Have you ever made a huge email mistake? For instance, have you ever written an email in which you criticized a certain department, and then mistakenly sent it to members of that department? Or have you ever written an email with confidential information in it that you meant to send to a certain coworker, but you mistakenly clicked “Reply All” rather than “Reply”?

Even if you realize your mistake right away, it’s too late. Recalling an email often doesn’t work and can make the situation worse.

So what should you do if you mistakenly send out a damaging or inappropriate email? Here are a few tips:

  1. Address the issue – As much as you’d like to believe that no one will read or notice your inappropriate email, they will. It’s not something you can simply ignore. You need to actively address the issue.
  2. Talk to the right people – If you’ve made a really tremendous mistake (the kind that might have legal ramifications), talk to your boss about it right away. He or she should help you to determine what additional steps need to be taken.
  3. Say you’re sorry – If you haven’t made the kind of mistake that requires you to notify your legal department – but you have hurt people’s feelings – say you’re sorry. Talk to the person (or people) that you’ve offended, and offer a sincere apology. Explain why you wrote the email and why it was a mistake. Ask what you can do to fix the situation.
  4. Don’t beat yourself up about it – After taking the necessary steps and saying you’re sorry, then try to move on. Don’t obsess over it or beat yourself up over it. We all make mistakes – and we can all bounce back from them!


Honeysett, A. (n.d.). How to recover from an epic email fail. The Muse. Retrieved from https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-recover-from-an-epic-email-fail