot expect a response from a complete stranger or celebrity, and by all means, shouldn’t. But if the person is a fairly good acquaintance, then I personally would write back. I would not suggest writing back to a stalker. That’s common sense. Nor would I suggest ever bombarding a person with emails, unless invited to do so. Answering once as replying when emailed is not bombarding. Sending repeated emails just because you do not get a response might be considered obnoxious or a turnoff.

If I write to someone, and the result is a non-response, I make a decision. Either I don’t write again, or I wait a very long time before ever trying another time. The result is usually the same, but not always. We cannot jump to conclusions. After all, there’s such thing as a long trip on a desert island with no electricity and no gadgets. Ah, doesn’t that sound nice? Oh, the person could be dead, too. I’m not supposed to say that, though.

2 thoughts on “The unanswered email syndrome”

  1. Julie, A few years ago I heard about a winner of the “Oddest Book Title of the Year” award that really sums up how I feel after emailing and/or snail mailing countless politicians, journalists and academics about the travesty of children being forced to take anti-psychtoic drugs, hoping they’d use their position to speak out about it, and hearing absolutely nothing from any of them: “People Who Don’t Know that They’re Dead.” I’ve seriously wondered if I’m one of them, for all the effect I’ve had on this damned world.

    1. Yeah, you know I joke about it, John, but my sentiments exactly! Back in 2012 and 2013 (which are the two years I now have decided to call The Two Years of Silence) I used to think about accidentally showing up at my own funeral. I figured I’d hear stuff like, “She’s better off dead.” “I didn’t like her, anyway.” You know, I’d overhear stuff like that from people like my own neighbors who didn’t even know my name! I’d wonder if life was worth living! Of course, now, I look back and laugh. They are dead I’ll bet. I’m alive!

Feedback and comments welcome!