Have you ever been overly happy, sad, stressed, angry or afraid and - in the heat of the moment - said something to someone that you later regretted?
Of course you have! Who hasn't?!
Fortunately, when you say something in the heat of the moment - even if it's pretty bad - in time, it's usually forgotten. I don't know if it's part of our natural survival instinct, but our human memory seems to give a pass to most temporary insults.
The thing is that nowadays, what with all of the real-time, digital mouthpieces constantly at our fingertips, it's easy to fall into that trap of "saying" something in the heat of the moment - but in reality emailing it, texting it, Facebooking it, tweeting it. etc.
And while our memories tend to forgive and wipe the slate clean...these digital platforms do not.
Now, something said in the heat of the moment can last for all of recorded history!
Reminds me of one of my favorite expressions: You can't get the toothpaste back in the tube.
This is why, when it comes to email manners, I think there's one rule that stands above all others.
I got it from my friend Sam Richter. Sam has a simple recommendation for making sure your email (and other digital) manners are up to snuff:
When you have the urge to send an angry, hurt, or otherwise emotional email (or text or tweet, etc.) - or anything you have any doubts about - SEND IT TO YOURSELF.
Then, several hours later, ideally after you've slept on it, read the email you sent yourself.
If you still think it's kosher, then send it to the intended recipient.
Sam would venture - and I'll second him - that nine times out of ten, you won't end up sending that questionable missive when you're of sound mind.
What you'll lose in the instant gratification of "hitting back," you'll gain in the avoidance of a big headache the next day....and the day after that...and the one after that...for all of recorded history!
PS - On the eve of the Final Four, don't forget to check out my podcast with Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim!