By in Technology

An Open Letter to All My Virtual and Real-World Friends, and Family

Dear Friends and Family,

I really do enjoy looking at the inspirational or funny emails you send me sometimes. I read them and am inspired, happy you thought of me, and sometimes I get a much needed laugh. But then I get to the last section. That’s where you lay the guilt trip on me that ruins everything. This is where you apply the pressure. This is where I learn that probably you never would have thought to send me this email if someone hadn’t pressured you into it.

Many of these emails state that something wonderful will happen if I find five or ten other people to inspire with this message by forwarding it to them and also back to you. Some state something bad might happen to me if I don’t. Others imply that if I don’t pass it on, it must be because I’m ashamed of my faith or I don’t care about helping others.

I have a different opinion. When I get your email, I can’t really think of the required number of people who would want to receive a message they were expected to pass on. Most of my friends, like me, live very busy lives and don’t really spend a lot of time socializing on the computer. They use it to work to produce income and network. Most of my virtual relationships are work-related. They don’t do much socializing by email.

The real effect of receiving one of these emails is to make the recipient feel pressured that she is letting you down if she breaks the chain. Most of us who work and practically live online know that the real purpose of these emails is to collect lots of email addresses that are later used to send spam to people. On the rare occasions I have yielded to the pressure a good friend put on me, I have always deleted the old addresses in the header, sent a Bcc to the forward addresses and made the main address to the person who sent me the email. At least that protects anyone I forward to. I hope you will suggest they do the same if they choose to forward.

But, dear friends, I wish you would not send me these emails. And I wish you would not imply that I am ashamed of Jesus or lack patriotism, or don’t hold my friends in high esteem or don’t support cancer survivors, or whatever if I don’t change my status to match yours on Facebook or repin your pin. My great desire on social networking sites and in my emails to friends is to keep up with what is happening in their lives and to share what is important to me.

Sometimes I may share a funny picture or one that expresses something I believe. Sometimes I may post a link to something I think is important. I try not to share links that try to sell you something. Sometimes I may share a link to something I wrote that I don’t want to repeat to each friend individually. Most are thoughts I think are important or events that happen in my life that I would want to read if you were to share something similar with me that happened to you. I don’t share them directly on Facebook for many reasons, but one is that I can make them prettier on other sites. I figure my real friends who really want to know what I’m thinking and doing will click on these links.

Thank you, dear friends, for reading this far. I understand the pressure you are under to count me as one of your five people, but you might consider not yielding to this pressure yourself unless your heart is really in it. If this is something you really do want to share with me, then why not send it to me as a separate email with a personal note attached so I will know what’s happening with you and why you really liked this message. If you are just feeling pressure, resist it, save the bandwidth, and you have my permission to share this post with anyone you know. The easy way to do that is to share the link. Saves all that copying and pasting.


Your friend

P.S. Please do not post this on the internet as anything but a link with a short note to introduce it.

Pictures and content are original and may not be used without permission, B. Radisavljevic, Copyright 2013, All Rights Reserved

Previously published on Bubblews and removed

Image Credit » image from CCO, text on image mine.

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HappyLady wrote on December 29, 2014, 2:45 AM

I too hate getting the kind of email that you talk about. I never forward them on principle. I don't want my friends to feel their pressure.

BarbRad wrote on December 29, 2014, 3:13 AM

I really don't know of anyone who likes to get these.

allen0187 wrote on December 29, 2014, 3:52 AM

***raises hand***

I hate to receive those types of email as well and i must admit, I succumbed to pressure and forwarded these emails to everyone in my contact list. I know better now.

bestwriter wrote on December 29, 2014, 4:31 AM

Not me. Nor do I bother anyone else with the 'if you do not,something bad will happen kind of mails' Count me out BarbRad . (lol)

BarbRad wrote on December 29, 2014, 4:35 AM

I think just about everyone new to email and social networking gives in to some of this. I always felt bound to pass on the virus warnings until a friend of mine who worked with computers told me these warning weren't usually valid and introduced me to snopes. After that I checked all those urgent warnings before passing anything on, and if they were urban legends, I sent the link back to the one who sent me the email. We all have to learn. Most of the friends that send these mean well but just aren't that experienced with the whole internet and email scene yet.

ConstantDementia wrote on December 29, 2014, 4:56 AM

I hate them to my last bone and I wonder why people send them anyway. They are even worse in whatsapp. My whole message archive in whatsapp is filled with them. I never bother with them though.

