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Email Debt Forgiveness Day helps you overcome the social anxieties lurking in your inbox

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Email Debt Forgiveness Day is here.
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Aja Romano writes about pop culture, media, and ethics. Before joining Vox in 2016, they were a staff reporter at the Daily Dot. A 2019 fellow of the National Critics Institute, they’re considered an authority on fandom, the internet, and the culture wars.

It's time to talk about that email.

You know the one: the heartfelt "let's catch up!" from an old friend you just haven't had a chance to reply to. Maybe it's the thread that picks up the difficult social media conversation you let lapse. Or the invite to that thing you've been putting off responding to.

Whatever it is, this weekend you'll finally have an excuse to stop procrastinating and finally hit reply. Saturday, April 30, is Email Debt Forgiveness Day, the second annual celebration of an idea spawned at random in 2015 by the hosts of the popular Reply All podcast, PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman.

As they put it, "If there's an email response you've wanted to send but been too anxious to send, you can send it on April 30th, without any apologies or explanations for all the time that has lapsed."

The public response was so positive they're holding Email Debt Forgiveness Day again this year. And they recommend that if you don't feel like explaining your delayed responses, you can simply drop a link to their explanation at the bottom of each email.

At first glance, it's easy to write off the simple concept of sending an email as something unworthy of such a production. A whole day devoted to sending an email or two? But Email Debt Forgiveness Day isn't really about finally replying the email you've been sitting on for too long — it's about the fraught nature of human communication.

The real magic of the "holiday" is that it gives you permission to send whatever you've been holding back; it's that it gives you permission to feel all the things, the tiny social anxieties and insecurities or fear of expressing yourself that prevented you from replying in the first place.

Does it work? Well, it probably won't magically clean out your inbox, but giving yourself permission to respond to the one email (or three) that's been haunting you might make it easier to conquer any niggling communication-related worries you might face throughout the rest of the year. If you need a nudge to help you stop dallying and tackle those letters, this is it.

Don't be afraid to hit send.

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