|not knowing whether it would be better to respond to an email or to ignore it|
a regret index of 1 is ultimate regret
this result collects the hard-earned
experience of 14 lifetimes of regret
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commentsContext: The person emailing me is someone whom I know, but not well, and haven't interacted with at all in years; I have nothing but bad memories associated with him; basically the content of the email was 'how are you'.
also: I really don't like to just leave a question hanging. Advice?
agent57: I don't know... I would probably reply, as I too dislike leaving a question hanging and hate to seem impolite. But the cynical side to me would think "they're only emailing now because they want something from me."
agent57: But who knows, maybe from their side of the relationship they considered you their best friend, and are just really glad to get in touch with you again.
A further complication is: that I really have not been very well lately, and even less so if I consider the entire time since I last spoke with him, so if I answered the question honestly I would be telling him a lot more than I would usually tend to tell someone I don't know well.
agent57: In such a case i would usually casually mention your latest malady, but follow it with a cheerful "other than that, I'm doing well". You don't really have to get into your last decade or so.
sa: I feel like I could possibly be the one who sent you this email (but probably not, I'm actually putting off sending an email to someone for various reasons, e.g. cowardice). My motivation would be that I want to apologise for being a cunt.
sa: ...but of course, that would actually be in the body of the email, somewhere.
2ubesock Shakur: You should definitely reply, but why not be honest about your concern upfront? "Wow, I'm surprised to hear from you, we only spoke once in Chem class and you got me in trouble by cheating off me." Aren't these "bad memories" a topic of discussion?
2ubesock Shakur: Plus we don't know how poorly you know this person. I'd like to hear more. And I second agent57's point: what is the other person's side of the story?
2ubesock Shakur: But perhaps the subtext here is: "How best can I fuck with this person of whom I have only bad memories?" Your question does leave that interpretation open.
2ubesock Shakur: However, let's say your intention is not to fuck with him. Then put yourself in his shoes: maybe he's been "unwell" for some time also, and would welcome the opportunity to clear the air. How would you want someone to treat you in such an instance?
2ubesock Shakur: Or more importantly, how would he want to be treated by you? Perhaps you don't know, as you portray the relationship as a casual one, perhaps a hallway nod. But placing someone else's needs above your own is the fundament of society.
2ubesock Shakur: So: If we were only kind to the people who "deserved" it, we'd all be fucked. So do you want to actually BE kind, or just see what you can get away with? Doing what's right is a disaster, which makes it an intrinsic virtue, not a results-producing one.
One of the problems that I had with the relationship was: that he on several occasions wanted it to progress beyond an extremely casual friendship, and I wasn't at all comfortable with that for various reasons. So I don't want to encourage him? But I also don't want to be an ass just because of that.
That's not actually that big an issue, though compared with the other: The situation in which I met him was extremely bad for reasons not entirely related to him. I really, really, REALLY don't want to reminisce about those times. I don't even want to be reminded of them. And I think responding to him would remind me.
I don't feel I owe it to him at all to be nice to him: but I would prefer to be polite for the sake of being polite. On the other hand, if I was going to cut off contact, it would be best to do so right away so that he can think I died or am not using that email any longer instead of that I don't want to talk
The reasons I've been unwell are basically psychological, and have a lot to do with the period of time in which I knew him: and also have been severe enough of late that I'm not sure I can say I've been well aside from that. Also, I'm hardly willing to talk about it with my shrink, which means I really don't want to open discussion about it with someone I know but barely know.
2ubesock Shakur: Well, no one will fault you for choosing convenience over kindness. It just happens to be wrong. Good luck, though. I can think of times I could've made my own life easier by keeping my mouth shut. It just wouldn't have been fair to the other person.
I'm not sure "convenience" is the right word, as if it triggers something I could be looking at severe mental/emotional damage (and all that comes with it) as opposed to minor inconvenience?: I agree that it's usually better to treat others kindly, but if it's at a point where I'm actively hurting myself for the sake of other people whom I don't even care about, I don't think that's really worth it.
I guess the real question is how much damage I expect it to do: as compared with how much good it could possibly do him.
Kento: ... this regret parallels something I've been going through the past week and a half...
sa: On closer inspection, o anonymous regretter, you could be my girlfriend? She recently received communication from an undesirable character from her (our) past(s) with words to the effect of "how are you".
After some deliberation, she decided to reply for reasons similar to your own (not wanting to be a jerk, etc.), but I can report that she has since been made to regret this choice of action: Like you, she didn't especially want to reflect for any length of time on those past events, although the undesirable in question seemed oblivious to this fact and proceeded to ramble along the lines of "hey remember when/this is a fine reminisce, eh".
sa: ...so her advice would probably be to just remain completely cut-off?
2ubesock Shakur: So there you go. Three completely different sets of advice based on an incomplete picture. Now you can do whatever you were going to do anyway and feel justified doing it. Ain't rationalization grand?
Document: That got bitter fast.
Document: Anyway: "I know I've given you mixed signals before, and I'm sorry, but the truth is that you're not the kind of person I want to roll with. Please don't contact me again."? That's if you want to go extra-polite, of course.
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