Written an Angry Message? Think Before You Press Send!

two hands typing on laptop keyboard sending messages
by Vance Larson

You got laid off from your job. You’re upset. You go home and have a drink to calm down. But for whatever reason, you can’t move past this feeling of being let go. Sure, you have been late a few times. But you have been there over a year, and you feel like you have given them some pretty good work. Feeling emotional and with a few drinks under your belt, you unleash a tirade on your social media page. Boom! You feel better.

OMG! I have written about this time and time again. And I feel compelled to write about it yet again, because I am seeing so many commit professional suicide. The first rule of posting when angry is don’t! Don’t under any circumstance write when you’ve lost control of your emotions. It doesn’t matter if it’s about your job, family or spouse, do not under any circumstance do it.

While it might feel good in the moment, it more than likely will come back to haunt you. It doesn’t matter if you post and take it down a short time later. More than likely, someone has seen it, and you have no idea who they have told, or if they have shared it. It is as you have written in ink. You may not think it’s permanent, and in some cases it is not. But there is a very strong chance that it will get back to you. I know this, for there is a long line of clients who end up in my office trying to get their life back because they committed a cardinal offense. They posted when angry.

Just because you have a thought, not everything should be made public notice

We’re getting too comfortable with sharing online. Just because you have a thought, not everything should be made public notice. The best piece of advice that I was ever given was during a Board Of Directors meeting. We had to deal with a dicey situation, which required written documentation going out to the offending party. The Board president said “You have to assume that this letter will be published on the front page of the New York Times.” And while we knew that in all likely hood it wouldn’t, it had to be correct (meaning no errors and with facts checked.) That was a game changer for me.

I like to use the analogy of grocery shopping when hungry. You’re starving and you fill your cart with everything that looks appealing to you. When you get home and unpack, you realize that you over shopped, and thus you over spent. Wasted time wasted money. The same principle holds true when you are angry. Writing and then posting an angry rant looks and feels appealing, but when the dust clears, the reality settles in.

The problem is, the spirit isn’t always your friend

I have used many scenarios in the past about posting when angry. I have mainly spoken about when a potential employee would interview with me (when I was running an HR Department), I would often check their social media, post interview. {You would be amazed what one can learn.} Talking badly about their current employer, does not play well with a potential new one. Same holds true with an argument with an ex. It’s going to get back to them. Even if you have blocked them from your page, somewhere, some mutual friend will leak what you have said. So let me break down a few guidelines if you feel you absolutely, positively must write when you’re angry. I get that you want to capture the spirit of what you are feeling. The problem is, the spirit isn’t always your friend. So whenever possible, stick to this formula.

1. Know that the “Third Times A Charm.”

If you’re going to write when you’re angry, have enough self restraint to walk away and come back to it 3 times.

2. Is it suitable for the New York Times?

If it’s not something that you wouldn’t say to or in front of the whole world, walk away and rethink.

3. If it all possible, have someone read it before you post it.

A fresh set of eyes will save you a lot of potential trouble.

4. Make final revisions.

Hopefully by now you have calmed down a bit. This will be your third time reading it. You wrote it. You envisioned it in the New York Times. You ran it past a trusted friend or loved one. And now you’re ready to adjust accordingly.

I can recall when I was working EAP, and employees would often use this strategy. They would come to my office (for example), and run a text past me before sending to their spouse. Or, they bounce their comments off me before turning in a written reprimand. I often talk about “practicing the pause” when things are chaotic. I believe it is better to pause, then to make or complicate things. Third times a charm, accomplishes the same thing.

So if you are angry or feeling emotional, and feel the need to express what’s going on via the internet. Remind yourself one thing. Third times a charm.

Sign Up For Free

Leave a Comment

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap