This basic email transaction is common for me recently:

Email: Hey Chris, are you interested in doing this thing? It’s a fairly major request that will take lots of your time.

Me: That thing sounds awesome, but I’m afraid I’m just too overcommitted already to add anything new.

Email: We’re very disappointed.

It was already hard for me to say no. I’m aware that’s not an awesome email to get. You were hoping for a yes, and I couldn’t come through. So now you’re going to make me feel even worse by making sure I know that you’re disappointed.

Well, sorry, backfire. Now I’m annoyed at you.

4 responses to “Disappointed”

  1. Jeff says:

    I’d choose to frame it as them being disappointed in themselves. Their expectations were overly optimistic and they had their unreasonable hopes be brought back to reality. Rather than looking at it like they are disappointed in you.

    I was disappointed that I didn’t win the lottery the other week. But I wasn’t mad at the ticket.

  2. Story of my life!

  3. Jeff says:

    Yeah… that’s kind of a douchebag response by the organizer, whether they intend it to be or not. Just reframing the response so it’s clear that they understand and would have loved to have you is likely a much better interaction for both parties.

  4. We get a few of these from time to time. Or worse, people are “disappointed” that the cost for their project is going to be too high, etc. It generally reads/feels like a cheap bit of emotional blackmail / foot stamping to try and get what they want to me – perhaps that’s my cynicism breaking through, though!

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