What to Do After Sending an Embarrassing Text or E-mail

Have you ever sent an embarrassing email or text that you wish you hadn’t? Learn how to survive that moment.

Richie Frieman
4-minute read
Episode #130

Embarrassing Text or Email #2: The Tell A Coworker or Boss What I Really Think

A classic.

Usually this horrific accident is made due to urgency and/or frustration. It’s a quick trigger reaction when you need to vent. When you are this heated, manners are surely the last thing on your mind. But telling your coworker or boss where they can “go” or what to “stick” and “where” is beyond rude and of course a professional crash.  These kinds of texts or emails always come back to haunt you--especially since come “New Job Search Time,” your possible new employer will most likely call your old employer. Awkward.

So preventing the offensive email or text in the first place is the goal, but what happens when you intended the venting message to go only to your close friends—not the boss or coworker who received it?

In this case the only answer is to just be professional and honest. Take the blame. People will respect you more for honesty than trying to BS your way out of it. “About that message--it was wrong; I was wrong and I know it. There is nothing more to say … it was just a very poor choice of action. Hopefully you will accept my sincerest apology.”

You can call it groveling or begging,  but you still need to try to rebuild your reputation. Honesty is always the best solution.

And one last thing: unless your boss is fifteen, never text them something important--it’s tacky.

Embarrassing Text or Email #3: The Embarrassing Photo You Shouldn’t Have Sent

I know, I know, it was soooo funny when you took the photo of your friend flipping off some old lady who just took his cab.  And of course, you thought everyone would like a good laugh too, so you emailed it out.

However, in the midst of hilarity, did you ever think of whom you were sending it to. Friends are the best material for laughter--it’s what makes them friends in the first place--but certain circumstances call for a moral check. Especially when the girl your dear friend has been trying to impress for the past month just happened to receive the email as well.  Way to go.

So how do you fix this little problem? Apologize with an example. Similar to the damage control you have to do with #2, this instance calls for some serious action. I suggest you do a reversal and make yourself the joke. Taking a photo of the two of you and a little sign that says, “I’m with Stupid,” with an arrow going up to your face, which is then emailed out again, usually does the job.

Will it completely diffuse the situation? Maybe not, but everyone will know you totally screwed up, and in this case, that’s what’s needed. As for your buddy who is now stuck in the “Friend Zone” with the girl of his dreams? Take him out for the most expensive dinner of his choosing. Chances are he won’t be going out anytime soon.

Do you have a story about an embarrassing text or email you sent? Post them on my Modern Manners Guy Facebook page so we can all share in your misery. As always if you have another manners question, I’m look forward to hearing from you so drop me a line at manners@quickanddirtytips.com. And of course, check back next week for more Modern Manners Guy tips.

Check out more tips on how to avoid workplace faux pas in my new book, Reply All...And Other Ways to Tank Your Career. Available in print, ebook, and even as an audiobook, read by me!

 Drunk Text Message and Angry E-mail images from Shutterstock