Have you ever wished you had something in writing, or realised that it would have been better not to have written what you did?

We need a bit of work done in our garden.  A lovely man came out to quote for us.  I think he was a bit disappointed – he thought we were going to pay him to do our whole drive, but the job was a lot smaller than that.  He said it could be done early in June.  Well, I wish I had had that in writing!

Can I have that in writing?

Here we are, the middle of July, and it seems like it will never be done.  It’s not that big a The dangers of the written worddeal, but there’s no point in having the garden dug up when the children are on summer holidays, rather than when they would have been at school.  We want to make an area safer for them, and had I realised it was going to take this long, I would have asked another company.

I think I must be a bit naïve about this sort of thing because it has happened to me before.  I like to think it is because I am trusting and take people at their word.  After all, I try to be honest and act with integrity, so I would hope that others would be this way to me.  If only this were always the case.

But how about the times I wished things weren’t in print?  I wonder if it might come down to the same thing.  The written word can be dangerous, and if people are not acting in honesty and integrity, or are just a bit rushed when they email or message you, what you read might not be what was intended.

I wish I hadn’t written that…

I have had this situation a couple of times in the past week.  The first time, I think someone was too chicken to speak to me about a problem as they knew I wouldn’t like their suggestion of a solution, so emailed someone else and asked them to talk to me about it.  I hadn’t heard the whole The dangers of the written wordstory and got the wrong end of the stick.  It all ended up in a bit of a mess, frankly.  I wish she’d rung me in the first place.

The second time, I thought I was doing someone a favour by giving them plenty of notice about an event later in the year.  Their response was to bite my head off by email, if such a thing can be done!  I rattled off a reply, but sent it to a friend to moderate, rather than directly to the sender.  The friend and I had a conversation, and I realised that it would be better for me to phone and talk about it than to get back by email.

Would I say that in person?

The moral of the story for me is that we should think about how we phrase things.  Would we say it like that in person?  How would someone react?  On social media, if a person is having an exchange of views with another, is it helpful if we rush in with other ideas?  Would we interrupt if we were standing in a room together?

So, I will endeavour to get written facts from tradesmen, and will try to conduct what may be risky business in person or on the phone.

How can you improve the tone of your emails and messages?

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