What I Learned From An Email Bully

photo: Andrea Chong


On a beautiful Sunday morning brunch with my girls, diving deep into the conversations of life, I did something that is new to me – I sat and listened to my friend read an email from a colleague she termed “rude and bullying”. For a second, I had a mild heart attack. Had she got hold of one of my ranting emails to co-workers and was playing a prank on me by reading it out loud? I sat in astonishment and embarrassment as I admitted, “that sounds like one of my emails – on a bad day”.

How could this be, I judge those (yep – judge) who use social media as a personal venting space and bark at those who forget a please and thank you at the end of every email sent to me. Yet when I turned the mirror on myself, I realized I got joy out of expressing my sharp tongue by working my fingers on the keyboard.

How many arguments, hurt feeling, and bad impressions could I’ve prevented had I just taken the old school road? The one before texting, emailing, Snapchat and Facebook. So they say hindsight is 20/20 … well, this is what I learned.

Pick up the phone
Emails and text are the catalyst to “lost in translation”. Your tone of voice cannot be perceived, words are taken in the wrong context and if you’re angry or hurt, you’re more likely to express it in an email if you avoid confrontation in person.

Walk away
In a creative writing class we learned before editing a piece of writing, walk away and do something else; clean, watch the television, make a call then return with fresh mind and eyes. So when you have received an email that gets your emotions on 10, walk away, cool off, even if it takes time, then respond when calm.

Just chill
Don’t take everything so personally. Many of us read into things that aren’t there, perceive tones we cannot hear and form ideas where understanding is needed. Ask yourself if this is you.

Communication is the key to any successful relationship, and every day is a day to learn something new about yourself and those you communicate with. Making mistakes like these help up to learn the things that make us the people we are today, so I won’t say I wish I knew all of this before I sent those emails – I just wish I knew it much sooner! Don’t let technology turn you into someone you are not!


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  1. It does take a while to get control of your emotions when on a tight schedule some one drops the ball. You are now on the right track. However, don’t become to relaxed with your emotions. Some occasions call for you to wear the black hat.

  2. The one I can relate to most is “Just Chill”. Even more so, just when you think you’ve conquered your “knee-jerk” reaction to some jerk’s post, out comes the sharp tongue. I have discovered the “Just Chill” philosophy is a muscle you must exercise every day! Great post, Career Girl.

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