Author Topic: Replying to one-word email  (Read 4121 times)

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jmarvellous

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Replying to one-word email
« on: July 25, 2012, 05:47:56 PM »
BG: Boyfriend's dad is kind of a silly guy, I think. We've been together for about 16 months and it hasn't been in the cards to meet his parents, as they live across the country. We did talk on the phone once a few months ago. I was on speaker with the two of them, and it was kind of awkward. They mainly asked me about religion (whether I was of a faith that neither they, nor their son, nor I practice), related a story about why they don't practice that religion, and asked whether I loved their son. BF isn't very close to them, but they have a cordial rapport. I didn't have a lot to go on as far as conversational topics. /BG

Today, BF's dad asked if him to relay a request that I chat with him online. I said that would be fine because I didn't have any reason to refuse.

Just now, I got an email from him that reads, in its entirety, "Hi." Plus a signature that indicates it's sent from his work email. And a subject line that says, "BFName's Dad."

I don't really have anything to say to him (nor do I really want to be obligated to chat regularly), but I feel like I should reply. What would you say?

I'm sure there's not one right answer, but I do know that we have next to nothing in common except that we both think his son is cool, so basic small talk seems an ocean away.

ETA: He added me on Google+ just now, too.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2012, 05:56:11 PM by jmarvellous »

bah12

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Re: Replying to one-word email
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2012, 05:55:10 PM »
Hello.  Wish I could talk now but I'm in the middle of X.  Hope all is well with you and BF's Mom.

JenJay

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Re: Replying to one-word email
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2012, 06:02:36 PM »
LOL! Well, he's making an effort I suppose.  :P

I'd respond, at your convenience, "Hello. How are you and Mrs. BF? Hope you are well!"

Harriet

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Re: Replying to one-word email
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2012, 06:08:32 PM »
It sounds like he's reaching out. Maybe he is sad that his relationship with his son isn't as close as he'd like, and he just wants to know more about his son's partner now that it's been long enough to be obvious that you two are serious!

I found it very awkward at first to establish relationships with my in-laws but now am glad I did. I do keep boundaries and stay away from anything private or could be awkward (for example I'd never discuss an argument we had!) I tend to stick to safe topics like the weather and the funny things our cats have done recently. Or it's fun to hear childhood stories they might have about your boyfriend.

I agree BF's dad hasn't given you much to work with, but if you're interested in engaging, you could write a short, chatty reply saying that it's too bad you can't meet in person in the near future, but you appreciate the chance to say hello. Maybe something along the lines of you're not sure how much BF has told them about you, but this is how you met, this is where you grew up, you work in x field, la la la. Sign off "Nice to make contact and hope all is well, give my regards to BF's mom."

Of course, if it does get intrusive or weird you can just pull back and stop replying.

Editing to add: If you've gone on vacation recently or you have any nice recent photos you can attach them. My husband is terrible at sharing photos so that's something I like to do, and it can generate some nice back and forth.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2012, 06:11:26 PM by Harriet »

Jones

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Re: Replying to one-word email
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2012, 06:10:01 PM »
"Hi there."

Hmmmmm

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Re: Replying to one-word email
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2012, 06:11:53 PM »
I think it's sweet that he's trying to develop a relationship with you without having much to go on.  I'd respond "Hi.  It's good to hear from you.  How are things today?"

Or if your normally a more chatty person, then be chatty. "Hi, Great to hear from you.  How's work today?  It's been a real bear for me.  You know I do X for Z company.  I really enjoy my job because of ....  How did you get involved in architecture (or what ever he does)." 

ETA:  My FiL and I bonded over work topics.  Though we didn't work in the same field, talking about our work day or experiences gave us a common ground.  And he's kid's (including my DH) had never really asked him things like why he became an engineer or decided to go into structural engineering or what he liked most about his job.  It was a comfortable area to ask open ended questions of him. 
« Last Edit: July 25, 2012, 06:15:46 PM by Hmmmmm »

Twik

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Re: Replying to one-word email
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2012, 11:24:51 AM »
You could just reply "hi there!" You've doubled his verbiage.
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

jmarvellous

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Re: Replying to one-word email
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2012, 11:31:35 AM »
You guys crack me up!

I sent him some funny pictures related to my work and said I was at work late and was looking forward to going home soon to make dinner with his son. No reply yet, so maybe it was too much text?

:)

JaneJensen

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Re: Replying to one-word email
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2012, 04:25:47 PM »
Your reply was good. Nice and generic. Maybe he's socially awkward.

Twik

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Re: Replying to one-word email
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2012, 05:15:20 PM »
It reminds me of the old story about the conflict near the city of Goa, in the days when reporters had to send information by telegraph, and it was quite expensive. One reporter got a telegram from his editor saying "Goa?" to which he replied "Gone."
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

jmarvellous

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Re: Replying to one-word email
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2012, 05:18:41 PM »
He has now sent me six messages full of pictures of his daughter, grandson, and a silly saying imposed over some ice cream. And some long "inspirational pictures" message I haven't opened yet.

As yet, no words beyond something to the effect of "Look at this funny thing" or "Isn't ice cream great?" in each subject line.

I'll go with "awkward," at least for now.  ;D
 
Thanks again, everyone!

JenJay

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Re: Replying to one-word email
« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2012, 07:32:43 PM »
It sounds like he wants you to feel included and part of the family. That's sweet! Now let's just hope he's not the type who sends "the kids" helpful articles about the dangers of common household items, keeping your car doors locked at all times, etc.  :P

Carpathia

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Re: Replying to one-word email
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2012, 02:50:37 PM »
It reminds me of the old story about the conflict near the city of Goa, in the days when reporters had to send information by telegraph, and it was quite expensive. One reporter got a telegram from his editor saying "Goa?" to which he replied "Gone."

There's another one about an author telegraphing his publisher to see how his book sales were going. Since telegraphs were charged per character, the story goes the author sent "?" and the publisher replied "!".

I think your response sounded fine OP :)

katycoo

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Re: Replying to one-word email
« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2012, 09:16:40 PM »
Set up a free email account.  Email him saying your work email is monitored by IT (which it probably is) and unless its a communication that needs to be seen quickly (like a change to dinner plans that night) to send things to that address so you don't get in trouble.

Then, you can just never check it.

jmarvellous

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Re: Replying to one-word email
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2012, 09:55:20 PM »
Apparently he emails in bursts (or BF told him he was being ridiculous), because after receiving 5 or so in 3 days, I haven't gotten another.

We'll see. (Also, katycoo, I was sure not to give him my work email. I only give that to work people.)