Thursday, May 04, 2006

It Made Me Cry

I'm a member of several e-mail lists. Over the past few days, "fighting" has erupted in one list over a particular subject. Once I saw the way it was headed, I stayed away and deleted most of those messages.

Today, I sent an email to the list. The main point of my email was that even though there had been a "fight", this group was extremely helpful and supportive and I thanked everyone for that. I've read quite a few wonderful posts over the past few days and wanted everyone to know how appreciative I was.

In response, I received a private, snarky email from somebody who was deeply involved in the disagreement. I felt like I had been kicked in the stomach. I actually sat at my computer and cried about this!

Why did I cry? The contents of her email weren't that bad. I spent quite a bit of time, thinking about this. I think I've figured it out.

When you're face-to-face with someone, you usually get some idea of how they're feeling. Body language, facial expressions, etc. So, if they make a hurtful comment, you're not completely taken off guard. I was. I had no idea she (or anyone!) would respond that way. It came from left field and plowed me down. It left me feeling misunderstood and unappreciated.

Email is a wonderful, but tricky, thing. So, be careful what you send out to others. But also be careful how you read things from others.


Megan said...

I'm so sorry that happened. Writing is such a hard medium to convey emotion and tone because any one of us can read anything we want to in the writing tone of anyone else.

Sometimes, it just plain stinks.

I'm sorry you got the hurtful letter. And that it made you cry. Take heart, blessed are the peacemakers... (but I guess the blessings don't come from those with whom we are trying to make the peace, huh?)...

Rhonda said...

Thank you, Megan. I've since learned I was not the only person who received a private "attack" from this individual. This has helped me realize it was not personal (and really, how could it be?) and given me some peace about it.

And you're right. The blessings come from all-together different, and perfect, source.