Yep, she’s ticked. I wrote a little yesterday about how I was pretty certain an email response I made to my cousin would probably result in quite a bit of anger directed at me and I was right on the money. What I didn’t expect was how similar the resulting conversation ended up being compared to the last time I pissed off a different cousin by responding to an email he had sent me.
Both cousins argued that they were most upset at the fact that I had used the Reply To All function of my email program to send my response to everyone who had gotten the original email. Both cousins seem to be of the opinion that I had no business sending my views to their friends and acquaintances when I didn’t even know those people. Both chastised me for not corresponding more and for only corresponding when I had (what they felt was) a criticism. Both accused me of being an uncaring, thoughtless, arrogant, self-centered jerk because I had the audacity to speak my mind on an issue I considered important to people I don’t even know. I probably didn’t help my cause in either case by admitting that I didn’t see anything wrong with what I did and I’d probably do it again if I felt it was something worth responding to. It also probably didn’t help that I mentioned that if I were concerned that people might get upset with me if I handed their email address out that I’d check beforehand before doing so, or at least use the Blind Carbon Copy function to be safe.
I’m sure that had my email been supportive of their original messages that I wouldn’t be in the hot water with them that I am now. No one ever seems to mind if they get email from someone who agrees with their views regardless of whether or not they know that person. In both cases I was told flat out that their friends didn’t “need” to hear my opinions. Had my cousin known, says she, that I would have responded to the entire list of recipients should wouldn’t have sent me the email in the first place. She went on to state that “Obviously with your religious (or non-religious) beliefs, this particular e-mail should not have been forwarded to you and my apologies for that, but the amazing thing is, I never hear from you at all, so gee, I guess that wouldn’t be taking my feelings into consideration, that would be not thinking of me at all.” Well it couldn’t have been too obvious because she sent me the email anyway just to “get a rise” out of me as she stated in her first angry response. I suppose if you tease a dog long enough you should expect to get bitten.
Surprisingly I did get a positive response to my email from at least one of the people I sent it to who went on to suggest that I consider going into politics as they seem to think we could use more people like me in the government. That was a very pleasant surprise and actually reaffirmed in my mind that I had not done anything wrong. If the folks who are offended by my boldness are that worried that I might start sending them cavalcades of additional emails they can relax as I don’t plan on adding them to my mailing lists anytime soon. If they’re still worried I might continue to offend their sensibilities then I humbly suggest they look into how to block unwanted addresses in their email programs.
Ah, just as I was going to wrap this up I received another response from my cousin. This one is definitely a lot less angry in tone and does give me hope that I haven’t done irreparable harm to my relationship with her. She is, and always has been, my favorite cousin and I was more disheartened with her than angry over her reaction to my message. She reiterates that she’s mainly upset about my sending the email to her friends that don’t know me, many of whom are Christian and apparently got upset with her over my atheistic viewpoint. She also felt that I was indirectly calling her an idiot, which was not my intent. I’m close to being late to work already so my response back will have to wait until later this evening. Perhaps this will work out for the better in the end. If I can manage not be such an insensitive jerk that is…