The Seven Stones Blog

Email is Still Relationship

By Jen Cohen

Email

Pause and notice your immediate reaction when you hear the word. What shows up?

Then, ask; what do you think email is for? What does it do for you? What doesn’t it do?

I have noticed that we often interact like email is a thing: something to do, something else to handle, some other task to perform. But what if email was just a series of conversations? What if email is not a thing, but rather a medium for dialogue between people?

It is of course. So, what would shift for us in our relationship to our email if we remembered that behind every email is a person or a whole group of people? Furthermore, what would happen if we told ourselves that our management of email is actually a reflection of our method of managing our relationships?

We are often moving so quickly and so wanting to get things done that the humans behind – literally attached to – the message, get forgotten.

So play with me for a moment. If each email is actually a relationship exchange, how are you managing your relationships with people? Let’s look.

What is your pattern of relating to email? Do you:

  • Hide from it
  • Confront it head on
  • Ignore it and hope it goes away
  • Pretend it does not matter
  • Feel guilty and freeze or feel guilty and act
  • Obsess and get addicted to it
  • Get a great system in place and work it
  • Greet people and sign your name

Imagine being in a room face-to-face with the person who asks you a question or shows you a video or invites you to something.

  • How does it translate to do your current email pattern with the person in front of you?
  • What would it be like if someone were to do to you in person what they do over email? How would you respond?

With all of this discovery about assumptions and patterns, take a moment now to pause and create something new this year around email. Ask yourself:

  • How do I want to use electronic mail this year?
  • How can I ensure it facilitates my goals and aims?
  • How can my behavior with become aligned with how I wish to conduct myself in all relationships?

Then practice.

 

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