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Email solves problems, but it also creates them. It's ruining our social fiber and messing with my mind about when it's appropriate to say thank you to someone after they've given me a gift.
Here's the problem: My friend Sally mails a gift to me on Tuesday. She paid for Priority mail (guaranteed three day delivery), so on day four she's anxiously checking her email to see if I loved the gift. But my favorite way of saying thank you is still a handwritten note. (I hope the old fashioned way never dies.) So on day four, while Sally's waiting and wondering and checking her email, I'm writing a thank you note which is going to take at least another three days to reach her via snail mail, which translates into a seven day wait (not including the weekend days) since Sally first put the package in the mail to me. In this fast-paced, instant world, my friend is probably feeling anxious and maybe even a little hurt, wondering why she hasn't heard from me, and I totally understand.
Sending a handwritten thank you note these days takes a lot of courage and restraint. Sally's not the only one feeling anxious. I've been counting the days, too, worrying that Sally's been counting the days, and just when I'm about ready to fold and send an email, Sally emails me wondering if I got the gift, and now I'm really feeling stupid and the whole thing feels more than a little awkward. Maybe I should pretend that I haven't read her email yet? Or I could quickly send back a reply that looks like an "out of office" auto responder, which would buy a little more time for the thank you note to reach her.
But instead I send an email. A weird, awkward email...
"Sally, I did get your gift and I loved it, really I did. I didn't send an email, because I wrote you a thank you letter. You'll probably get it today, but now I feel bad and wish I would have sent an email or called, because you've obviously been wondering why the heck you hadn't heard from me, and now you're probably wishing you hadn't sent this email..."
I hate it when this happens.
Thanks for reading with me. It's so good to read with friends.
P.S. It's the last day to enter this month's Chocolate Chip Cookie contest. Go to: http://tinyurl.com/ya45wqj
* This month's Penguin Classics book is Who Would Have Thought It? by Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton. To start reading and find out how you can save by purchasing this Classic from Penguin, go to: http://tinyurl.com/January10Classics