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We dissolve stuck and rewrite patterns. We apply radical playfulness to life (when we feel like it!), embarking on internal adventures (credo of Safety First). We have a fake band called Solved By Cake. We build invisible sanctuaries, invent words and worlds, breathe awe and wonder.

We are not impressed by monsters. Except when we are. We explore the connections between internal territories and surrounding environment to learn what marvelously supportive delicious space feels like, and how to take exquisite care of ourselves. We transform things.* We glow wild.**

* For example: Desire, fear, worry, pain-and-trauma, boundaries, that problematic word which rhymes with flaweductivity.

** Fair warning: Self-fluency has been known to lead to extremely subversive behavior, including treasuring yourself unconditionally, unapologetically taking up space, experiencing outrageously improbable levels of self-acceptance, and general rejoicing in aliveness.


My 100% guilt-free email policy

The end of email guilt

The other day someone apologized yet again for not getting back to me sooner, and it occurred to me that maybe it’s really time I reference my guilt-free policy in every email.

Which would be awesome. Because then I could just say (chirpily), “Please see my 100% guilt-free communication policy“.

Of course you can’t actually see it, since it’s in my head, but it’s still a policy.

Yeah, that’s right. I have a strongly-held 100% guilt-free correspondence policy.

Because, for some reason, despite the fact that it seems to me as though I do nothing but talk about my guilt-free email policy, no one seems to actually know about it.

My policy? Why, yes, I have one. Haven’t I already told you about it? It’s 100% guilt-free, guaranteed. For real.

So here’s how it works.

If I write to you and you don’t write back, and I find myself really wanting an answer on something, I can always send another email that says “Hey, could I get a response on this thing?”

Otherwise you’re good.

Only write something when you feel like it. Don’t write when you don’t feel like it. No need to feel bad if you do feel like it but you don’t get around to it. We’re cool.

You know when you write to me and say “Sorry for not getting back to you, but …”?

Don’t do that. You don’t have to say that.

That’s what a guilt-free email policy means.

It means I assume that — like me — you’re busy with a hundred different things, you’ve got stuff going on, and that you still love and adore me, like I do you. Mwah.

It means that guilt is unnecessary and it’s harmful and there’s no reason to take it on when you don’t have to.

It also means that, as far as I’m concerned, you don’t need those irritating Tim-Ferriss-ey autoresponders that say you won’t be getting back to me for X amount of time … because I don’t care. Get back to me whenever. Seriously.

I said you couldn’t see my policy, but now I’m going to write it down so you can.

Which is silly, because just reading the words “guilt-free correspondence policy” should have done the trick and calmed you the heck down. But whatever, here’s the policy.

The Official 100% Guilt-Free Correspondence Policy

There is no need to feel guilty when you don’t answer an email right away. Or ever.

Sincerely, Havi Brooks and Selma the Duck

If you’d like you can send a short “Can’t get to this at the moment, will catch up when I can”. But you don’t have to. We’re cool.

Got it? Good.

(Unless you work for me, in which case some policies, ahem, may not apply).

11 Responses to My 100% guilt-free email policy

  1. Duff says:

    Love this! Especially as someone who coaches clients in personal productivity and better email habits.

  2. Megan M. says:

    HA! I freaking love it!

    Megan M.s last blog post..Parents and Growing

  3. James | Dancing Geek
    Twitter: dancing_geek

    Me thinks this is a blogging therapy post in the making too.

    My 100% Guilt Free Posting Policy

    There is no need to feel guilty when you don’t blog regularly, or ever.

    The end.

    Plus all the other stuff, except replace email with write a blog post.

    I have seriously considered writing posts that say “Sorry, I’m not feeling like writing posts at the moment, please don’t hate me.” Fortunately, I realised I really didn’t need to do that (plus, it required, like effort!)

    James | Dancing Geeks last blog post..Day 2: Already getting bored!

  4. Avital says:

    That can finally end all endless polite-replies-e-mail-thread. There is really no end to it, unless you reassure the recipient that a response is really not necessary. No hard feelings :)

    Avitals last blog post..Inspiration Prompt #30 – Who Is Different?

  5. Great policy! I’ll adopt it like… like TWINS!

    And (for me) the corollary is, if you need an answer right away, perhaps email isn’t the best choice. I have a phone. People can call it. If they think they lack permission to call me, then see the Guilt-Free Email Policy.

  6. Mahala
    Twitter: LuminousHeart

    Love it. What I especially love imbedded in there is the concept “and if you need to hear from me I trust you’ll email again.”

    100% guilt-free goes both ways. I trust you to reply when it works and I trust us both to tap-tap each other again IF a response is especially needed.

    Responsibility – ability to respond.

    Mahalas last blog post..Prayer Bead Malas and Jewelry

  7. Havi Brooks
    Twitter: havi


    I hope this starts a run of Guilt-Free Policies. I find apologetic “I hate myself for not getting back to you” emails as boring as the “Hi, I haven’t posted for a while” posts. Let’s all just forgive ourselves! It’s life. It happens. :)

  8. dpaul says:

    Say what you like Havi, I wait with baited breath for my Havigrams…

    Even when Selma is making fun of me. Don’t think I can’t hear it duckie.

    dpauls last blog post..Ma Descente Suprême!

  9. I think I needed to read this today, because I have been “guilty” of sending guilt-tinged emails. For some silly reason, I don’t expect anyone else to respond within 24 hours, but I expect it of myself. Like anybody asked me to.

    Thanks for helping me remember that it is silly, and it’s a conversation to have with myself and my own expectations, rather than with my poor, bewildered email recipients.

    Rachel Whalleys last blog post..How Long Does It Take To Heal?

  10. Bev Barnett says:

    Wow. This could be life changing. First email, then maybe I can stop stressing over never having given my pecan bar recipe to the woman who asked for it in 1992.

    Bev Barnetts last blog post..O Come All Ye Faithful/The First Noel

  11. Havi Brooks
    Twitter: havi


    @Bev – you should just post your pecan bar recipe here. Or on your blog. Or both. And then if she ever remembers that she asked for it, nearly seventeen years later, you can just LINK TO IT!

    Aside, how is 1992 almost seventeen years ago? I would have sworn it was more like ten.

    @Rachel – I know. I do it to. And it’s funny how it never occurs to me to think that my “poor bewildered email recipients” might have no idea what’s going through my head. :)

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