Madcanman wrote on December 29, 2014, 5:57 AM

I cannot stand getting these emails. I never forward them to anyone, and I delete them almost immediately. I, too hate that kind of pressure. I don't even know ten or fifteen people I'd want to send these things on to anyway. I find them obnoxious.

AngelSharum wrote on December 29, 2014, 11:16 AM

I don't like those things either. I usually just skip right over them on Facebook. I don't get any in email anymore.

nbaquero wrote on December 29, 2014, 12:39 PM

BarbRad I think receiving those letters a not the big issue, the problem is just forwarding them. Great post, by the way.

motrojam wrote on December 29, 2014, 2:06 PM

Are these the chain letter types? It annoys me too. I am glad none of my friends/family sends me these kind of emails anymore.

BarbRad wrote on December 29, 2014, 5:05 PM

Good. NIce to know that I'm safe from someone else.

BarbRad wrote on December 29, 2014, 5:06 PM

Never heard of whatsapp. Sounds like something I can live without.

BarbRad wrote on December 29, 2014, 5:07 PM

Looks like a consensus is building.

BarbRad wrote on December 29, 2014, 5:07 PM

I rarely get any personal email anymore.

BarbRad wrote on December 29, 2014, 5:09 PM

Thanks. I posted this on Facebook long ago, but I don't see any evidence many people took it to heart.

BarbRad wrote on December 29, 2014, 5:10 PM

They aren't quite chain letters, since they usually don't involve adding your name to a chain to get something back later.

tinamarie wrote on December 29, 2014, 10:48 PM

They are reAlly bothersome and at this time in my overly hectic and strange life I don't have the time for them.

OldRoadsOnceTraveled wrote on December 30, 2014, 1:02 AM

I get some of those emails occasionally, but I have no compulsion about ignoring them.

JanetJenson wrote on December 30, 2014, 1:28 AM

Truly, I have have some friends who send that sort of gibberish along too, and I sincerely wish they would delete all that silly stuff. I asked one of them why he keeps forwarding hoaxes, to and he claims he doesn't have time to check each one out or to write individually to everyone he wants to keep in touch with, so he just sends all this stuff to let us know he is alive. Hmmm. Some of the items are cute, but I never ever forward any email to anyone -- if there is something worth sharing in one of his I cut and paste it into a real message to some other friend, but none of the mindless broadcasting bit for me, thank you.

BarbRad wrote on December 30, 2014, 2:56 AM

Makes sense.

BarbRad wrote on December 30, 2014, 2:58 AM

Fortunately, since I don't go to Facebook much anymore, and hardly ever get emails, I don't face it as much as I used to.

BarbRad wrote on December 30, 2014, 2:59 AM

That's how I handle something I think someone might really appreciate -- usually cat and "getting old" jokes.

paigea wrote on December 30, 2014, 11:59 AM

I never feel any pressure to forward that sort of thing.

BarbRad wrote on December 30, 2014, 5:22 PM

I only feel it if it's from a close friend I don't want to hurt. I usually just reply to them alone.

MariaMontgomery wrote on December 30, 2014, 6:19 PM

Barbara, thank you for writing this very important article. I feel so strongly about this that I have shared it on both FB and G+. Maybe some of those folks who do all those things about which you spoke will recognize themselves. I can wish, can't I?

BarbRad wrote on December 30, 2014, 9:42 PM

We can always wish, but most people don't seem to think it applies to them.

VinceSummers wrote on January 5, 2015, 9:12 AM

I don't get any of such emails. If I do get one, I am not aware of it as I delete all such emails with rapidity. I don't care who it is.

crowntower wrote on February 25, 2015, 1:56 AM

Lol! I don't mind them... Heheheh.. I always speak of Jesus on everyday that he created things works perfectly for me. I don't need to send this kind of thing, I just have to be true to Christ and speak of His name for His glory and for everything that is happening to me people know that I am a believer of Jesus and I am not ashamed of it. I am not perfect, but I am trying to make God proud of me as His one of His creation and adopted daughter through Jesus Christ my only Lord and Savior. To God be the glory. Don't mind this kind of letter also.

BarbRad wrote on February 26, 2015, 4:17 AM

I think women tend to get these more than men.

BarbRad wrote on February 26, 2015, 4:19 AM

I guess I mind because I don't think Jesus ever manipulated anyone. He invited them to follow, but he didn't try to guilt anyone into following.