Undoing email on gmail


Gone it is and trouble it causes: email not meant to be sent. This is not talking about the half-finished ones, those with unfathomable spelling or omitted salutation. Or when a Mr. becomes a Mrs. – an involuntary sex-change that amazingly seems to be far more offensive this way round than the other. Disaster eventually strikes when confidential email or attachments are erroneously forwarded to a least-of-all-trusted person, the certified company chatterbox or – God forbid!- a detested competitor. Or a number of them. If A writes to B that C is a corrupt crook, D to Z are not supposed to be let into the secret, even though they may have long been in the know. However, once the tricky „answer all“ button for multiple recipients is pressed unintentionally, a wicked pointed weapon springs into action only to unleash its evil effect.

If not handled with utter caution, the destructive command is able to inflict injury beyond healing. Which equals fatal. A reputation, once lost, is hard to retrieve, if ever. All that’s left to the scatterbrained culprit is to fade into the woodwork instantly. Gives the thoroughly mortified time to recover from shame and embarrassment and to think about how to apologise. A sad, sad story this is.

Not half as sad as the Social Media variety though, where an unlucky post or photo once disseminated will cruise the universe of the unforgiving world-wide web until the end of time and space – although efforts are being made by google to remove the worst from the net and the public eye. But that’s a tedious process not always crowned by success.

Some useful advice published by the Harvard Business Review on how to avoid pitfalls in email writing in general:


For email now there’s a cure and a pale light emerging at the end of the tunnel: an undo button for email sent via gmail. Although the system allows fixing of the period that may pass between sending and undoing, one has to be quick, as the reprieve lasts but a few precious seconds.

Here’s the link to the portal:

Undo email on gmail

Undo email on gmail



Header image ©Christina Feyerke