Don’t speak: Reading between the lines of your emails

Email rage is the new road rage, only our laptops do not come equipped with horns to blow when a sender suddenly swerves into your lane of sanity. And even if you do virtually flick them off in your reply, you can’t drive off and hope to never see them again because they have your email address.

Of course, emails can be fun. Especially if they are peppered with hilarious typos and grammar miscarriages. But in general, they tend to be infuriating because senders never say what they really feel and receivers are left to read between the lines.

Don’t worry about a thing…

marleyIf you reply “No worries.” to an apology email, you know you’re still secretly mad about it. I mean what does that even mean? Who’s no longer worried? Me or you? The person said they were sorry, not worried. If you were truly cool with whatever it was, your reply would most likely be something like, “Aw, it’s cool man, things happen. I know you didn’t intentionally forget to send me an invite to Joshua’s super fun birthday lunch where you got to order wine. While you guys were out, I totally spruced up our super awesome spreadsheets by highlighting the rows in orange.”

Let me ask you something…

If you end your emails with “Let me know if you have any questions,” you are most likely a long-winded person that speaks in circles, yet, you can’t figure out why co-workers have a difficult time understanding you. If you don’t fit into that first category, then you are in the category of people who secretly hope you won’t ask any questions because you won’t beemoji able to answer any of them without checking in with your jerk of a boss.

On the policy of truth…

If you begin a sentence with “To be honest with you,” that means you were lying during the whole first half of the email chain and that you should never be trusted with any confidential information.

Because I’m happy…

If you litter your sentences with happy faces –   🙂  – you are being passive aggressive and are trying to distract the reader with an emoji. A message of: “Hey, I really appreciate you getting that report to me today. 🙂 ”  is best replied to with: “Not gonna happen. 🙂


Girls, I do adore…

If you open your email with “Hi Ladies,” you are gross, regardless of your gender. Most likely, you’re making this terrible mistake because at one point in your life you participated in a team sport where a coach addressed you as a group of “ladies” to remind you of your place in the sports world, which is in a shitty stadium 10 blocks off campus.

From: Me
Sent: Tuesday, March 24, 2015 12:00 PM
To: You
Subject: Thoughts

When sending your next email, keep these things in mind, because, to be honest, I’m judging you ladies the whole time 🙂 . But if you slip up, no worries. Let me know if you have any questions.

La familia

Last week I received an email with a suspicious subject heading from an addressee I did not recognize.

So, I opened it.

The email was entirely in Spanish and every single word was CAPITALIZED. After reading the first two lines, I realized it was from my half-aunt with two arms who currently resides in Cuba.

I continued reading with incredible curiosity. Would there be a hidden message? Some sort of code I would have to crack to figure out if she needed me to send her freeze-dried rice and beans or to get the exact coordinates of her possible raft landing on the sands of Key Biscayne.

Unfortunately, there was none of that. It was the most mundane email ever written, with bits and pieces about her family and her thwarted efforts to come to Miami for a visit.

We're not yelling...We're Cuban.
We’re not yelling, we just don’t know how to take off the caps lock.

For being the first time you talk to someone, it was awfully familial. I almost became indignant about the whole thing until I remembered that this is just the way it is. When your mother is an only child from a divorced marriage, you get weird hyphens and halves for family members: a step-grandfather, a half-aunt, a great-aunt with one arm, a fourth-cousin, a guy you have to call your uncle even though he is not. And when your mother is from Cuba, all of these hyphens and halves get the right to become intimately involved in your life – if you let them.

Which is why I keep them all at arms length. They’ve struggled against communism for 50 + years. I’ve struggled against their meddling for 35 years.

Fight as I may, I always end up losing. All of the halves and hyphens I’ve met, and continue to meet, have this intense instinct to connect with relatives – no matter how distant in blood line. They don’t hesitate in calling me family and immediately asking me why I’m so fat.

They don’t care that I’m clearly different in so very many ways. They can care less about what I do for a living or my opinions on the Pope or socialism. They don’t want to get to know me, because knowing that we carry similar DNA is enough.

So, here I am, replying to an email from a stranger and contemplating whether or not to make a joke about my period being late this month and not having to worry about the possibility of her becoming a half-great-aunt with two arms.