Dear Mrs Metaphor
Ever since I reconnected with an old friend by email he’s been sending me all kinds of email spam and forwards. Usually I can just delete them without any trouble but frankly some of the “jokey” ones are pretty misogynistic and it’s really beginning to annoy me.
What can I do?
I can certainly sympathize with your situation. What I am unsure about however is whether you are asking how to protect the integrity of your own email inbox or whether you should confront this person about his behavior.
Obviously if you just want to keep your carpets clean then do not allow the neighbor with the muddy feet in, yes?
If that is the case then simply block his emails or set up a smart mailbox where his emails will reside until you have a chance to check his feet as it were.
Now, if what you are asking is less about the condition of your own carpets and concerned more for how this neighbor’s feet become so very muddied I’d suggest you bring it up to him. Explain in as loving a way as possible that it’s not him you resent but rather the crud he continues to bring in with him. It is entirely possible that his attitudes are not deeply held and he is only parroting what’s being said at the mudhole down the road. It takes courage to speak out against the cultural norms and you may very well be the first to speak the truth to this man and call him into integrity.
He may not hear this well, be prepared. If done by email it may not be heard with as much care and concern as you’d like to offer so it may be best to speak with him by phone if possible.
Now if you are unsure about whether your concern is your own carpeting or his beautiful feet bearing such filth then I would suggest you examine the friendship. What do you have to lose by speaking truthfully to this person? What do you have to gain by being silent?
Examine your own motivations…put aside any pride that creeps in…pay attention to issues of justice…speak the truth in love
or let it go and bar the door.