Decorative Flower
Her Realm, Personal website and blog of Cole
Apr 01

Family Ties

At first glance, I am so unlike my mom. She is more rough around the edges and simple in many ways. She’s not only driven by emotions — she’s fueled by them. I try to use logic to make better decisions and communicate more effectively. I’m a complex person, even though I’ve come to understand that I can be simpler than I ever thought and that maybe being complex isn’t bad.

I care more about appearances and presentation. I take more care with my looks and the words I choose. I am better, overall, at language and communicating effectively. I also have deeper understanding of the interactions people between and how things work, especially when it comes ot technology.

But when you compare us, you’ll see likenesses. We say some things in similar ways. It’s a tonal thing; although, we do use some of the same turns of phrase. There’s another similarity that I’ve been thinking about lately, too.

Both my mom and I come off as the type of people who won’t stand for anyone’s crap. In reality, we both shy away from confrontation more than you expect. I think this surprised people. No one is super comfortable with confrontation, and the way

I “avoid” confrontation by attempting to deal with issues in a forward and logical way. Thanks to marriage counseling, I’m much better at arguing in a constructive manner than, well, many people. So confrontation becomes less about fighting and more about understanding, thus making it less anxiety-causing to begin with.

Mom, on the other hand… Well, she’s not so good with the communication. If she’s frustrated with you or you’ve hurt her, she’s more likely to tell other people. This only increases her frustration and multiplies the drama. Of course, the original issue remains unresolved.

There is a common thread, I think, between the two of us. There’s a sort of fear about dealing with other people, I think, and not being able to express ourselves or appearing foolish. While Mom takes the angry route, I try to aim for the higher road — to understand why people do things, to forgive them and to be the bigger person as much as possible.

I’m generally more at ease and content with this aspect of my life because of this, and it’s something I wish she was more self-aware about because then she could be, too.

Still, I’m not so good at dealing with certain people. Usually it’s because the way they argue triggers a more emotional response to me. Some of my friends fight in a way that reminds me of my ex, and I respond in kind. It’s not so pretty.

I’m also afraid of pushing some people away with confrontation. While I realize that I have good intentions and anyone who should know this but runs away maybe isn’t the sort of force I need in my life to begin with, it’s hard because sometimes I wind up caring about those types of people.

Ultimately, I would rather err on this side. But there is still progress to be made. I think I can be understanding of others without selling myself short. I can — and should — be able to explain myself in a reasonable manner and should expect others to react in kind as much as possible. Realistically, I know we are fallible humans, but I should be able to confront people when it’s called for and be prepared to lose people who aren’t as rational as I am.

But I’ll probably avoid that change for a while. ;)


Jul 30

Avoid Making Enemies with Email Etiquette

I’ve had a particularly trying day when it comes to email exchanges. People have sent too many emails and too few emails, and it’s taken over a week for something that could be done with a few clicks of the mouse to even get started. There’s no reason for this. In fact, I would go so far as to suggest that someone who is doing these things is unprofessional, and this hurts your brand.

Email is just another form of customer service in 2014, and if you don’t treat it right, consumers will pay attention. When those consumers are also a blogger like me, we write posts like this telling you how to write emails without coming off as a douche or a moron.

NEVER ADD PEOPLE TO YOUR LIST WITHOUT THEIR EXPRESS PERMISSION.

You do not have the right to add me to any newsletter list just because I fill out a contact for or enter a giveaway. No fine print makes this even legal. It’s annoying when companies do it and even worse when it comes from other bloggers who should know better because they’ve been on a the receiving end. Just no no no.

Use BCC.

BCC, or blind carbon copy, sends emails to multiple recipients without showing their email addresses to everyone else on the list. It’s rude and unsafe to release another person’s email address.  Even if you trust everyone on your list, anyone whose email address you have trusts you to keep that contact information safe. Fortunately, using BCC enables you to do this without having to individually email every person.

Check your email before you send it.

Make sure you have added all attachments (Thunderbird will ask you if you meant to add attachments. Fix typos. If you intended to copy and paste content, add a link or  format the text in a specific way, do it. This helps you avoid the next.

Email Etiquette

Email Etiquette

Don’t send two emails in a row.

If you don’t take the time to proofread/give your email the once over, you’re going to have to send a correction. This gets confusing and causes clutter. However, it’s not the only reason someone might use to send an email twice.

  • If I haven’t replied to your email in a few hours and it’s not an emergency.
  • If you sent me some sort of press release or invitation to a program and you received no reply.
  • If I’ve told you I have to do X and will get back to you.

