Pet Please #12: Unexpected E-Mails from Old Friends

The other day I got an e-mail from an old friend, a guy with whom I studied in Japan, completely out of the blue. Made my day.

There were two key elements that made the e-mail so great:

  1. It was unexpected. It’s still nice if you see it coming or if you initiated, but getting an unexpected e-mail from an old friend is better than a Tostino’s party pizza after a long day of work.
  2. It was substantial. It kind of sucks when you see an e-mail from an old friend–not an acquaintance, but a real friend–in your inbox, and you’re all excited at the treasures that await you when you open it, and then you read it and it’s like, “Hey, just wanted to say hi. What’s up with you?” I mean, it’s nice that they reached out, but give me something to work with. Tell me what you’re up to first.

You all know how great it is to get one of these e-mails, so why not take 5 minutes today and send a solid e-mail to a completely random old friend with no ulterior agenda? You’ll probably make their day.

(As a sidenote, I just invented a topical Google Labs e-mail tool in my mind. Basically, when you send an e-mail from Gmail, next to the subject line you should be able to choose the date by which you’d like the other person to respond. Because you know how sometimes you get caught in e-mail conversations–sometimes with old friends–that you really just wanted to be one or two e-mails, so when it becomes more than that you start to wait a few days to respond, but without fail the other person always responds with a 20-page treatise approximately 5 seconds after you sent your last e-mail? Why not avoid the whole ambiguity and just tell the person when you’d like them to respond. It helps them too, because I’m sure we’re all a little over/under-eager at times.)