There was a period in time, before iMessage, in which we used e-mail for everything—to gossip with friends, catch Mom up on the latest events in our lives, etc. We regret those days. Even now, with texts and other smartphone-based communications replacing e-mail as the go-to means for communicating digitally, there are dangers in oversharing (how many screenshots have you seen, just this week?). Here, a list of things you should avoid hashing out over e-mail or, really, in any manner that can be forever recorded—we suggest you reserve these seven topics for in-person chats only.
Don't Make These 7 E-Mail Mistakes
We all complain about everyone in our lives and, it seems, the closer someone is to us, the more negative things we're likely to report about them. It can sometimes be healthy to unload resentments on a third party, but we highly recommend you refrain from doing this in a manner that can be forwarded to the offending friend or family member. You never know where alliances truly lie, and even if you do, things can fall into the wrong hands accidentally. We have a friend whose roommate borrowed her computer, accidentally opened her email, and found quite a few personal complaints within it. They weren't even big ones—just normal, small issues—but their relationship was never the same as a result. Save your b*tchfest for an in-person session alongside a bottle of wine.
We know you want to send that meticulously drafted e-mail to your ex explaining all of the reasons your relationship should still be intact, but don't. From personal experience, we can tell you that the thought of these in-the-moment, emotional pleas will cause your future self to cringe. There's nothing wrong with being vulnerable, but we're just not sure you need your weakest moments immortalized.
Don't breakup up with someone over e-mail—it's the modern day equivalent of the Post-It note with which Carrie Bradshaw was once dumped. This really shouldn't be done via text, either.
Ideally, you can live your whole life in obscurity without anyone digging into the sordid emails of your past; however, what if you, or your future spouse, decide one day to run for some sort of public office? Or, what happens if you meet Justin Bieber, he falls head-over-heels in love with you, and some crazy fan hacks into all of your digital data and sells all your old e-mails to TMZ? There's just no reason to send details of your sex life to anyone over e-mail, and it might be wise to watch it with the sexting, too. (Unless you want to be a reality TV star, in which case, go nuts!)
Duh. Also, your social security number, passport number and other personal information that may aid someone in stealing your identity does not belong in outgoing e-mails.
This happened to someone we know (ahem). "She" had written an e-mail to a friend detailing just how much she hated her job, and then, her friend had written back something that would be of note to our friend's boss. Sleep-deprived and stressed, our friend forwarded the e-mail chain to her boss, with all of the hatred spewed just a few exchanges beneath the content she meant for him to see. Don't be this girl. If you need to vent about your job, call your mom on the phone after hours or bribe an unsuspecting friend to listen in person by buying them wine. This is your livelihood, and your professional reputation is on the line!
The words "do not screenshot" are a red flag as well. If you're writing something that you wouldn't want anyone else to see, and you're specifically telling the person you're writing it to that it's something you don't want anyone else to see, chances are they're going to remember the moment and, if they don't forward or screenshot it right away, they may remember to do so at some point down the line—friendships aren't always forever, after all. If you wouldn't want anyone to see what you're saying, we suggest you don't say it (digitally, that is).