The one thing these events all have in common? It’s not okay to send another email just because I didn’t reply unless your previous email specifically stated you required a reply within a certain period. I am either working on what I need to reply or have deleted your email because it’s spammy. In many cases, I reply at night because I am usually awake during third shift hours. Sending a second email will not make this happen any faster and may land you on a reported spam list.

Send as few emails as possible.

Few things are as obnoxious as an email exchange that takes hours, days or even weeks longer than it should because you fail to understand the concept that you can send messages with more than one sentence or thought. Simply being thoughtful will enable you to anticipate questions I might have or information I will need. I don’t expect you to be a mind-reader, but one thing that I frequently run into is that email exchanges take more time (and patience!) than they should because you fail to ask the right questions.

I use email to organize giveaways and reviews more than I use it for any other reason. In fact, I never use it for personal reasons anymore. So my exchanges typically go like this:

  • I send a pitch (or receive one).
  • Company agrees (or I agree).
  • I specify products I’d like to try and send my address.

As a reviewer, the next email I want is a notification of shipping or tracking number. That’s it.

If I am hosting a giveaway, I will send emails verifying the prize, number of winners, shipping restrictions and any entries the company would like. After I receive these replies, there’s no need to reply until I send you a link to the giveaway and the winner’s information.

There are certain points during the review process where there will be a lull. If you understand the process, you won’t need to email me at these times. If you do, you obviously haven’t asked the right questions from the start.

This leads me to my next point.

Know when to end the communication.

It’s like when someone says “Good night” on the phone and the other person says “Good night,” and it keeps going back and forth and neither of you want to keep up the conversation but you feel pressured to do so.

So what would you add to this list?


Dec 20

There is no rule that says you have to be be nice on the Internet

I wish I could say that I’m not afraid to be the dissenting voice but it’s not entirely true. I will speak up when I feel I should but I fear.. retribution. This is largely due to the fact that my ex-husband avoided conflict in any form, even when avoidance was actually more of a problem than whatever the conflict would be but it’s also due to certain online communities refusing to ever mutter a discouraging word. Coincidentally, I was the voice of dissent on someone else’s blog today and she deleted the post and comment. I have strong feelings about avoiding criticism and conflict and I shall list them here because a list is the only way this post won’t be ridiculously confusing.

  •  There is no rule that says you have to be nice on the Internet. While this means you can get away with being a douchebag, it also means that people are going to occasionally treat you like crap. We’ve all experienced it and, no, it’s not fun but that’s the reality of it.
  • But just because you can be a dick without getting your ass pounded or are anonymous on the Internet doesn’t mean you have to be. You can still be a decent person when it calls for.
  • People won’t always heed the previous so you should surround yourself with people who are supportive.
  • But you should avoid only communicating with those who put a positive spin on everything because honestly is necessary. It may be uncomfortable but dissent and criticism promote growth, whether it’s improving upon a product after a less than thrilled review, becoming a bigger person, redesigning a website, learning to communicate better with your partner or working to better your customer service. Without conflict, no matter the degree, we’d all be stuck in the same place forever.
  • And avoiding conflict may put off that momentary discomfort but will make you miserable all the time. It will also ruin your relationships. Fact. Marriages where the couple fall into the pursuer-withdrawer roles usually end within 5 years. Mine did. Ha!
  • No one wants to be the voice of dissent, either. Even when I know I’m right, I’m worried about what people will say, if I’ll get attacked because I don’t agree or if someone might delete my comments. We’re all people, here and I’m pretty sure we’re strong enough to get through this.
  • With that said, sometimes you have to speak up even when no one else is. It can be difficult to be the first person to voice your concerns but it shows strength of character. Honesty is a valuable trait. Perhaps I’m honest to the fault when I play the Devil’s advocate but no one would ever fault me for being a liar.
  • But you can be honest without being a dick. Use tact.
  • When you experience conflict or criticism, there’s no need to throw in the towel. In fact, feel free to argue, reasonably, if you believe yourself to be in the right. But one bit of adversity is not enough to shut down a website, end a relationship, or even delete a post or comment. Accept conflict because it shows strength of character.
  • Respond like an adult and learn to recognize when you cannot so that you can step back from the fray, temporarily, to regroup. Rather than avoiding conflict, allow yourself to calm down and reflect upon whether there is any truth to what is being said. Return to the conversation after and then respond, if it benefits you to do so.

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