How to Avoid Sending Texts and Emails to the Wrong Person


textingSending an email or text to the wrong person is embarrassing! Moreover, it can be a personal and, in some cases, a professional nightmare. You certainly do not want your boss reading an argument with your spouse or a friend reading something negative you said about her! Unfortunately, these types of messaging mishaps happen all too often. Almost everyone has their own story of hitting the send button and being filled with instant shame and regret. There are ways to avoid sending texts and emails to the wrong recipients, and implementing them can save you a lot of awkward moments, both personally and professionally.

Managing Email Contacts and Recipients

When it comes to email, if you don’t already, get in the habit of proof reading your words. Good writing should not become a lost art just because technology has made it faster and easier to send messages. Then, as you are ensuring your spelling and grammar are correct, also be sure to review your recipients in the To, CC and BCC fields. When you are inputting information into those fields, be sure to type out the person’s whole name. If you are depending on the system to automatically populate the field for you, you are just asking for trouble.

Many email services allow you to adjust settings in order to delay the sending of your emails. If you delay it, you can quickly cancel the message before your email server begins the sending process. Look for an “Undo Send” or “Delay Send” option under your email settings.

If you still send the email to the wrong person you have a few options. If you use Microsoft Outlook, and the recipient also uses Outlook and hasn’t yet opened your email, you can recall it. Granted, these are a lot of “ifs,” but sometimes, when all the stars align, you can get lucky and simply click to recall the sent message. If this is an inter-office goof, you can ask your IT department to remove the message for you if it is not too late. Finally, sometimes the only option you have is to own up to the mistake, ask the person not to read the email and let them know it was a terrible accident!

Managing Text Message Recipients

When it comes to texting, there are some handy apps that were created with the sole intention of saving you from feeling utterly mortified when you message your mother something intended for your boyfriend, or your boss something intended for your wife.

Some of these apps will work for both text messages and emails sent from your phone. They work by simply asking you if you are sure you want to send. Sometimes that brief pause is all you need to prevent a mistake you can never take back.

There are other apps that can be utilized where you can mark off potentially dangerous contacts such as bosses, co-workers and exes. The app will then hold off on sending the texts to these people until you review them. This is also helpful in preventing impulsive texts that could be regretted later.

Finally, some text messaging apps allow you to recall and even destroy a message after it has been sent. Users can even delete the message from the text messaging server, whereas with regular text messaging your words live on in that server for an unspecified amount of time. Many healthcare providers are using these types of apps to ensure privacy compliance, but it works well for everyday users as well.

Employing common sense is another way to prevent texting the wrong person. For example, do not text while you are driving.  Not only is it unsafe to you and to everyone else on the road with you, but there is no way you can ensure you are texting correctly while you are busy doing something else. It was not too long ago that people lived without cell phones at all, let alone text messaging, and they survived just fine. Waiting to pull over before sending a message does not mean the end of the world, your relationship or your career. When it comes to texting, waiting is a good thing.

As with email, always double check the To, CC and BCC fields before pressing that send button. Assigning pictures to your contacts is another helpful trick to ensure that you are sending to the correct person, assuming that you’ve assigned the photos correctly.

Many times, people use email and texting because they feel it is more efficient than a phone call or a walk to the next office down the hall. In this age of technology, many people feel so connected to their computers and smart phones that the thought of abandoning their work to speak to someone feels like a hassle and a waste of time. However, sometimes a quick phone call to relay information or hash something out can save you a lot of precious moments. Taking a break from screens is often just what the doctor ordered to rejuvenate creativity and your body’s circulation. It can also give you peace of mind that you are talking to the right person.

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