Reply All is Not the Devil

Many a spooky story is told about people using the reply all functionality on an email when they meant to send a snarky comment to just one person. Naturally, the offenders are then tormented and humiliated and sometimes even tarred and feathered for their technological mishap. Stories of these blunders have everyone so scared that often people don’t use reply all even when they should.

Seriously, sometimes, it really is a good idea to hit “reply all.” Using reply all correctly would prevent my brother-in-law from sending me accidental love notes, for example.

Reply All is Not the Devil

It is a common occurrence for my sister to send emails that copy both my brother-in-law and me. To which, like a good, technology-dependent sister, I’ll respond almost instantaneously. I’ll reply all so that we can have a little pretend conversation online. Then, it will happen: My brother-in-law will respond without replying all. Invariably his response is something like, “I don’t know, whatever you want. Did you call my mom? I can’t wait to snuggle with you.”

There is never a time those words are not off-putting coming from your brother-in-law.

Because, no, I will not snuggle with you and I sure as hell will not call your mother. I have my own in-laws to contend with, thank you.

Also, I don’t even want to think about you “snuggling” with my baby sister, you perv. But, hey, at least my mom isn’t offering to let him go south.

When I then try to explain to my sister that her husband wants to know if she called his mom, chaos ensues. Mostly, my sister is irritated that he didn’t reply to her directly. She’s also embarrassed that he’s accidentally asking me to snuggle him. However, on the bright side we use this gaffe as an opportunity to tease him.

We send a flurry of emails to let him know that he needs to reply all in order for both of us to get the message. Somehow, though, no matter how many times this chain of event transpires, he still does not get the message. For the life of him, he can’t figure out he needs to reply all.

In his defense, he says, he didn’t realize I was copied on those emails in the first place. I’m not sure why he thinks my sister is responding to her own messages or having conversations with herself but… there you have it, folks.

The only time this scenario ever works in my favor is when this situation happens at work. Once in a blue moon, someone will ask me to do something that I’ll get out of because they forgot to reply all.

So really, it’s not so bad.


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About Anissa Mayhew

You can read more Anissa at her blog Free Anissa and as a contributing writer at Babble. She's at Twitter, FacebookG+, and Pinterest too. And yes, she's probably up to no good either.



  1. I have yet to have a “reply all” mishap of my own…although I’m open to it. Especially if it involves offers of snuggling.

    I have, however, had my share of accidental texts. Always on my end. Usually embarrassing.

    I did send a message to my own brother-in-law along the lines of: Hey Hotstuff. Can’t wait to see you later. Pop the champagne…

    I don’t know who felt worse about it. Him, me, or my husband who didn’t get the champagne ready.

    p.s. I should feel worse, though. Hotstuff is a lame nickname.

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  2. Sarah says:

    I heavily use the reply all function at work, and fortunately, have not been subject to a mishap. Although I have found out some juicy tidbits..,.

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  3. liz says:

    Of course the thought of you calling his mother is more offensive.

  4. Mirjam says:

    I fear the reply all button, I have embarrassed my husband way to many times sending emails including his clients on intimate conversations..

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