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Wow. I Really Thought You Loved Me.

I’m pretty thrilled that I get more than my share of happy wishes these days – most of which are in email.  Honestly, I don’t have any issue with getting personal messages through a (relatively) impersonal medium… I love that my friends even think about me during their day.

And, all this thinking about public, private, personal, broadcast issues reminded me of some great advice I thought I’d pass on:

Never allow messages that are intimate and personal (“I truly value your interest in me”) to be stated within what is clearly a broadcast communication (like an email auto-responder or list).

Again, I’ve no problem with general well-wishes being emailed to a list or using a public medium to offer personal wishes.  In both cases, the message doesn’t get lost in the delivery medium.

Rather, I’m talking about emails that are addressed only to me, that start with how important I am to the sender (really?! Me? Aw, shucks) and, as I read on, how much they appreciate and value my friendship (I’m now awash in warm fuzzies) and ending with how they really hope we can spend more time together in the future (yes, yes – me, too!).

Just then, a micro-second before I close this wonderfully sincere and personal email message, do I bump into the mass-mailer  logo and unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email.  WTF?!

Listen up: You cannot make a form-letter act like a love-bomb. “Oh well,” I should say when I get these, “time is limited and making the effort to write me a personal note is probably unreasonable-”  Except, I don’t.  And, most likely, neither do you.

And, that’s the Big Problem.

Instead of remaining casually indifferent – which we are likely to be when getting other, less personal-sounding, mass emails – we are actually disappointed. Because we had been nicely inflated by what we thought were sincere thoughts about US, we get painfully deflated when we see the truth of it, in the unsubscribe footer. As the Ladders.com guys says, “If everyone is special, no one is.” These kind of emails gift you with a feeling of specialness – only to pull it out from under you in the last line. It’s a great formula for practical jokes, but not-so-much for a sincere friend-to-friend messages.

So, while sending no message may have made you look inconsiderate, sending an “I love you” message in a mass-email blast is likely to make you look disingenuous, which is a synonym for DEATH in any trust-based business. Here’s a simple rule to follow: if you are compelled to tell a list of people how important they are to you and haven’t the time to write each a personal message, take the time to cut-and-paste the canned message into individual emails. Its the least your reputation deserves.

Have you gotten any of these types of message disconnects recently? If so, how did they make you feel?

4 thoughts on “Wow. I Really Thought You Loved Me.”

  1. wow! i have gotten messages like that before. thanks for the tip. but i think my encouragement to add would be to actually take the time to write the personal note. the fact is, we can make time to do anything we want really, if it matters enough. thanks jeff!

    • I totally agree that personal response is always better, Jeramy. My point was aimed more at times when you have too many responses to do that. Thanks for taking the time to engage personally. 😉

  2. I agree with personal messages. Although as a hopeless romantic I love the written word and if it comes in the mail with real handwriting in a “Thank You” form I get the warm and fuzzies myself 🙂

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