Question: So my friend sends a mass email to all of our friends about her birthday party. She goes off on how she wants to go this really expensive restaurant, then go out to a swanky bar, and has all of these requests. Basically, she’s telling us to pay for her for all these things which is fine since it’s her birthday, but… a little demanding! Anyway, I meant to respond to my one friend basically saying “WTF – she’s being so demanding!” but accidentally hit reply all and it got sent to all of my other friends – including the friend I was complaining about! HELP!!! (Palo Alto CA)
Social Shrink: The infamous “Reply All” mistake! Everyone has either done this or knows someone who accidentally did this. You are not alone!
The thing about e-mail not only makes it that much easier to communicate with others, it also opens up a plethora of “e-mistakes” that may put you in some cringe-worthy positions.
If your note was offensive or may cause an uproar amongst your friends, our suggestion is two-fold:
(1) As soon as you can, send a direct message to the friend who you (most likely) offended. This direct contact should ideally be over the phone or in person (this way you get a direct response from her). Last resort is sending her an e-mail (less ideal since she could ignore it completely). Tell her that you didn’t mean to upset her, and that you hate that she had to hear how you were feeling this way.
Then, tell her that what you were venting about was because of X, Y and Z. The worst thing you can do is pretend you didn’t mean it or that it was never said. The truth is – you said it, so own up to it. Let her know it’s not the best scenario for you to tell her how you feel, but that you said what you said because you felt she was asking for a lot for her birthday considering you would have to drop a lot of money (which you may not have or be willing to spend).
(2) After you smooth things over with your friend, send another “reply all” message to the group apologizing for that mistaken message. It can go something like this:
“Hi all! Apologies for the last message I sent. I cleared this all up with (NAME of offended friend) and we’re all good. Can’t wait to hang out!”
Make the message short and sweet – and move on!