Who Are You Really Angry At? Doesn’t matter. Just let it go.

I sent out my first email update in like, four years, to my mailing list of over 9,000 people yesterday. Felt REALLY good to get back into communicating. You know, I only do it for a living and such.

I had over a 50% open rate in the first two hours, which was huge for me – Means I still got stuff that people find valuable, which to me, is all I got, right? Hell, it’s all any of us got, really.

Anyhow, I got four unsubscribes over the course of the day. Three put “have you on another email” in the comments, which made me smile. The fourth one… Well, the fourth one was so over the top, it bordered on magical: Check this out, from a woman I shall only identify as “D.”

Reason for unsubscribing: If I get one more email from a young media exec who had an “aha” moment while watching their infant/toddler in the playground and/or training for the Ironman/Boston Marathon/Newport-Bermuda Race I will lose my lunch. I’ve been reading these for 20 years, starting with my own, am too old and cranky to read any more. Thanks.

So… OK then. Not really sure where to even begin with that. I mean, I’m far from “young” or a “media exec,” and then she sums her tirade up with “thanks.” I mean, something must be going on there, right? It’s not even mandatory to leave a comment – She could have just not given a reason.

So my first response was to fire back something snarky. Hey, when called for, I can give AMAZING snark. I mean, seriously? Who the hell writes a response like that? That’s just bitchy, and not cool.

Had Meagan been there, she would have heard me typing furiously on my keyboard, and she would have come over and shut me down. But she wasn’t. So I was able to go to to town on this woman, and write the rebuttle of rebuttles.

But you know what? Cooler heads prevailed. I remembered a magnet I used to have on my fridge in my last apartment: Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.

So I didn’t write anything back in the heat of the moment. I got up, grabbed a glass of water, then sat back down and penned the following:

Hey there, D…

I get it – I really do – You see someone with a new child, and you’re all like “Yeah, this is bullshit, I wish he’d blow his brains out right here on the sidewalk in front of me so I could make snow angels in his blood,” but it was one email – It shouldn’t make you that angry that you reply like you did.

So I ask… What’s up? Work? Life? Just general crap?

If you ever want to talk about it, with someone who has nothing to lose and nothing to gain, but just happens to be a nice guy, feel free to reach out, my contact info is below.

If not, I wish you a wonderful day, and a bit of happiness – Because right now, something’s really pissing you off – And I’ll bet you $100 that it ain’t me.


-Peter Shankman

And that was it. I hit send, and went to lunch in a much, much happeir mood.

See, had I responded with snark, I would have spent the entire lunch checking my phone to see if I got a response to my response. It would have been an escalating battle with no winners. Worse, I wouldn’t have been present during my dinner. That’s no fun at all.

So instead, I simply let it go.

I once heard that staying angry at someone is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. So I wasn’t: I was the opposite. I was nice.

I haven’t heard back from “D” yet, and you know what? I probably won’t. But I like to think that maybe, just maybe I made her day a little bit happier. Something was hurting her. I could have attacked, but I chose to help. Did it help? Who knows. But I’ll tell you this… My response made me feel a ton better than I would have felt had I ripped into her.

So… Let it go. If you have a few minutes, I gave a talk at the Hubspot Inbound Marketing Conference last year on exactly that point. I should point out that I’m 22 pounds lighter now than when I gave that talk, but despite that, I hope the message resonates, and that you enjoy it.

Let it go. Life’s too short to stay angry, my friends.


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