Ever sent an email knowing you might be making a BIG mistake?

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Ever sent an email knowing you might be making a BIG mistake?--Al

-- Al Schroeder (al.schroeder@nashville.com), March 01, 2000


Oh yeah, I did - - - not realizing what a hoorah the thing was turning into. If I had kept my nose out of it the end result might have been the same, but my hands would have been clean. The upshot punishes all of us for the mouthings of a few. So, who bested who in that exchange ? Another coffee stop down the drain, no more good conversations there now !

I also wonder about the wisdom of sending this e-mail, but I am like one of Red Skelton's characters - - - who would say, "I'm gonna doot anyway." doug

-- doug (ionoi@webtv.net), March 01, 2000.

Ever sent an email knowing you might be making a BIG mistake?

Not an e-mail, but a few hundred forum messages... HEY, AL! Just noticed your name up there, like every forum message I ever posted!

I'm not too big on regretting sending the e-mail, or regretting quitting the job I hated, or regretting telling the girl I love her before she dumps me. I think life's too short to bottle that shit up emotionally.

-- Mike (mleung@mikeleung.com), March 01, 2000.

I agree with Mike. When something touches me deeply I have been known to fire off my mouth, or an email and then later feel like I shouldn't have. I found however, that most of the time I end up touching someone, even if may not be the person it was intended for. Life IS too short to keep your most passionate voice quiet. I also believe in some ways that people who do stand up and say something or share an experience speak for those who aren't strong enough to do it themselves.

-- Chelsea (clemon@mediaone.net), March 01, 2000.

No -- I'm one of those cautious types who regrets not sending e- mails. I just wanted to say that I support Al's anti-suicide e- mail. If you weigh the enormous loss of a human death against the tiny risks of a potentially inappropriate e-mail, the choice seems obvious. We often say about our criminal justice system that it is better for ten criminals to go free than to convict one innocent person -- in the same spirit, it must be better to upset or even insult five thousand people who aren't considering suicide by encouraging them _not_ to choose death, than to neglect to send one potentially life-saving message. Go, Al!

-- Tom Dean (tdean@haese.com), March 01, 2000.

What about if that well intentioned email is what actually pushes the person over the edge? There were a number of potential flaws with that email, in my mind. This sort of thing would best be left to people with training in these matters. The potential to do more harm than good is too great.

-- Dave Van (davevan01@hotmail.com), March 01, 2000.

"What if the letter 'pushes them over the edge'? Well, Dave, I think it's important Al tried. Just knowing people care has got to help when people are in crisis. Okay, I know I'm horribly naive about such matters as counseling people in crisis. But I'd hate to think no one would take a chance to help, fearful of doing something wrong. That's got to be worse.

-- Joan Lansberry (gallae@casagrande.com), March 02, 2000.

I disagree with Dave that there's any significant risk of a truly well-intentioned e-mail sending someone over the edge. I suppose we could imagine a klutz so out of touch with reality that he or she might indavertently cause a suicide ("just because your spouse is dead and you have no job, and it's very likely that you will live out your life in extreme pain is no reason to despair"). But really, most people who can write are also smart enough to make it clear that they are writing because they care, and I think that is more likely to be helpful than not. Besides, Dave is apparently really short and therefore must be wrong about everything, so who cares what he thinks.

-- Tom Dean (tdean@haese.com), March 02, 2000.

Tom: You're just lucky I don't have a short temper. ;-)

A suicidal person is in a lot of pain. Inadvertently adding to that pain is only going to make matters worse.

Many people's reaction to others' suicidal feelings is one of fear, or anger. That's pretty natural. Unfortunately, a person who reacts that way is not going to help, no matter how well intentioned they may be. The last thing a suicidal person needs is to be berated. Our natural reaction to suicide tends to be non-constructive.

"I care. I want you to live," is an excellent message. Helping the person not feel so alone in the pain is a good goal. The goal is to show understanding. Be sympathetic and non-judgemental.

-- Dave Van (davevan01@hotmail.com), March 02, 2000.

Everytime I hit the send button for an email to my father, I spend the rest of the day agonizing over it. "did I go too far?" "will he respond?" "when does it get easier?"

I guess all the questions are really just a way of restating the obvious..."dad, do you like me?"

bob (who is wondering if he should "submit" this response....)

-- bob (bobbeltran@hotmail.com), March 04, 2000.

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