I often hear people bemoan the fact that someone has not replied to their email. Sure, it’s possible that they are snubbing you. But their lack of response is far more likely to have nothing to do with you at all. Don’t take it personally!
Before YOU get upset that someone hasn’t replied to YOUR email, consider the many reasons why this might be the case (paying special attention to #14):
- They haven’t checked their email since you sent yours. They might be extra busy, on vacation, not in the habit of using email regularly, or experiencing technical difficulties. Actually, that’s four reasons right there. If it’s that important, give them a heads-up call.
- They saw it, but did not open it yet, thinking they’d come back to it, and then forgot.
- They opened it, but did not actually read it due to interruption/distraction, and then forgot.
- They read it, and fully intended to reply, but got interrupted/distracted and did not have a reliable system for reminding themselves to do it later.
- They did not recognize that a reply was in order because they didn’t read it all. Was your email too long?
- They did not recognize that a reply was desired because the request was not clear.
- They didn’t recognize it as being important to read due to the vague subject line. I’ve even overlooked emails from people who were important to me because they were sent by assistants whose names I did not recognize.
- They have so many emails in their inbox that it simply got lost in the clutter. Good reason to declutter your own inbox!
- They gave you a different address than the one they normally use, and they aren’t checking the inbox where your email actually went. This just happened to me, with a customer complaining they hadn’t received their digital download order. What can I say? I used the address they gave me!
- Your email went to their Junk or Spam folder, which can happen accidentally despite their settings… if they even know they have settings and how to change them… if they even know they have Junk and/or Spam folders.
- They set up a rule to forward certain emails to a designated folder and didn’t realize yours would go there and then forgot to check that folder.
- The email got delayed or lost in cyberspace. Yes, really.
- They read, it and they intend to reply, and have not forgotten, but are not quite sure what they want to say. Maybe they need more info? Maybe a phone call is in order?
- Or…uh oh…wait a minute…what if…maybe they really DID reply?! Before asking them about it make sure you’ve searched your own emails, Junk/Spam folders, etc. Each folder can be sorted by sender, date, and subject. You can also search ALL email items to see where it might have gone. Maybe you’re the one who set up a rule to forward certain emails to a designated folder and you forgot to look for it there. Also check your sent messages folder to make sure you really sent it, and to the correct address. I’ve been known to think I sent a message, when in fact it’s sitting in my Drafts folder. Oops!
If I haven’t heard from YOU yet (and I have searched my own emails for your reply, and verified that I sent it) I usually wait a few days. Remember, it’s email, not an urgent or sensitive conversation we’re having. Then I re-send the email with a note: “Resending this in case it got lost in cyberspace. Can you confirm receipt?” Usually I get a quick reply saying you have just been busy and forgot, but this way I have given you an out. It’s not something I want you to feel bad about (if it were that important I would have called), and meanwhile I am not assuming that you are purposely avoiding me!
Do you take email (or lack thereof) personally?
What other reasons can you think of?
Please share in the comments below!
Copyright 2015 by Hazel Thornton, Organized For Life.
Social media links directly to this page are encouraged!
Please contact me for other types of reprint permission.