A method is disclosed for providing a user dependent status indication for shared electronic mail objects within a distributed computing system. In certain electronic mail systems multiple users are permitted to share access to selected electronic mail objects in a so-called "affinity" relationship whereby selected end users are permitted to access identical address space within a computer. Within such systems it is difficult to ascertain a particular status of a selected electronic mail object with certainty due to the face that multiple users may have access to that electronic mail object. In accordance with the method of the present invention an attribute list is associated with each electronic mail object which may contain multiple sets of attributes, each set associated with a group of recipients, a subgroup of recipients or an individual end user having access to that electronic mail object. Thereafter, the activities of each end user are utilized to modify each attribute list associated with that end user. An end user may then periodically determine and display the status of an individual mail object with regard to the entire group of recipients, a subgroup of recipients or an individual end user.