A First World Problem

Okay, I’m risking offending someone, and it’s probably not worth it for such a trivial problem, but it’s kind of late, and I don’t have anything else planned, and it’s on my mind, and it’s not like it’s the kind of rant that’s going to keep me or anyone else up at night.  So, I’m going for it.

Wait. No.  

Hold on.  I’m not going to vent and judge.  It’s too easy, and frankly there’s too much of that going on.  One of my fellow blogger/slicers wrote a very serious and sincere post yesterday about listening.  In her case this listening had a much more important function. It was listening for the purposes of unmuffling the voices in our society that get ignored or that don’t feel they can express their deepest truths.

I need to listen, too.  In my case, this listening will really just be a tiny exercise in tolerance or understanding. I will try to listen. I will try to  express my question in a way that does not show my bias. Of course, you know from my first paragraph that I have a bias, but I’m going to try to will it away.

I actually do want to understand.  Here’s my question: When a person at my school sends a congratulatory note to someone else in the school, and they send it to the whole staff, everyone sees it.  I know that’s not a question, but it’s leading to one. We all see that the person did something remarkable or had something happen in their life that was important, worthy of celebration. I understand that. I think that’s a great thing for a community to celebrate, and I’m grateful that I work in a community that cares so much about each other.  I also understand why we, as individuals, would then want to echo that congratulation. We, too, want to tell the person, the individual, that we’re happy for their achievement, milestone, joyous occasion.

What I want to understand is why so many people use “Reply All” when they send their own congratulations to the individual? 

I know that it requires an extra step to write to the individual. The note was sent to our Staff group.  Reply Sender doesn’t help. That would go back to the person who announced the accomplishment.  Reply All is just easier than writing a new email to the individual. Okay. Is that the reason, though?  Is there also the thought that maybe it’s only after seeing the same email twelve times that some people actually see it at a time when they have a moment to respond? So, each Reply All is like a gentle nudge to the rest of the staff?  

If there is more to it than I am understanding, I would welcome more insight.  Maybe this has to do with my introversion? I prefer the private comment over the public? I’m not really sure.

I’m wondering if anyone has found a work-around that would allow people to do something quickly that wouldn’t require everyone else to see the same post so many times.  This thought occurred to me. What if the person who was being celebrated wrote a quick, “Thank you!” as a Reply All? Would that be presumptuous? If that was the custom,  then everyone could reply to that “Thank you” and no one else would have to read those individual notes of congratulation. Has this already occurred to everyone, and I’m just late to the party?  Has there already been a study that shows that when Reply All is deployed, more people actually participate?  

I know.  I’m overthinking.  I know, the irony is that the time it took me to write this is probably 100 times longer than all of the Reply Alls that I’ve had to deal with this year. 

I think I’ll go to sleep now.  I am deeply sorry everybody, for wasting all of this time.  I only published this because I want to understand… and because I’m on Day 27 of this challenge, and because it’s a Friday,  and because frankly the well is running dry. Happy weekend to All. No need to Reply.

10 thoughts on “A First World Problem

  1. I get it. We’ve had this discussion in our building and at home as well. My daughters have pointed out that some people (AKA the older people like me) do it accidentally sometimes when they don’t think before they hit reply. I am much more careful now. lol

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  2. I am laughing a little because I am not deeply introverted (apparently I am an ambivert – go figure), but I have had similarly meandering thoughts about the “reply all” congratulations. To me, the reply all congratulations is a bit performative – and I tend to like things like that to be private. BUT… I wonder if there are times when the reply all becomes a bit like a ticker tape parade – it’s a community throwing the confetti up in the air, letting the ticker tape rain down, visibly, repeatedly showing the person that we are celebrating together. At least, that’s what I tell myself as I read the seventh or eighth reply, right before I hit reply, change the recipient and send a private note…
    Now, go get some sleep – that puppy is wearing you out!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I really like the parade image. That’s so good. It’s true, you keep passing new people and they keep clapping. It’s also a very generous way of looking at this,…which is what I’m writing about right now as I try to get back to the morning posts. I feel like this was perhaps my fluffiest post as far as value goes.

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  3. I have another theory. I think that once one person replies, others feel that if they don’t reply all, they may seem like they aren’t as kind or happy for the recipient of the original email. So it’s a little bit of peer pressure. It’s not that hard to hit reply, delete the person’s name, and type in the intended individuals name… unless you want everyone to see your response. To know you too are kind and thoughtful. I risk others thinking me not so nice and avoid the reply all. I’ve thought a bit about this myself.

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  4. I was half way through and a bit nervous — but then I got your point and my nerves turned to laughter! I get it – I get it all. I do think that people want to be seen, they want everyone to know they saw and congratulated whatever or whoever needed to congratulated. I’ll ponder this some more while I’m thankful I did no offense ;). For someone who had nothing planned, you pulled this off brilliantly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had this ready this morning, but decided not to post, partly because I didn’t want it to offend you. This was not at all directed at the initial shout out, which I think is a great thing… and it’s often you who notices when someone should get a shout out. I think that’s one of the things that is great about our school. I just don’t always love seeing it for the 15th time that day. I hope you get my distinction. Keep doing what you do!!

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  5. I have to have a really strong reason to Reply All. Otherwise, I avoid it at all costs. There is just not enough time to be asked to be a part of everyone’s conversation. It’s exhausting. And maybe I should also just go to bed.
    Signed,
    Not offended.

    Liked by 1 person

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