So, by now, I’m sure you heard about The Break-Up Email Read ‘Round The World.
If you haven’t, read it so you can follow along here.
Now, we’ve debated the whole Fade/Honesty/Diplomacy to death here. But I wanted to discuss this particular situation because I think it involves several issues.
First Issue – The Fade – Obviously, the woman from this letter wasn’t interested. The guy made a few attempts to follow up and get a response. I’m all for The Fade. I get it. I get why we choose to do it. It leads to, well, situations like this. But if someone persistently tries to contact you and doesn’t appear to be getting the hint, then the humane thing to do is to reply and tell them your ex popped back in to the picture or that you’re fresh off a break up and not ready to date. Yes, it should be obvious that the lack of response is a response and that the person you’re trying to contact isn’t interested. But some people don’t get the hint. Or they they can not conceive of the possibility that they might not get what they want. Whatever the case, you’re actually doing all the people they date in the future a service by replying and saying thanks but no thanks. It should also be noted that there are plenty of people who intentionally don’t reply strictly because they get off on making people suffer and squirm. (Note: I do not think that was what the original recipient in this scenario was doing. I think she just was employing The Fade, as we all have done.) Not replying, for some, is a tactic. They see that their lack of response is driving someone mad, and they enjoy watching the person flame out. More alarming to me are the people who willingly engage in exchanges like this and egg the potentially dangerous person on strictly because they take the other person’s rants and insults as some kind of sick compliment. You can almost see the wheels turning in their head and hear them think, “Oh my God. Wait til I show this to my friends/post this to Facebook!” Let me be clear about something….by taking part in and responding to people who use anger and rage as a tactic, you immediately lower yourself to their level. And if you post said exchange on your blog or your Twitter Feed or Facebook, you look like a world class idiot for being so proud of being called nasty names. There is no “winning” in those situations. You’re both assholes.
Second Issue – Privacy - (Note: I’m not sure who the actual recipient of this email was, whether it was a friend of the blogger who originally posted it or what.) Okay. I think anybody who has a pulse and an Internet connection knows that there is no such thing as privacy on the internet anymore. Several months ago, I received a pretty hateful email from a man that I met up with one time. I sent him an email the next morning telling him I didn’t feel we were a match. In response, I received probably the most scathing, rage filled message I had ever read. And I’ve gotten some doozies. He even knew who I was and what I did for a living, making his decision to send such a message even more alarming. I’ve also had men write me emails that were meant to be apologetic or caring where it was terribly obvious that they were writing the note hoping that it would be posted publicly. Hell, I’ve written posts when I’ve been blinded by my own issues, completely oblivious to the fact that once I hit “Send” I had no control over what comes next, who would read it or how it could affect the other person. I even Re-tweeted this story. That’s what is so dangerous about sending messages like this. Sometimes we just don’t think about the ramifications.You have no idea where that message could end up. I understand the need to want to show friends such email or conversations. But when you do that, you have to be sure that whomever you are telling is not going to take your words and make them public domain. Because once they are out there, they are out there. Next time you feel dicked over, write up your rant and then hit Draft and save it. Don’t send it. Don’t post it. Don’t share it. And one more thing? In a world where cameras and recording devices are now everywhere, be mindful of conversations you hold in public. A few weeks ago, a guy was in a McDonalds and over heard a married couple arguing. Not only did he live tweet the whole argument, but he took photos of the people and posted them on Twitter. Not everybody understands boundaries.
Third Issue – The Shame Game – I don’t get the sense that this guy is dangerous. I do think that he has trouble reading and interpreting social clues and might be, oh, a tad egotistical. Sorry to all you finance guys out there, but this is the second story that came out in two days that depicts men who work in finance as egomaniacs. (The first being this story.) PS? The guy I just mentioned who wrote me that email a few months back? Also a finance guy.) I do think some people have a really difficult time accepting that someone might not want them or that they might not get what they want. Of course, that can lead to some potentially dangerous behavior and situations. I just don’t think this particular guy is dangerous. Obsessive? Yes. But I truly believe that is related to some kind of limitation related to reading social and non-verbal cues. Which makes this public humiliation seem even worse.