Unfortunately, my mom's email address is only one away from the boy's email address in my phone, so as I composed an off-the-cuff flirtatious (not mom-appropriate) email, I tapped the wrong name into the address bar right before hitting "send." It didn't occur to me right away to check the sent email, so I just went about my day until I got a text from my guy about an hour later. There was no mention of the email, so I asked him what he thought.
"I didn't get any email from you," he replied. Uh-oh. I tried not to panic as I opened up the "sent mail" folder on my computer. There are many reasons why it might not have gone through. Except . . . it had gone through. To my mother. I picked up the phone and called her right away. She hadn't looked at her email in hours (whew!), so I asked her to log in and delete the email in question without reading it. She claims she did, and honestly, I'll never know if she didn't (and if that's the case, sorry mom!).
In case this happens to you, here's my best advice for staying calm and keeping as much control over the situation as possible. First, don't panic. I know, easier said than done, but just a few minutes of thinking clearly will enable you to act quickly and clear it up as soon as possible. Contact the accidental recipient right away. Admit the mistake, and send your apologies. If they haven't opened the email yet, it's completely reasonable to ask that they delete it. And be sure to keep your correspondence at an appropriate professional level. If you accidentally emailed your boss (and I am so sorry if that's the case), write your follow-up email in a professional tone, explaining it was a personal email meant for someone else, and ensuring them it won't happen again — especially if it came from your work email address. Admitting the mistake (and in most cases being able to laugh it off) should help any repercussions blow over quickly.
Be prepared for some fallout. . .especially if the email were accidentally sent to a group or if it's at all scandalous in nature. But also know that it will eventually pass. Plus, I guarantee you'll triple-check any emails you send in the future.
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