SWB on Modern-day Mishaps

It’s the horror of the modern age. Not nuclear armageddon or another strain of Covid. Or God forbid, a third lockdown with the kids. No, the real terror of modern life is sending a text to the wrong person. The sinking feeling when you hit send,  knowing your missive is winging its way to the wrong recipient, and there’s dang all you can do about it.

We’ve all been there. Whether it’s absent-mindedly banging a kiss on the end of a WhatsApp to a colleague, or worse still, in an email to your boss, confusing them with your loved one.

And that’s just a cringe fest and there’s no harm done.

But with our interactions with friends, the absence of a simple ‘x’ can signify that all is not well, and can be interpreted as being passive aggressive if you habitually use one. The lack of an ‘x’ can signify a peevishness, hint at a hurt, and be the verbal equivalent of  ‘I’ve had enough of this.’

Then there’s the people who aren’t kissers or huggers IRL and don’t want to become one in the digital arena after. Do you send an ‘x’ in your communications with them because you ARE a digital ‘x-er’?

It’s all very complex. But this is small fry, in comparison to sending the wrong message.

Years ago,  a friend was replying to a group chat about a night out. She sent a few dates when she wasn’t free as she was in the throes of a new romance. Anyway, the pal who was organising the shindig wrote, ‘We’ve been sidelined AGAIN, of course, because Jane’s* out with bloody Paul.’ Except she sent it to the group chat, and not to the friend she thought she was sending it to.


Jane admits now that she was totally infatuated and a tad hard to listen to, but she did marry perfect Paul and still invited her mate to the wedding, which I think was very magnanimous.

But it’s a tough one, because when you do send a message like that, you reveal what she really feel, and the person can go back and read it over and over again. I suppose the old adage, ‘If you’re not going to say something nice then don’t say it at all,’ still holds true.

Nearly everyone has a story about when things go terribly wrong. While at uni, an old friend of mine went to a gig with a girl he fancied. They were having such craic that he got a bit ahead of himself, and sent his flatmate a message telling him to vacate the premises, in anticipation of having the house to himself. Of course, he sent it to the girl instead, who told him he was a presumptuous git. He went home alone, and with a flea in his ear.

The rule is, be careful. Be very careful. Or better still, leave the blooming phone at home and give yourselves some time off. We always feel we have to be checking and scrolling and texting. Bring a book next time you go to a cafe- far less chance of any bother!

*names have been changed to protect the guilty

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