Q: Is there a gracious way to stop an acquaintance from copying me on her “humorous” e-mails? Just this past week I received 14 jokes or cute little sayings from her (I’m one of about 50 recipients). I don’t want to be rude, but dealing with these messages is taking up too much of my time.
A: You might actually have an easy way out: Many businesses prohibit employees from using their computers for personal matters. Regardless of whether your office has such a policy, tell your acquaintance that personal e-mails are interfering with your work (and I do mean “tell”-communicate verbally rather than via e-mail). Thank her for including you on her mailing list, but say that you now must be removed. The “thanks but no thanks” approach also works for people who are being buried by e-mail blitzes on their home computers. You could tell the letter writers: “I just don’t have time to keep up with your jokes. I’d appreciate it if you could remove me from your forwarding list. But thanks for thinking of me.”