What is the best way to deal with an accidental e-mail recipient?

A wise man once said something about not talking shit about other people on e-mail, IM or via text.  I’m not really sure who this wise man was (My money’s on Confucius), and I don’t remember the quote clearly, but the message stuck with me.   For about 2 seconds.  Then I proceeded to send a shit talking e-mail, text and IM about that wise man because, let’s face it, face to face shit talking is so 1998, and Mean Girls is my favorite movie for a reason.

But that wise man sort of had a point.  In the old days, when Paul Revere went to talk shit behind Sam Adams’s back, if Sam Adams heard about it, it was still he said she said (or, I guess, ye said ye said cause it was the old days).  If Paul Revere had any sort of spinning abilities, he could turn it around on Ben Franklin to make him look like a lying bitch who’s just trying to get Paul mad at Sam, so Sam gets kicked out of the weekly poker game with GW, leaving a spot open for Ben (obvs).  It was a gray area of gossip, and I really think that GW staying out of the shit talking is what got him the presidency.

Back to present day, there is absolutely no way of getting around sending a “Cara is a fugly slut” e-mail to Cara.  You can’t spin that – it’s in black and white, time stamped, and from your e-mail account.  Short of conjuring some ridiculous story telling Cara that a computer virus infected your e-mail and sent an e-mail to all of your address book with “YOUR NAME HERE is a Fugly Slut” (that’s actually not bad.  Dibs using that excuse next time), there’s only so much you can do in this situation.  I’ve dissected said “so much” below:

Option 1: Don’t deny what you said, but deny what it meant:  This is generally the worst thing you can do, but hilarious to watch when other’s do it to you.  “Cara, hell yeah I said you were a fugly slut!  That’s like, the new thing to be.  Fugly slut is the new hot shit!  Remember when hot shit meant a steaming pile of excrement, Cara?  See, things aren’t always what they appear.  You’re welcome for calling you a fugly slut!”  Attempts to spin the meaning of your e-mail are generally more transparent than, well, this, but still, spin away.

Option 2: Pretend you meant to say someone else:  This is actually feasible, and highly recommended.  “Cara, obviously I meant Nicole.  A – you’re not a fugly slut and B – if you were a fugly slut, do you think I’d send it to you in an e-mail?  LOL.  K still on for brunch Sunday, gurrl?  xo KISSES!”  This method only works if you are making a general insult, not a situation insult, and also if the fugly slut you e-mailed is also an idiot.  It’s easy enough to switch Cara’s and Nicole’s names, but if you tell a whole story about someone in the e-mail, well, consider option 3.

Option 3: Admit guilt and apologize profusely:  I suppose this is the only thing one really should do “morally” in this situation, but come on.  Only on after school specials would someone really say “I appreciate your honesty.  My feelings are hurt, but I will get over it and we can be friends again.”  Oh no girl, no.  Generally what will follow this is a (minimum) 5 year probation period where if you fuck up again, the offending e-mail is brought up as proof of your awful person-ness.  No one wants this.  If you are tempted to take option 3, strongly consider option 4 first.

Option 4: Move to a different city and change careers and friends:  Logically, this is the only thing you can do, especially if the accidental e-mail was sent in a work setting.  From this point on, you will always be that wretched bitch who e-mails people behind their backs (which, let’s face it, is EVERYONE, but now you’ve been made).  There’s no amount of Mrs. Beasley’s that can really make up for this, but I suggest you try (looking right at you, bitch who inspired this post today).

Option 5: The therapy excuse: So this is fairly LA-specific, but just blame your therapist.  “Hi Cara, sorry if that hurt your feelings, but my therapist told me to share all my feelings with people all of the time to control my homicidal rage tendencies.”  Cara might be a little pissed, but probably appreciative that your shit talking spared her life.

Option 6: Wait it out: The odds are that Cara’s going to fuck up soon and e-mail you behind your back.  In that case, you’re just one accidental CC away from forgiveness to avoid hypocrisy.

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