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Uh-oh… Online Love Bloopers!


How to recover when you hit the send button just a little too soon and make an Internet amour error.

By Barrie Dolnick

mail and IMs are great for keeping up-to-the-minute in touch with your flirtations. Who can resist instantaneous wordplay with a few sparks and tickles? It’s all in the game of love. But what if you send your sweetie something meant for someone else? Or what if you’re on the receiving end of a misdirected message? Hitting send is like permanent marker. No erasing, no deleting. Here are four common online bloopers and how to retrieve your dignity, if not your words.

Internet love error #1: A Freudian click?
Julia and Bart developed a big online attraction. When they met in person, there was a strong connection… they clicked and
Ever hit the send button instead of delete? You are not alone.
so did their romance. Then, without warning, Bart’s emails stopped cold. He didn’t answer IM’s or return phone calls. “I didn’t see it coming at all,” Julia recalled. “And it was frustrating not being able to know what was going on.”

So she drafted an email that she would never send. It had lots of bad words in it and pretty much worked out any anger she’d ever felt toward him and even toward a few other guys. She saved the email without sending it.

When she went back to her computer the next day, she brought up the email to delete it. Her phone rang, she got distracted and boom—she hit the send button. Bart got her uncensored email, complete with bad spelling and what she describes as “maniacal ranting.”

Julia was horrified, but what could she do? She sent an email apologizing for her harsh words—she didn’t want the bad karma of her anger hanging out there. He has still not responded. That was a few years ago. Sometimes you just have to assume it’s for the best. “People make that kind of mistake all the time—people are very dependent on email,” warns Bev Bacon, author of Meet Me… Don’t Delete Me! Internet Dating: I’ve Made All the Mistakes So You Don’t Have To. “It’s great for meeting someone, but after that, make phone calls. You can’t take things back once they’re sent. It can kick you in the butt.”

Internet love error #2: The too fast forward
This happened to me. I got an email from my favorite flirtation. I hit forward to send it to my best friend. Then I wrote on the forward went something like, “Just one of many admirers. He’s a cute little schnooky-pootsy, isn’t he?” I didn’t fill the address in right away because I got another email and lost my train of thought.

A while later I went back to send that email to my friend and let my autofill address it. My friend’s address began with something like drtool. My crush’s email was dtT00. I hit send and immediately afterward had a sick feeling in my stomach. Did I send that to my friend after all? I went back to my email, and there was the ugly truth. I forwarded it back to my cutie, not my friend. Autofill was auto-fatal.

I really wanted to salvage the situation, so while talking on the phone to
Scroll all the way down before forwarding an email thread…
my friend (why would I risk email again?), I composed this letter:

Dear Crush,
As a charter member of the Foot in Mouth Club, I have fulfilled my obligation to humiliate myself. Please accept my apology and understand that the reference to other admirers was entirely fictional and the term “Schnooky-pootsy” is actually highly technical and refers to a little known passage in Tibetan poetry. No disrespect was intended. The aforementioned note was meant to amuse a friend who is in the hospital and lives for small moments of humor. Feel free to return the awkward moment.
Yours truly,
Size 9 narrow

Happily, the guy thought it was funny, and I lived beyond the humiliation. Moral of the story: Fast-forwarding is only good for DVRs.

Internet love error #3: Forwarding a thread of destruction
Not unrelated to my own little disaster above, here is another case of premature forwardication. Threads are handy little pieces of evidence when it comes to carrying on a conversation and to give the reader some background to a situation. If you don’t understand the email, scroll to read the thread that came before, and you’ll get the whole picture. But this can absolutely be a relationship killer. Let me explain how.

Carrie from L.A. was planning a party with her boyfriend and two other couples. Her boyfriend wasn’t very interested in the details, so he left most of the communication to her. Carrie received an email he forwarded that had come from one of his buddies about the party. It had a long thread from this guy’s girlfriend and the other couple. Carrie scrolled down because she was curious to figure out why they hadn’t included her in the previous email. She soon found out why it didn’t come to her: One of the couples routinely referred to her as a “Carrie, the… ” (use your imagination here and fill in a derogatory term). Either her boyfriend hadn’t read it carefully or didn’t mind starting a friendship fire.

You can just imagine what happened next. No party. No friendship. Carrie put it to her boyfriend: Me or them. He dropped the offensive friends. They got married and now live in cuss-free harmony. But the moral of the story is, when forwarding email threads, you may want to do a nice cut and delete before hitting send. It can save you from all kinds of difficult explanations and tense situations.

Internet love error #4: The cc no-no
You know how you sometimes get a side-splittingly funny email from a friend and it totally saves your day? Maybe it shows a famous politician singing a ridiculous song or it’s a cartoon involving a bunch of drunken flies. Humor is definitely an important element to a relationship, but you just never know when someone’s funny bone might break. If you happen to send an off-color, vulgar, political or religious satire, and you hear crickets in response, you’re in trouble.

All you can do is apologize and try to bow and scrape your way out of the offensive communication. If you can’t do that, rethink your romance. Do you really want to be linked to someone who doesn’t get your sense of humor—whatever it might be? “Humor is a tough one to pull off online because you can’t see someone’s face or read how they are reacting,” says Suzanne MacGowan, author of The Ultimate Online Dating Guide: Secrets of How Savvy Women Find Great Matches. “And if you think something is funny and he or she doesn’t—you might be a humor mismatch.”

The best way to avoid that is to forward funnies only to close friends who can tell you to shut up. Let your crush be the first to break the bad-taste barrier, or at least warn your honey before the email goes out. I know it’s hard to believe, but not everyone lives for a link to a good fart gag.


Author and astro-coach Barrie Dolnick helps people find love and happiness by understanding their stars and their karmic energy. She has written twelve books, including Enlighten Up! and KarmaBabe.
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