A Delicate Question

December 18, 2003 | 5 comments
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In the interest of fostering discussion, I want to solicit thoughts from the vast hordes of T&S readers (that is how we think of you). We all like to hear from loved ones, and you would hate to discourage contact from those who are far away. Thus, how do you approach the delicate issue of a loved one who spams?

In the spirit of charity and green-jello-salad niceness, how do you let them know that they are filling your in box with unnecessary lists of potty jokes. This is an issue that my wife, in particular, seems to struggle with in dealing with her friends. Thoughts?

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5 Responses to A Delicate Question

  1. cooper on December 18, 2003 at 10:52 pm

    I just hit the delete button. Feelings are far better saved and it is just a simple keystroke. I love the quote: “They won’t remember what you said, they won’t remember exactly what you did, but they will remember how you made them feel.”

  2. Clark Goble on December 19, 2003 at 1:06 am

    If you use a statistical based SPAM filter (like Mail on OSX offers or I believe Mozilla on XP offers) then you can train it to delete the offensive posts from these people while allowing their good mail through.

  3. Kaimi on December 19, 2003 at 2:28 pm

    Perhaps you post on T & S (“How do you deal with a loved one who spams?”). Then you say to the loved one in question, “Have you seen my new blog?” :)

  4. Logan on December 19, 2003 at 2:44 pm

    I’m of the opinion that you can almost always say what you feel honestly in a way that preserves the feelings of both sides. The trick is to do it respectfully and in a way that affirms your relationship, but still says what you need to get across. Admittedly, it can be pretty hard, and sometimes, depending on the person, I haven’t been able to find that balance.

    But something like this comes to mind (and you’d have to mold it to your own style): Hey, [loved one], it means a lot to me that you work so hard to keep in touch, and I like hearing from you. I just wanted to tell you that I’m not really into forwards and things like that. If you don’t mind, I’d rather not be on your forward list.

    Like I said, honesty *almost* always works for me, as long as it’s done respectfully.

  5. Renee on December 21, 2003 at 8:03 pm

    I try a diplomatic reply with one or more of the following points:

    1) I have a Yahoo account with limited storage.
    2) Most emails encouraging forwards are urban legends or hoaxes. Please consult snopes.com before forwarding.
    3) Forwards can end up in the hands spammers and they harvest all the email addresses. If you ABSOLUTELY must share the information in a forward, use BCC instead.

    I put these in friendlier verbiage but that’s the gist of it.