pregnant belly with footWe’re happy to be working with our sponsor Yahoo! Mail, who’s helping encourage families to stay connected via email. Which, as we know, is a good thing!

While email (and email etiquette) seems to have been around for a million years or so, oddly, we all still have those well-meaning folks in our lives who insist on filling our inboxes with chain letters, photoshopped pics passed off as real ones, and dated news about the Y2K virus. (Oh noes!)

While even the best of us might be tempted to get a little snarky with our responses from time to time, we’ve got some more helpful resources and tips to help you deal with certain categories of unwanted email. Any of these sound familiar? –Liz

1. Urban legends and internet rumors
The fastest way to convince your cousin that no, that picture of the baby’s feet pushing against the pregnant belly is not real, and no, Celebrity X is not a hermaphrodite; is to send him to a link dispelling the rumor on This site is official arbiter of all things fabricated on the web and has a decent search function too.

You might preface your email with a cute “ha, I fell for that one too” so that you don’t come off like a know-it-all. Which you are, in a good way. (Because really? The feet on the belly again?)

2. Chain letters
I forwarded just one of these once in the last ten years and still feel bad about it. No idea what got into me!

Your best course is to kindly (very kindly) ask the sender not to send you chain letters any more because you’re simply sooooo busy with all your other email, and hope they get the point. Otherwise, if you can’t bear not to forward the emails on and dash your grandmother’s dreams of 7 years of prosperity, forward the email to They’ll happily delete them for you.

McCarthy button3. Offensive political commentary
With an election year coming
up, be prepared for that flurry of pro/con Obama sentiment in your
inbox. If you can’t handle that one activist relative who won’t let up with his unpopular views and nutty conspiracy theories (One more time Uncle Edward, I am not voting for your Anarchy party candidate), the best bet is to simply ask him to leave you off his list so that Thanksgiving won’t be horribly awkward this year.

Another great resource;,
a non-partisan website that monitors the factual accuracy of claims
made in the media. It’s like Snopes for the political set.

4. Too many baby photos!
Of course we totally get the idea that every baby is perfect and special and deserves to have his or her every second on this planet documented on cellulose. This right is occasionally manifested as emails with 243 attachments. And that’s a low estimate. In this case, helpfully point the overeager new parents (or grandparents or godparents) toward a photo sharing site like Kodak Gallery or Shutterfly which can lessen the load on your bandwidth.

Also awesome: Lil’ Grams, a genius service that bundles those emails and snapshots, letting you determine just how often you’d like to receive them. Every bit of info gets stored in your own online baby book keeping your email inbox a little less burdened.

4. Petitions
Adding your name to an email list then forwarding it on is like an invitation for spammers and identity thieves to harvest your info. Instead, suggest to your big-hearted activist friends that they launch a petition on a legitimate site like, in which case you’ll happily sign on.

How about you? What’s the worst/most annoying/most offensive email you’ve ever gotten from a relative?