Why does everyone hate Hotmail with a fiery passion? It is the punch line of every joke about e-mail to ever exist, and causes me embarrassment even though I do not know why I am embarrassed. I only use it because I’ve had my account since I can remember and am too lazy to switch over. I mean it seems fine to me but I don’t know any different.
How did this email even GET to me? Haha OK, sorry. What did you send this on, A DELL??? No, no, just joshing. Is it…are you…AN ELDERLY PERSON WHO DOESN’T KNOW ABOUT EMAIL!!!!? Hahaha. More like…NOTmail.
Everyone hates Hotmail because Hotmail is stupid. I don’t know why! I work on the internet and I don’t know why. It’s just stupid. So is Yahoo, so is AOL. The real reason is probably because we’re all brand loyalists who pretend to be too cool or too smart to be brand loyalists and Gmail is what our friends and the people we wish we were interesting enough to be friends with use, so that’s what we use too. Also clean lines, interface, something.
If the only thing keeping you from switching to Gmail is laziness, that IS a little dumb, because I think it will take you three minutes at most. And while you don’t want to cave to the tides just because you’re outnumbered, you maybe don’t want to use an email provider solely out of spite, either. Do you love Hotmail? Then keep it! Who cares! Hold on to the things that are dear to you, even when everyone else thinks they are dumb things to hold dear. But someday, maybe, if you’re curious, open a Gmail. Just to try it out. I won’t tell anyone you caved.
My mom insists that any email sent to her is public domain and she can do what she wants with it — like forward without permission. Is that true? And even if it isn’t true, how do I get her to stop?
You mean besides sending it to your dad, or your other mom, and your grandparents, and your siblings, and maybe your mom’s best friend too, right? Because that is just a built-in part of parents and email, I think. It isn’t TRUE, it just IS.
But also, ummm, no, that is not technically accurate. While email might assume less privacy than an in-person conversation, it’s still fair for you to think your personal emails to your mom are just that. (Again, within the bounds of this-is-your-family-we’re-talking-about reason.) She’s just excited and proud of you! Or else really mad — I’m not actually sure what your specific emails are about. But probably the former, in all likelihood, and that’s nice, but you need to let her know the forwarding isn’t accomplishing what she thinks it is.
Here’s what you say to your mom (in person or on the phone!) next time you talk to her: “Mom, would you mind keeping the emails I send you to yourself? Sometimes I just want to talk to you about certain things, because usually you know how to respond, and I want to know I can count on keeping things between us until I want to share my news with other people.” How could she not love that??
Sometimes well-meaning people introduce me + someone else over email and neither of us cares but we follow up with each other out of a weird sense of obligation to the third party, who also doesn’t really care. How do I avoid/bow out of emails like these?
I don’t know why anyone introduces anyone to anyone else. I mean, *air quotes* I GET IT, but I still don’t know why people do it. The best-case scenario is that the two people you’re introducing, whom you already know and like, end up liking each other a lot, so you start worrying whether they’ll like each other more than they like you. The worst-case scenario is that they hate each other, which makes both of them hate you at least a little bit for having such bad taste in other people. (How, when you like ME, could you like THAT person?) It’s too stressful! That’s why whenever I’m introduced to anyone, I avert my eyes and remove myself from the situation. IS it rude? IS IT?
OK, the thing is, if in-person introductions can’t (and, whatever, shouldn’t) be avoided, email introductions are TOTALLY CONTROLLABLE. Nobody sees someone’s email hanging out near another email and wonders why the first email hasn’t called you over yet. There is no urgency or hovering-unannounced-near-your-table-ness involved. What I mean is that email introductions should ALWAYS be anticipated by at least two of the three parties — meaning that two of you have talked previously about this other person and agreed that an introduction can/should be made. No one person should be emailing two other people who didn’t ask to meet each other just to introduce those two people. That’s crazy and presumptuous. It’s handing out an errand.
When this happens to you, the best thing (and really the only thing) you can do is be courteous to your new contact, share an email or two about whatever it is you were supposedly put in touch for, and, if you’re not interested in taking it further (i.e., that unwanted coffee date for “brain-picking”), tell this person that you’re busy, and happy to talk if something comes up again. “You do have my email now!” That’s what you write so they know you mean it’s staying online. It will (I hope??) trail off naturally, and in the meantime, tell your matchmaking-happy friend to cool it because you only know how to greet people IRL. (Or whatever the most applicable neurosis may be.)
Katie Heaney is a contributing editor at BuzzFeed FWD. She thinks you should have good manners, even on the internet.
Illustration by Cara Vandermey
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