We Live in a New Age of Email Anxiety

The Four Percent


They linger at the bottom of Meg Keene’s inbox in the urgent bold of the unread.

“I think about them everyday,” she says of the emails to which she just can’t muster a response.

Sometimes she’ll click one open, remember it requires some sort of complicated answer, and swiftly retreat. The ceremonial end comes after a year or two, when she gives herself permission to delete—by pressing print.

“Now it’s in hard copy,” explains the 40-year old, who runs a wedding website in Oakland, Calif. “I’m like, well that’s done. It’s like closing the stress cycle.”

Email, that most workaday form of electronic communication, is more important than ever, with so many people working remotely in isolation. And it has the power to freak people out in a thousand different ways. With life on overdrive for many of us these days, mustering up the emotional fortitude for the perfect response feels even more stressful.



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