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Transcript: Danger Ahead ~ Emailing While Angry
Welcome to the People Safety Podcast from Kidpower, teaching advocacy, boundary setting, and other personal safety skills for building happier lives and stronger relationships! I’m Erika Leonard with another Kidpower People Safety Tip.
Yesterday, I talked to a girl who was really upset about a text message, not one that she got from a friend but one that she, herself, had sent. This girl and her friend had argued about something, the girl walked away exploded with anger, and while she was triggered with all those upset feelings, she fired off an angry text message. In the moment, when she sent it, she felt good. But after a while, as she felt less exploded with anger, she felt like maybe sending the message might have been a mistake. After a little more time, she actually decided writing and sending the text message was a really big mistake! She realized that even though she still had strong feelings about her argument with her friend, her own angry message was actually more hurtful and even more unfair than the things her friend had done that upset her in the first place. While her angry message made her feel better when she sent it, in the long run, it caused a bigger problem in her friendship.
This girl learned the hard way a lesson that a lot of kids and a lot of adults haven’t figured out yet: sending emails and text messages while you’re exploded with angry or upset feelings often causes huge relationship messes that take a lot of time and effort to clean up. Sometimes the mess is between two kids, but lots of times, the mess is between two adults. I’ve talked to teachers who get angry emails from parents of their students, I’ve talked to people who work together who have managed to make their days really unpleasant by getting in the habit of sending upset messages back and forth. Just last week, I talked to a woman and her mother – both obviously adults! – who had created huge problems in their relationship by arguing electronically.
The funny thing is, every single one of these people, adults and kids, said that when they wrote their messages, they felt positive at the time they were right, that the other person needed to get their message right now, and that they were being totally fair in how they saw and wrote about the problem. But, none of these people saw their messages make things better in the long run. Either the relationship just got messier, with more hurt feelings, misunderstandings, and damaged trust, or they figured out that by moving away from the keyboards and the keypads and using their voices, they could go forward with the hard work of fixing the problem.
Remember that when we’re triggered or exploded with any big feeling – like sadness or fear or anger – it’s really hard to think clearly and make wise choices for ourselves. Anger itself? Anger’s not a problem – it’s what we do with anger that can be a problem!
So next time you’re exploded with anger and ready to give someone you know an electronic piece of your mind, move away from the technology and think first! Invest time and thought – you, your feelings, and your relationships deserve at least that much.
Visit kidpower.org for more people safety tips, and remember, in everything you do, stay safe, act wisely, and of course, believe in yourself!