11 February 2009

Electronic Freudian Slip

Wikipedia defines a Freudian slip as “an error in speech, memory, or physical action that is believed to be caused by the subconscious mind.”

I think the email version of a Freudian slip is the action of hitting “reply all” instead of “reply”, or “reply” instead of “forward”. We’ve all done it, usually with embarrassing, if not disastrous, consequences. I can remember well two occasions when I received an email from an annoying person at work, and instead of forwarding the email with my snarky comments to a coworker, I replied to the sender. On both occasions, the sender was the same person. Would I have liked to tell him how irritating he was to me, what a whiner he was? Of course! But that just wouldn’t be professional. Instead, I bitched about him to a coworker (because bitching about people behind their backs is soooooo much MORE professional) and it came back to bite me in the ass.

The best example of an email Freudian slip happened a couple of weeks after Shane and I started dating. As you may know, he and I work for the same company. When we started dating, not many people knew. We weren't trying to keep it secret, we just didn't end up telling many people. I was kind of dreading others finding out because I knew both of us would get a lot of shit from our coworkers - good-natured shit, but shit nonetheless. But getting the news out quickly would at least mean the deed was done. Sort of like ripping off a band aid.

Every morning Shane sent an email to all the people in my department (customer service), plus a couple other people, with status updates on the work going through his department. One morning I replied to his email with something like,

"Morning Love,
Do you know if [such-and-such job] will be mailing today?
Love you,

Clicked "send". Then IMMEDIATELY realized my mistake. I had hit "reply all" instead of "reply".

Now, my office at the time was in a low-walled cubicle surrounded by the others in my department, also in cubicles. My horror at my error soon turned into embarrassment as heard my coworkers, one by one, burst out laughing upon opening my email.

The cat was out of the bag. In a big way. My coworkers gave me no end of grief for WEEKS (deservedly so). Shane got it worse than I did - boys will be boys. Needless to say, I am now VERY careful when I send emails.


The above is an attempt at participation in a little blog carnival started by Kate. Several others are joining in the weekly fun, including Lisa, Baino, and jmlc. Show 'em some love. Clicky, read, and comment.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ohhh, that is priceless. I've definitely had that moment where you wish you could just reach through the monitor, grab the email, and yank it back before it was read. (True, Outlook sometimes can, and boy did I take advantage of that at work!)

Good thing you ended up married, because that sort of story is never going to completely go away, anyway... might as well have a happy ending.

7:49 PM  
Blogger Mag said...

:-) Great Valentine's story too.

8:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is a fabulous story.

I'm not sure I ever replied-all or forwarded vs. replied by mistake, but I've been on the receiving end of such errors. Always makes for a more interesting day. :)

9:46 PM  
Blogger Dame Wendy said...

Ha!! Love that. :) I've had so many embarrassments with email gone awry. Yarn carnival? Ooo must go investigate. :)

10:56 PM  

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