So yesterday, I had a pretty embarrassing moment. I got an email, but I had a question about it so I needed to forward it to someone else to read. I was heading to a meeting so I informally jotted out my rambling questions about it and hit send.
OH, WAIT. MESSAGE NOT FORWARDED. I REPLIED TO THE ORIGINAL SENDER.
To say I was mortified is just the tip of the iceberg, but I apologized and explained the situation. Luckily, the original sender was totally understanding. Giant sigh of relief. I didn’t have to start crying all over my desk and de-activate all electronic communication forever.
Unfortunately, similar things have happened before. On a number of occasions I’ve sent a text message to the totally wrong person. Usually in those cases the message went to a friend, so I could laugh it off, but every once in a while, it’s a bit more traumatic. So if you are like me and just sent a message to the wrong person, what should you do? Well, depending on what happened, I think there’s different ways you can go about your damage control:
Try To Calm DownYou're not going to be thinking straight when your heart is racing a million miles a minute. I know it's easier said than done, but try to take a deep breath. A lot of times, people will be understanding about the mistake, but there are some different contexts to consider. Once you've toned down your panic, you can figure out what steps to take next. Source: Shutterstock.com
A Random Message To The Wrong FriendThis happens all the time. If the message is just something harmless and has no context for this friend, a quick "Whoops - sorry! Meant to send that to someone else" is usually fine. When the actual message is nothing to stress over and the person who got it knows you, a quick apology for the momentary confusion or inconvenience is all you need. You don't need to get too wordy with it. Just acknowledge it quickly and move on. Source: Shutterstock.com
A Random Message To Someone You Don't Know WellOkay, even when the actual content of the message is harmless and inoffensive, it can still be embarrassing to send it to a person you don't know super well or who you want to see you as a responsible person. Apologize a little more formally if you accidentally texted the woman whose kids you babysit for or sent an email to your boss. You don't need to go overboard, but use a complete sentence and acknowledge the mistake, and they're likely to appreciate that you took responsibility and handled it with maturity. Source: Shutterstock.com
You Sent A Casual Invite To The Wrong FriendIf you send a "Want to hang out this weekend?" or a more low-key invite to grab food to the wrong friend, it is kind of harsh to be like "AHH NO, I DIDN'T MEAN YOU!" You don't want to make them feel like you want nothing to do with them. See what they say - they may be busy anyway and you're off the hook, or maybe it could be a stroke of good luck to spend quality time with them. I think in most cases, you may just be better off acting like they were the original recipient and not saying it was an accidental send. Source: Shutterstock.com
You Sent A Special Invite To The Wrong FriendWhat if the invite is for a big event or something super specific? Personally, I probably still wouldn't say anything because I'd feel bad taking back the invite. That said, I also don't think it's out of line to explain that the concert you just invited your lab partner to was actually meant to be a present for your BFF's birthday. There's more money and personal intent involved. It's awkward, but I think people would understand if you explain the miscommunication with the invite. Still do it ASAP, and maybe see if that person wants to do something together in the future so they don't feel abandoned. Source: Shutterstock.com
You Sent A Friend A Text... About HerThis one is pretty bad, but has happened to a lot of us. To be honest, you were kind of in the wrong for texting behind her back even when you were doing it privately. Definitely don't make excuses. Know that this could cause lasting damage, but do apologize quickly and try to make it up in any way possible. You don't want to lose a friend over a bad message. Source: Shutterstock.com
Accidentally Messaged Your ParentsThis one isn't good if that message wasn't parent-friendly. Everyone's parents are going to react differently if they find out you've been up to something they don't think you should be. In general, be ready to deal with this in a face-to-face conversation with them. You can apologize, but the mistaken message could cause trust issues, so prove to them as much as possible that they can trust you. Maybe this could also be an opportunity to open up the usual lines of communication more with your parents going forward. Source: Shutterstock.com
Use It As A Learning OpportunityWhether it was a minor embarrassment or a major slip-up, use this as a reminder to not let it happen again. I know there are things out there that claim to let you unsend messages, but I can't say for certain which could actually work. My best advice to always double, triple, quadruple, quintuple check who the recipient is before you hit send. Source: Shutterstock.com
Have you ever sent a message to the wrong person? Who was it for and who did you send it to? How did you handle it? Tell me in the comments.