Several years ago, my best friend at the time sent me an e-mail. Your basic chain mail. You know the type. “Pass this on within 10 minutes to 10 friends and you’ll receive untold riches.” Except this one had a sickening twist. “If you do NOT pass this on, great harm could befall you. A lady in Florida did not pass this on, and the next day she was in a fatal car accident. A man in Texas did not pass this on and his house burned to the ground…”
So I replied to my friend, “First of all, I didn’t pass this on to anyone, because I don’t believe in this crap. But I was curious to know this: If you truly, honestly believe that this is true, why on EARTH would you send this to me, who is supposed to be your best friend? Why would you put me at risk like that? What does this say about you?” She didn’t respond. What could she have said? (Of course later on I found out she was a sociopath, so suddenly it all made sense.)
The fact is, chain mail is insidious. It wastes people’s time, it makes people nervous, and/or it gives false hope. It gives people who are living lives of quiet desperation just one more way to be disappointed. It also feels, to the receiver, like you’re sweeping your garbage into their in box.
Here’s a chain mail I WOULD pass on: “Pass this on to 10 people in the next 10 minutes and the person who passed it on to you will never be able to send you any stupid impersonal chain mail ever again.”
If you really do want to communicate with me, send me a personal e-mail. Tell me how you’re doing, what you’re up to, what you’re thinking. Reach out in your own words. I’ll be happy to respond.