Panicked onliners contact me quite regularly, asking for advice and help about what they should do after emailing the wrong person.
“Can I get the email back?” Maybe. It depends on your software and setup, and even then, it may not be what you think.
How to Unsend an Email in Gmail and Outlook
Comedy of Errors?
Otherwise, once you click send, the email is generally irretrievably on its way. The copy is entirely out of your control on someone else’s mail server.
The last situation I was asked about involved typing about an individual in a not-so-kind way to a friend. The sender inadvertently Cc: ‘d this individual on their diatribe (Poetic justice?). The friend then compounded the issue by hitting Reply to All. Yikes!
There is nothing you can do when these types of things happen but to grovel and humbly apologize. But only if you are sincere and mean it.
If it involves someone you really care about, you’ll then need to call them on the phone and apologize in person immediately. Then, moving forward, follow these tips.
Tips to Avoid Sending Emails to the Wrong Address
This situation, which surprisingly happens often, can easily be avoided by following a few simple rules:
The onus is on you to decide how to handle the aftermath. You can regain some of the lost trust and lack of character your actions exhibited by being sincere and swift with your apology.
Do not offer excuses.
There is no excuse for you not paying attention to details. Do the right thing by offering your apology and then make a point of never being too emotional or in too much of a hurry not to pay attention to what you are doing again!