I hated to see that name come up in my inbox.

Do you ever have that reaction? You see the name on that email, and your heart just sinks. Ugh.

And of course, the email was jerky, pushed buttons, and made me ticked. I’m sure that was the desired response.  So of course, I had my equally jerky response all written in my head.

“The next time you want something from me, perhaps you should choose discussion instead of declaration.” That was the nicest sentence in my reply.

I knew it would feel good to hit send. It would feel oh so good. But I also knew that sinking to their level would ultimately just let them win.

And I didn’t want that to happen.

So here is what I’ve did to not sink. (This advice is hard won after sending too many emails impulsively…)

  1. Wait. Yes – it feels great to send off that nasty response in the heat of the moment, but it will feel even better to send a thoughtful response – or perhaps no response at all.
  2. Pray. the reaction I have is out of the flesh – I want it to be out of The Spirit. Prayer is the only way I’m ever going to do that.
  3. Consult. I wanted to send the nastygram. Roger talked me out of it. Roger was the one who reminded me that I needed to act Christlike even if I didn’t feel Christlike. I sent him the email and he congratulated me for taking the high road (this time.)

Any additional suggestions to not being a jerk?

Update as of 3:13 (about an hour and half after I posted this.)

OK – said person said something super-jerky in a follow-up email. And I ignored all the advice above and sent something back super-snotty. Sigh.

I am no longer engaging in the drama. This is officially being moved over to the Crazy File (a file that Roger reads before I do so that I do not escelate crazy discussions.) Sigh.

I will do better next time. I can’t promise. But I can pray.


Kathi Lipp is the author of 17 books including Overwhelmed, Clutter Free, The Get Yourself Organized Project, The Husband Project, Happy Habits for Every Couple, and I Need Some Help Here – Hope for When Your Kids Don’t Go According to Plan. She is the host of Clutter Free Academy the Podcast! with Kathi Lipp and speaks at conferences across the US. Kathi is published with Revell Publishers and Harvest House Publishers.

She and her husband Roger are the parents of four young adults in San Jose, CA. When she’s not dating her husband or hanging out with her puggle Jake, Kathi is speaking at retreats, conferences and women’s events across the US.

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