COUNTINGTO100:Haveyouever sentanangry email? Ihave doneso too often.The usual scenario is that I have gotten an email that has incensedmeand I immediately reply - often with some fire and brimstone. That has never worked out in my favor. While I might feel a bit better after sending the email, the feeling is quite transient and the missive usually comes back to haunt me. As reported in The Wall Street Journal (Life: August 10, 2015), this "e-venting" (venting on social media or through email, text, or chat) is a bad idea. Many people think that by venting they will feel better. However, it turns out that venting actually makes people become angrier and more aggressive. Those that e-vent anonymously are at risk for becoming the most angry or aggressive. In a study completed years ago, 600 college students were deliberately given harsh feedback on an essay. After receiving the feedback the students were divided into three groups: those that hit a punching bag and ruminated on the feedback; those that hit a punching bag and thought about getting fit; and a third group that did nothing. They were then asked their feelings. The group that ruminated while punching turned out to be the angriest,while the group that had done nothingwas the least angry or aggressive. Unfortunately, technologyhasmadeventingsomucheasier.Atleastwhenonehadto telephone, onehadtomakedirect contactandreceived direct verbalandnon-verbal cues.Now, manyfeel they can hide behind the technology. There is a huge difference, though. Once you hung up the phone, the conversation was over. Now, an email, tweet, or Facebook posting can be forwarded, re-tweeted, re-posted and cannot be erased. So, now when I get an email from someone that immediately sendsmy blood pressure through the roof, I count to 100 and then count again. If I write an email, and still feel I am angry, I delete it. Writing the response the next day, in much more measured tones, always works out better in the end.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health