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Dec 01 2014
Credit Confessions: E-Mail Roulette

Sadly, I helped this one go the wrong direction.


As a national company, I deal with companies all over the U.S. One particular out-of-state construction company is a stickler for making us abide by their rules and regulations. So I'm just as adamant that they stick to these same rules and regulations.  


The other day, they were pushing all the wrong buttons so I pushed right back, citing the clauses in their contract that spelled out what they had agreed to do and when. This e-mail exchange went back and forth between me and their project accountant for a good while. By the end of our communications, my e-mail tone wasn't a happy one.


The next morning, the project accountant forwarded the email I'd sent to her the day before. She commented on my "snide" remarks in what I assume was an e-mail that was meant for someone in her company. She sent it to me by mistake. Fortunately, I don't have a problem with people thinking I'm a 'B,' so I replied to her email with a simple, "LOL." She sent an e-mail back saying she was an idiot. In my own mind, I had already made that determination.


She put herself in a lower bargaining position. Even so, I should have kept a professional, albeit firm, tone in my correspondence to help keep the conversation in line. At some point, it may have made more sense to pick up the phone and hold a discussion. Often, tone is misinterpreted in e-mails. She then took a higher road and sort of apologized - she sort of had to.


Our relationship may now never be what it should. I may have to extend a hand of fellowship to build it. It would have been better not to fuel the fire. Sometimes people just frustrate us and we let ourselves respond in kind - not always the best idea.


And, of course, if you do put your frustrations down in writing . . . push delete instead of send.