Donna Barnes, Life and Relationship Coach, Heartbreak Coach, and Founder of Donna Barnes Dating, offers ways to make your relationships healthier and, more importantly, how to tell when things have gone bad. She is a regular guest on Good Morning America, and Nightline, she was an expert for three season's on ABC's What Would You Do? series, and numerous other television programs. Donna is the author of Giving Up Junk-Food Relationships, the first book in the Relationship Recipes series.
Monday, August 26, 2013
Are You Sure You Want To Send That E-Mail?
I think it would be great if there could be an app to check the emotional tone of emails before they’re sent, the same way that spell check corrects errors.
Only the perfect app would even go farther to destroy the entire text if it was inappropriate to even be making contact. If such technology existed more relationships might succeed.
I say that because it’s unbelievable to me how many smart people sabotage potentially good relationships by pouring out their feelings in an email, and then sending it at an illogical time. For instance, when you haven’t heard from your date and you’re trying to create more of a connection. Or when you’re frustrated about something and you think venting will help build emotional intimacy. Or even worse you try to plead your case about how you think the relationship works, after he or she already told you they don’t think it does.
And I’m not just talking about hurt or angry feelings, until you’re in a committed relationship positive loving feelings can be harmful too. You may have just gotten home from a great date, and then sent an email to elaborate on a topic you briefly discussed, or confess feelings you weren’t brave enough to say face-to-face. However, that may feel needy or smothering to your potential mate.
Emotional hijackings such as these completely give away your power. Most people don’t respond well to dramatic or personal information thrown at them randomly. Would you? If you’re feeling insecure or upset about something while you’re not in your date’s company, you have to be patient. Push the pause button!
Regardless of how smart our communication devises may be we still have free will. So I want to encourage you to go back to communicating the old fashioned way.
You used to have to put your thoughts on paper, put it in an envelope, address it, buy a stamp and take it to a mailbox. Then it took at least a day to be delivered. By the time you did all that you also had time to process your feelings, and in most cases you’d lose the desire to send it. Relationships were much simpler then. You talked in person or on the phone. Cards and letters were rare and therefore romantic and special. It’s the draw of immediate delivery that makes email and text so seductive—but also destructive. If you wouldn’t call to say it, don’t send it electronically!
Writing out your feelings is an excellent way to process them; it will get it off your chest and allow you to stop obsessing. But then put it away. Review what you wrote the next day when you can have a fresh perspective. If you still feel like you need to share your thoughts it needs to be a two-way conversation so you can be sure your feelings are acknowledged.E-mails will leave you vulnerable because no response is required.
As a woman, you can fall in love and can process your feelings while you’re in the company of your guy. But if you are a right-handed man, you need to step back and take a break from your woman to process your feelings. Women’s brains and left-handed men’s brains can think and feel at the same time. Right-handed men can only do one at a time. So give your right-handed man that space to step back from thinking and switch to feeling. Don’t invade his space with messages.
If you’re a right-handed man, try to extend some empathy if your woman sends emotional emails or texts that you think are illogical; given a little time, it may feel right.