20-40-60 Etiquette---Inappropriate jokes are a no-no
QUESTION: I have a friend who continues to email me what I consider inappropriate jokes that are politically motivated. Should I tell him to stop? Or should I just delete them and not answer back?
CALLIE’S ANSWER: These are what I would call “junk mail.” Go ahead and just delete when you see something like this in your inbox.
LILLIE-BETH’S ANSWER: You can adjust email settings to send messages from certain senders or with certain key words to their own file (if you wanted to review them later) or even to the trash. That way you wouldn’t have to read them at all. I have also asked friends in the past to stop forwarding so much email because I didn’t want to miss important emails and I was getting so many I needed to clean some things up. Answering your question depends on your friend and your relationship — do you normally have open communication or debates? Are you close? How will your friend take the request?
People have different perspectives and if you feel like you need to say something, speak up — but be gentle. At the very least, ask your friend to stop sending you emails without criticizing the subject of them or wanting to prove your point about them being inappropriate. If your friend asks why, you can say you all don’t see eye to eye on certain issues, that you are getting too many emails or that they aren’t OK for work (if you are receiving them at work).
Then leave it at that. You likely won’t change your friend’s mind on issues or vice versa. Or you can point out the problems or misinformation with the emails you are seeing and your friend may stop sending them to you anyway.
HELEN’S ANSWER: You might ask your friend to discontinue sending you the emails as you feel they are inappropriate. If he is sending them to an office account, let him know they need to stop. It is hard to have work-related emails and then have to go through a round of joke-related ones each day. Yes, you can just delete them, but to save time, just tell him to quit sending them!
GUEST’S ANSWER: Brandon Bixler, Commercial Loan Officer, NBC Oklahoma: I’ve heard you never talk about sex, religion or politics in the office. That said, a person should always feel comfortable with communications received from friends or coworkers.
Inappropriate jokes should not be used because an email will have a permanent trail involved from being sent and received. In the last few years, political sensitivity has been at an all-time high and people have strong opinions one way or another. It would be in everyone’s best interest to privately communicate you no longer wish to receive any politically motivated emails.
Callie Athey is 20-something, Lillie-Beth Brinkman is 40-plus, and social columnist Helen Ford Wallace is 60-plus. To ask an etiquette question, email email@example.com.