I received a hurtful email yesterday.
It was from a local mother who is leading a homeschool group of which I have been a part. I was taken aback by her harsh email, which accused me of not staying true to an earlier commitment I had agreed to do. She had jumped to conclusions about my intentions and
wrote unkind things about my character in the email.
My first response – after I slowed my pounding heart – was to write something mean. Oh, I wrote at least a dozen emails back to her, all of which remained unsent. My emails were straightforward. They said things like, “If you don’t enjoy leading the group, perhaps you
should let another mother do it.” The emails said, “You should not assume the worst in someone you do not yet know well.”
Yes, my emails were probably true.
It’s just that they weren’t very kind. The offender is not only a part of my homeschool group, but she is also a neighbor. We are only acquaintances (we’re fairly new to the neighborhood), but we have wanted to get together.
Is one email enough to ruin a potential friendship? Should I let her words keep us from being friendly neighbors?
The answer to both of those was “Yes!” to me.
But then I looked up and saw my husband sitting there at his computer. And I was reminded that when I say unkind words to him, it is when he does not lash back, that my conscience kicks in and I am immediately sorry. When he does lash back, we argue and I feel justified.
So I wrote the following simple email:
“I apologize for upsetting you – I had no idea! I read my past emails and can’t find any reason for your response. Of course, I had planned on fulfilling my obligation – I always take that seriously.”
This morning, I received her response:
“I am sorry. I must have been having a bad day. Could we get together next week with the kids?”
Lori Seaborg (from my 2005 Keeping the Home blog)