5 Ways to Wait for Emails Without Going Totally Insane

Patience is a virtue and unfortunately it's one I don't have. I could really use it though. As a writer, I spend most of my days waiting on people to get back to my emails. As I wait for people to respond to me, I can usually be found clawing at my thigh like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, hissing, "I won't be ignored, Dan!" Only, I don't usually say "Dan." Unless I'm waiting on an email from Dan.

Getting worked up while waiting for email responses isn't a good idea. By the time someone gets back to you, you can lose sight of the fact that they answered your email and get caught up in how long it took to answer. And that can make you snippy. All in all, it's best to be patient when waiting on emails. Great gods of Gmail, it's freaking hard though! Whether you're waiting on a response from your boss, your husband, your kids, your kids' teachers, whomever, it's not fun. Here are five things you can do to make the wait more tolerable.


Use your imagination. A lot of email stress is because your mind goes bonkers while you wait. Instead of thinking, "Hm, this person hasn't had time to get back to me yet," your brain can veer into, "She's refusing to answer just to make my life HELL!" Chances are, the person just has other things going on. So I like to imagine that the email recipient might be in the hospital. Imagine if I wrote a nasty email accusing her of ignoring me only to find out she was lying in the hospital! Then I'd feel like crap. It sounds twisted, but if you're impatient with an email, imagine the person is clinging to life somewhere.

Don't check Facebook. I was once waiting for someone to email me something important and days and days went by. Yet, I kept seeing this person updating their Facebook status. It was infuriating! Not enough time to email me but enough time to get on FB, eh?! Of course, FB can be a lot easier to update in a moment than responding to an email, which might take some time. So block that person while you're waiting. You can unblock later.

Deep breathing and yoga. I've read a lot about how deep breathing can calm you down. I'm not totally sure it works, but hey, it can't hurt. The ideal calming technique is four counts inhale, hold for two counts, four counts exhale. Do that ten times. Then do some yoga moves. If that doesn't calm you, at least you'll be limber!

Think of yourself. I'm very good at getting back to people by email (everyone says so!), but even I have let some go occasionally. Sometimes a person sends a long email and I don't have time to read it. So I put it to the backburner. If I don't answer something right away, it can tend to slip my mind. Since I've done this, I have to assume other people can make the same mistake.

Don't take it personally. This is a tough one, but someone not answering your email doesn't mean they hate you. Or that they're deliberately ignoring you. It just means they're probably doing a million other things. Or their email is down. Or their child is sick. Or they're sick. Whatever. It's not always about you.

When all else fails, a follow-up email doesn't hurt as long as you give it a reasonable amount of time, and follow up with something other than, "Why the hell aren't you answering me, you email ignorer, you?!" No matter how much you might want to.

Do you get impatient when people don't respond to your emails?

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