It happens every once and awhile. Maybe you were tired or distracted. Whatever the reason you clicked on the wrong name. It is a minor faux pas in the grand scheme of things, but just in case here are steps for handling the situation.
If you realize at the beginning of a conversation here are your options:
- Have a brief chat on a topic that is actually relevant to your unintended chat partner.
- Explain that you miss clicked and apologize for interrupting them.
If you realized in the middle of a conversation here are some options:
- Apologize for getting off on a tangent and re-orient the conversation.
- Fess up to your case of mistaken identity and explain the similarity in user names that caused the confusion.
If you figured it out at the end of the conversation then the damage is already done.
An annoying habit of some IMers is the propensity to give you a little bit of data without filling in all of the blanks. It can go a little bit something like this:
Janie80: Going to the bar tonight u wanna come?
Roboticous: Sure, when?
Janie80: Later. Gotta run C U 2 nite.
Janie80: Signed off
Annoying since you don’t know where or when. When the matter is personal this isn’t a big deal. Most of us could do without the expense and humiliation of drinking out.
If the matter is business it can be more of an issue. Missing an important meeting can be a career ender.
There are some times when an IM is not the best way to go. Usually that is when you will put your foot in your foot in your mouth if you do not think before you write. Times when you should skip on IMing:
– When your chat partner would be an exboyfriend, girlfriend or spouse.
– When you have to deliver bad news and you know it will not be taken well.
– When you are drunk or otherwise impaired.
– When you know that the message requires context, or that what you are saying could be understood in multiple ways.
So think before you IM and remember there are some times when you should not use it.