How do I stop friends sending me junk?

I have friends and family who sometimes forward me junk mail. What’s the best way to stop them without hurting their feelings?


I get this question the other day from Grumbler from Carper Diem, and coincidentally, a Tweet from Amy gave me the answer. So, let’s have a look at the problem.

There’s lots of spam emails flying around the Internet. Some of them are real spam, mostly people trying to sell you products you’re not interested in, or trying to solicit money for various nefarious schemes, win lotteries or help improve investor relations. There’s also another form of junk though, consisting of people forwarding jokes, dubious advice and chain letters. You know the type; we all have an aunt somewhere who has just discovered email and insists of forwarding every photo of a kitten they find to everyone on their address list. Or the friend at work who overheard the story of how Bill Gates will donate 5p to charity for every email he receives and feel compelled to let everyone know.

So here’s your dilemma: your mail box is full of junk from friends and family and all you want to do is scream at them to stop inundating you with things you’re not really interested in. You also know that some people will get offended if you ask them to stop and wonder why you’re being so short with them. And this is where Amy‘s suggestion comes into play. She pointed me at a website called StopForwarding.Us which allows you to politely and anonymously ask people to stop spamming you and others. The email also points them to a web page about Email Etiquette which explains a lot of the implicit behaviour people expect from email.

The website asks you to specify the spammer’s name and email address and anonymously sends them this message:

One of your friends has sent you this message from StopForwarding.Us, a website that allows individuals to anonymously email their friends and politely ask that they stop the habit of sending forwarded emails or FWDs.

Please do not forward chain letters, urban myths presented as truth, potentially offensive jokes, videos or photos without being asked or first receiving permission. If you find something that is funny and it is clean and you genuinely think the recipient will enjoy it then foward it to that person only (not in an email blast to all your friends and family) and include a personal note about why you enjoyed it and why you think they will too. Avoid sending forwards to friends or relatives that you’ve grown distant with. It can be frustrating for the recpient when the only correspondance you have with someone is via impersonal, unwanted email.

For more tips on email etiquette, visit StopForwarding.Us/etiq.html

Thank you,
A Friend (via stopforwarding.us)

That’s pretty to the point isn’t it. Have you ever needed to do this?

1 thought on “How do I stop friends sending me junk?”

  1. Sometimes people change.i’ve noticed it in a friend.I’ll write e mail to her and she sends make 20 fowards.She could have sent
    normal e mail in less time.But one I get really nice photos of her family from and I enjoy ,while the other sends crude jokes.
    I don’t know what to say to the one I sense is distancing herself from me. The one I like getting oics from is busy so often with her baby,but the other I feel her drifting off.

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