Calm, Cool and Committed

Three Moms and a Dude


on November 11, 2012

You’ll never believe what Jill emailed me!

A little after midnight on Saturday, I checked my email. Big mistake. For the next hour, I would toss and turn, for I had been the victim of The Unpermitted Email Forward.

You see, on Friday I sent an email. It asked a question of someone in authority. The email was in no way, shape or form disrespectful, secretive or scandalous. On the scale of email excitement, it barely clocked in at a 0.001. Yet when I saw that this mild email had been forwarded – without my consent – to a third party, my blood began to boil. The third party (let’s officially call them Third Party), responded to both the Forwarder and me. Third Party wrote a lengthy (and I mean lengthy) response to the question my original email had asked, but that did not matter to me. I cared not a whit about what their email said. They could have rewritten the Treaty of Versailles for all I cared. I was super POed that Forwarder sent my email on to someone else without my permission.  Even though my email didn’t say anything I wouldn’t have said to Third Party, I didn’t want to include Third Party in the conversation.

I long for the glorious days of yore, when email didn’t come in to play. Do you remember that? You could say something and not worry. If someone repeated your words to another person, there was never any proof that it actually came from you.

Now, with emails, your words are there for everyone to see. And unlike the Glorious Days of Yore, email forwarders don’t feel guilty about the act of passing along an email. Nope. Why would they? They’re not gossiping, they’re spreading the truth.

Come on, admit it, you don’t feel bad about it. You forward emails all the time without asking permission. Not a day goes by when I don’t send hubby at least half a dozen emails that were addressed to me, not to him. I write it off under the guise of “Well, I’d tell him about it anyway.” And most of the emails I forward are jokes, or political emails from people who should know better than to send me political emails.

But still. It’s a bad thing. When we talk to someone, we do so with a specific purpose in mind. When I’m at the grocery store and I say to the clerk, “It’s almost 11, you’re soon off duty!” I want them, and only them, to be the recipient of my words.

The same is true when I write an email. But with one click of the mouse, my words can be sent to 10, 15, 20 million other people, all without my knowledge.

I’m sure you’ve been burned once or twice by the Unpermitted Email Forward. It’s happened to all of us. My husband once famously forwarded something to me from a romantic rival (we still laugh about the fall-out from that…). For the most part, I’ve learned to be cautious with what I write in an email. Heck, some of my friends and I even have code names for people, so that if emails ever left our hands we couldn’t be held accountable. But it still upsets me when it happens. It still ticks me off. No matter how unimportant my email was, the sheer act of pushing it forward is sneaky. It’s duplicitous. It’s. Not. Very. Nice. And you can quote me on that.


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