We’ve all been there before, right? A little too much wine, beer or moonshine mixed with loneliness turns into an inescapable urge to reach out to _________ electronically.
The result: words, typed or spoken, that you’d pay $1 million to retract.
The solution: step away from your phone and computer while intoxicated.
Having been on the giving and receiving end of more than a few alcohol-induced texts, emails and calls, I’m pretty forgiving. I laugh them off and use them for comical anecdotes.
Oddly enough, I’ve discovered sober communication mishaps, especially at work, can generate even more amusement. Here are two of my favorites.
Phone Faux Pas
She, and I’ll call her Mitsy, had been struggling with her job for months. In an effort to get her back on track, her supervisor moved her into a different cubicle sandwiched between me and another colleague, both high performers.
Several weeks post move, Mitsy discovered she’d never setup a phone at her new location. That came up after her supervisor received an angry call from a senior vice president complaining that Mitsy hadn’t returned any of his messages.
How in the world Mitsy could go weeks without getting a phone call and not realize something was amiss is a discussion for another day. Regardless, soon after I heard her setting up her new voice mail message.
“Hi, this is Mitsy. Sorry I missed your call. Leave a message, and I’ll call you back.”
She hung up. Her message light blinked.
“Oh, look. I got a message!”
Click, click, click. She punched in her code to retrieve it.
Moments later. “Oh. Hmmm…”
Clunk. More dialing.
“Hi, this is Mitsy. Sorry I missed your call. Leave a message, and I’ll call you back.” She hangs up again.
“Oh, look. A new message!”
Click, click, click. Pause….another groan.
Did she just do what I think she did? Twice? She answered my internal question by repeating it a third time.
As amusing as I found her exercise in insanity, I couldn’t take hearing a fourth attempt. I marched over to her cubicle.
“Mitsy, stop the madness! The way you reset your outgoing message is completely different from checking your messages by dialing yourself. Look up the instructions on the intranet and let me know if you have questions.”
It’s true. I could have handled it better, but it was the latest example of a long list of ridiculousness from her, and I lacked patience that day.
I immediately earned the top spot on her “disliked coworker” list, but I heard her successfully reset her outgoing message 20 minutes later.
A few months passed – my turn to struggle with a not-so-bright day. My mind scattered as another coworker asked me a complicated question. My answer was neither eloquent nor succinct, but she kindly thanked me for my insight when I finished.
Mitsy, still hating me, fired off this email to a nearby colleague.
Subject: She’s so annoying
Body: Did you overhear that conversation? Could Kim have been more repetitive? It was awful. 🙂
The only problem – Mitsy sent that message to me, not the intended recipient.
I laughed out loud when it popped up in my inbox. I found it humorous both due to her mistake and because she was spot on.
Subject: Re. She’s so annoying
Body: I don’t think you meant to send this to me, but you’re right. My explanation was atrocious. 🙂
Mitsy never emailed me again.
While Mitsy wasn’t always the brightest bulb in the bunch, she did have her moments of brilliance. And I thank her for teaching me two valuable lessons:
- Double-check the To: field in emails
- Whether drunk or sober, dialing yourself is always disappointing and never smart
How about you? Have you encountered similar mistakes with or sans alcohol?
March 21, 2014 at 10:57 pm
Okay, so every single time I struggle with my job, I’m going to be reminding myself that at least I’m not Misty. I have sunk to the level of sending catty emails on a couple of occasions – usually about five minutes later I’m scrambling to check my sent file and make sure it went to the correct recipient.
March 21, 2014 at 11:45 pm
Haven’t we all sent those types of emails? I think the PR-person in me has led me to edit myself much more than I would otherwise. I’ve found saving a snarky reply and then going back and editing it after I cool off to be helpful…but, unwisely, I don’t always do that. 😦
March 21, 2014 at 11:27 pm
🙂 I encounter plenty of email mishaps during a workweek. I teach college, and I guess there’s a phenomenon I call typing while entitled–some students seem to feel pretty confident complaining about a grade and going to no effort to appear civil, as if their rage will somehow help their cause. Adding to the drama are colleagues who think it’s a good idea, when bawling someone out, to make the email public to the entire campus.
March 21, 2014 at 11:48 pm
Wow! That sounds brutal. I must say, I don’t know if I could shake off, and laugh about, all of those types of emails like I did Mitsy’s. You’ve gotta have thick skin to withstand your world. 🙂
March 22, 2014 at 12:58 am
Oh, that Mitsy one would get under my skin because I’d have to sit next to her all day. At least with students, they come and go, and the snarky all-campus emails are usually written by people I don’t know to people I don’t know. But one time someone accidentally hit reply-all to an all-campus email to ask her friend to split a pizza with her at lunch. That was cute.
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March 22, 2014 at 8:08 am
I was shaking my head at Mitsy’s misadventures when I suddenly thought of something I do ALL. THE. TIME. I often send myself an email containing a link or document or photo, because it’s the quickest, easiest way to ensure access from different devices. Without fail, I send the email; then literally a few seconds later, I hear the email notification from the same device and think, “Oh, I have mail!” It’s only when I actually check it that I realise what I’ve done. Again.
March 22, 2014 at 2:42 pm
Ahaha! I’ve done that too. I didn’t even think of how similar it is to the her voicemail fiasco. Too funny!
March 22, 2014 at 12:38 pm
At my previous job at a non-profit, our director of marketing received an email from an organization that granted us a ton of money. She was annoyed by some of the strings attached to the grant, so she forwarded the message to some colleagues and added “Do you see what these dip shits want us to do?”
Except, instead of “forward” she hit “reply.”
Funny, she wasn’t fired until almost two years later.
March 22, 2014 at 2:45 pm
Yikes! Just the thought of making that kind of mistake makes me sweat. I’ve seen someone reply to a companywide email, dropping the f-bomb and complaining about a new policy. Super nice guy. Felt awful for him, but thankfully he didn’t get fired for it.
March 22, 2014 at 5:31 pm
This woman wasn’t so nice, so I was disappointed that they didn’t use that snafu as grounds for dismissal sooner.
March 22, 2014 at 6:15 pm
Cringing on her behalf. I have made plenty of phone calls I regretted, and texts, you betcha.
March 22, 2014 at 6:50 pm
Only saints haven’t, and I am not a saint. 🙂
March 22, 2014 at 6:36 pm
Your Mitsy stories are funny. I hope Mitsy is learning from her mistakes. You were awfully nice to her when she sent you that email. A perfect way to handle it 🙂
I once sent an email intended for one person to my entire contact list. Thankfully, it was a benign email, but I did get a lot of replies wondering what the heck I was talking about. I was completely sober when I did this.
I don’t drink anymore, but the drinking age was 18 back in the 1970’s. When I was 18 and 19, I’m sure I made a few calls while intoxicated. I have received a fair share of them, too. The last one was on New Year’s Eve last year. It was a wrong number.
March 22, 2014 at 6:53 pm
Thanks, Robin. She hadn’t said anything in that email that I wasn’t thinking myself, and I wanted to let her off the hook, but I don’t think she interpreted it that way. And hopefully your drunk dialing wrong number took that as a sign and didn’t redial the correct number. 🙂
March 26, 2014 at 1:49 am
Oh Mitsy…. I have had a friend try and retract an email complaining about a mutual friends sister – after the sister had already read it. It was organizing a hens night and lets just say, things were a bit awkward especially after some wines…
March 26, 2014 at 8:18 pm
Awkward confessions + wine = trouble every time 🙂
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