Friday, October 22, 2010

Email Oops

Dear Grace:

I received a strange e-mail from the husband of an acquaintance of mine. The contents of the message made it clear that it was not meant for my eyes--but that it had not been intended for his wife either. It referred to an X-rated encounter with his girlfriend! I didn't know the wife acquaintance well enough to pick up the phone and call and didn't want to meddle, so I just deleted the e-mail (after printing it out, just for laughs). A while later my acquaintance found out about the affair and sued her husband for divorce. I then mentioned the e-mail to her. Did I do the right thing in keeping quiet?

Grace Says:

Wow! That's a miscue on the "send" button if I’ve ever heard one. You were absolutely correct to keep mum on this salacious material. If the wife were a very close friend or sister, I would recommend telling her in a private, supportive way. I wouldn't recommend doing the same with a casual acquaintance. You never know who might be the type to kill the messenger, and you never know the intricacies of other people's marriages.

As far as the cyber-seducer, you had two perfectly acceptable options, one of which you wisely chose:

1. Let It Be. (Apologies to The Beatles for invoking their ballad thus.)
2. Send it back with a simple straightforward message: "Fred, this came to
me, obviously in error. Rest assured that it will go no further, but I
wanted to let you know that it went awry." (I would have been sorely tempted to go this route!)

Keep up the good work, Grace. And empathize with the wife. It really is mind boggling the level of indiscretion out there.

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