We’ve all heard about the text or email accidentally sent to the wrong person, not just anyone, but rather the very last person we wanted to read it.
The cheat who is caught out sending incriminating notes for their lover to their spouse. The ranting employee sending tirades unwittingly to their Boss.
Maybe you’ve done this yourself. Or perhaps you’ve read too much into a text or email and flown off the handle in response, only to discover you’ve misread or misunderstood its intention?
Is it a Freudian slip? Did you really intend to get caught out, or express a deeply hidden emotion? Is your subconscious trying to tell you something?
5 reasons behind such a faux pas could be:
1. Speed Demons. Is it just a question of mistakes under pressure? With our mobile phones and social media accounts we are in constant contact, giving us higher expectations on response rates. We create a sense of urgency where there really doesn’t need to be one. With time seemingly against us, we fire off rapid responses. We don’t think before we text, tweet or send. We don’t edit, confirm or censor. When we don’t check, autocorrect loves it. In fact whole websites and books are dedicated to the mayhem autocorrect can invoke.
2. Hidden by a screen. In our solitude we say things we wouldn’t dream of when face to face. Without body language signals, we can become both in turn over sensitive or detached and react accordingly. Sometimes our responses are magnified by the loss of inhibition the screen seemingly provides.
3. Out of context. Until the sarcasm font is developed and the smiley face not inserted into every sentence, we struggle to both convey and interpret context. How do you register that someone is simply having a bad day in 140 characters?
4. Projection. Freud’s notion that we project what we are feeling onto the other person. You are feeling guilty at work for not working hard enough or missing a deadline. You project that onto your Employer and feel defensive from the get go, reading reprimand into their every correspondence.
5. Involuntary subconscious behaviour. That these mistakes are our inner most desires laid bare. That even if not registered in our waking thoughts, somehow our subconscious will sabotage us and allow these feelings to rise involuntarily to the surface. What we are so desperate to hide becomes transparent. Or maybe we are aware, but just as in ironic process theory, when told not to think of the pink elephant it’s all we can see.
You hold the answer.
So if you’ve just detonated the send button, remember to laugh, that millions of us have done the exact same thing before you. Yet before you apologise or drown in the mortification, how do you really feel about what was revealed? Sure you could definitely have gone about it a different way, but is it time to own that feeling and act upon it anyway?
If no, then slow. Sleep on your responses, imagine saying your message out loud to the person’s face and if it really is that sensitive, deliver in person or in the very least over the phone and get out from behind the screen.