Have you ever reached out to an internet personality via email only to find that your message was ignored? Here are the ten reasons in my personal experience that I may choose not to reply to unsolicited emails (emails that I did not request to receive in the first place).

(1) You Made a Demand

When a stranger emails you with no background information and immediately demands something from you, it acts as a strong repellent. For example, someone I don’t know writes asking for my Skype contact and to ‘chat’. This kind of email will always get deleted and the sender will be blocked for sending spam.

 

(2) Your Email was Needy

Needy people need help but the way they ask for your time and attention makes you not want to help them. As soon as I spot the word ‘help’ in an email, I do a little mouth-sick. Below is an example three-sentence email I received:

‘Hi how are you. Help me in learning English. I am also going to give ielts so please help me.’ [sic].

The message makes a lazy and general demand for ‘help’ but for what exactly we can only guess. Could it be he’s looking for a (free) personal tutor to take him by the hand so that he passes his English test? Since I live by the golden rule of not helping people who can’t help themselves, this kind of needy email is always going to be ignored by me.

(3) Your Email was Off-Topic

On the internet I am known for two things: on this blog I make videos and articles about speaking skills and introversion, and elsewhere I also have a second YouTube channel about learning English. When someone contacts me via this blog and talks about general learning English stuff, they are trying to talk to me in the wrong place about the wrong thing. Always read the ‘about’ page before contacting an internet personality so you can be sure the email you want to send is relevant and on-topic.

(4) You Broke Unspoken Communication Boundaries

Communication boundaries exist to maintain a comfortable distance between two people.  There are no set rules regarding comfortable communication boundaries as they vary between cultures and individuals, though as a general rule, our boundaries are at their strongest when we don’t know someone. If you were disappointed by the response you got (or received no response) from an internet personality, it may be due to overstepping communication boundaries on your side by over-contacting. For example, your email may have been too long, too personal or may have asked personal questions of the internet personality. If you initially received a response but then your follow up email was ignored, it is probably because you attempted to turn the single email reply you got into an email conversation (you pushed too hard and too soon for more contact). If you think you may have overstepped communication boundaries on your side, pull back and don’t contact the other person again for a while. If the internet personality enjoys his/her correspondence with you he/she will write again when the time is right. PLEASE NOTE: whatever you do, don’t write saying ‘why are you ignoring me?’ etc. as this will cause further damage to the communication boundary between you and will likely get you blocked for good.

(5) ‘Experting’ The Expert

Sometimes it happens that a stranger on the internet writes telling you how you should be doing your job by giving you advice or by critiquing you. It’s a good rule of thumb in life to stop proffering your advice or opinions to people who aren’t asking for it. Sticking your nose where it is not wanted in to ‘help’ or ‘advise’ any person in your life is an act of your own insecurity. Even when you are convinced that your advice will really help them, take a step back, breathe, and bite your tongue.

(6) Creepy or Sleazy Men in Pants

Marriage proposals (I’ve had a few!), pictures of men in their underpants, or the use of terms such as ‘baby’ or ‘my darling’ etc. put a person’s spammy email in the creepy or sleazy category. Before sending a ‘love letter’ to an internet love interest, ask yourself if you really have a chance with the internet personality to whom you are writing? If you’re an internet creep, you probably don’t — so pull your trousers up you filthy bugger.

(7) You Didn’t Really Say Anything

Sometimes a person sends an email that is just talking for the sake of saying something. These kind of emails are boring and come across as cries for attention. Before writing to the internet personality, be sure to have something specific in mind so that you email has some energy and life to it.

(8) All About You

Don’t be surprised if after writing your whole-life-story-epic-saga-in-three-volumes to the internet personality got you nothing more than tumble-weed and crickets in response. When you write from a space of ‘it’s all about me’ it makes people turn away and not want to listen to you and your woes. The way to bring balance to your email is to relate your life experiences to specific articles or videos created by the internet personality. This way you create an email which is as much about them as it is about you.

(9) Missing The Boat

Timing is important when you contact an internet personality. For example, imagine you receive an email from the internet personality that specifically asks you for your comments or to chat about something. If you replied to the email late, your opportunity was probably lost because one hundred other people had their fingers on the trigger and got in there first. Always remember: ‘the early bird catches the worm’.

(10) It’s Not You, It’s Them

Unless the internet personality has an assistant whose role is to reply to all messages, the fact that your email did not receive a reply may be for any number of reasons that are nothing to do with you. Just because you didn’t receive a reply to your message, it doesn’t necessarily mean you did something wrong or broke the communication boundaries between you. If making contact is really important to you, let more time pass (a couple of weeks or months may be necessary) and then reach out again. If you still get no response, say to yourself ‘hey ho, so it goes!’ and don’t let it bring you down.