Subject Line Emails

I’m beginning to wonder if I’m just oversensitive about this – but I really disdain emails where the whole “meat” of the e-mail is contained within the subject line…

A little background…

I think communication well executed is of paramount importance in our relationship economy, and something that is unfortunately not given the attention and effort that it deserves. In all but a few rare exceptions, my e-mails, even to very regular recipients, contains a greeting, and a salutation – and I’m not speaking of a fixed salutation stored in a signature block – these are hand typed, and vary with each e-mail (the fixed signature block salutations are pretty easy to spot after the 3rd or 4th e-mail says the exact same thing, in the same font, spaced exactly the same way.)

I guess what I’m trying to communicate to recipients when I send messages is that they are more important to me than the task or subject of the message. But as a result their message is also important to me as well (just not as important as THEY are.)  You’ve all received the e-mail (or txt for that matter) from someone whom you’ve not communicated with for weeks, and the message is simply a one line message, usually a task (could you “X” for me?) To me, and again, maybe I’m oversensitive on this, that type of message just tells me that completion of the task is more important to the sender than our relationship. I always start with a “Hello {name},” and if it’s been a while since I’ve spoken with them, I will ask how they are, or some other relevant question.

It’s so easy with all of the non face-to-face communication methods we now have at our disposal, to condense a relationship down to just task(s).

The amazing part to me is how often this happens at church – where we are in a general sense committed to community – which implies relationship. But at church, this very thing actually happens even in person – I’ll walk around church on Sunday, and folks that I’ve not spoken to in a while, will need something (I often hold a ‘role’ at church) and you won’t hear “Hi, how have you been,” or any other kind of check in with me personally, just “Hey Bryan, I need…”

I find it somewhat baffling…

I realize we are talking about perceptions here – Most times people have not set out to “be” this way, it’s just happened as a result of time pressures. I’m merely asking that we elevate the importance of the individuals we relate with on a daily bases to a position above the tasks that our daily duties require from them – after all, the people in our worlds are more important than just about anything else. If we lose relationship with people, we’ve lost pretty much everything.


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