Email: Friendly Forwards

February 16, 2009

Good morning! Have you opened your email yet?

Are you afraid you’ll have dozens of strange forwarded messages from your friends?

Oh my. That’s a problem. And you can’t tell them to stop because they’re your friends. You don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.

You should check out!

Here’s how it works (from

  1. Submit a form with your offending friend’s name and email address.
  2. Your friend will receive this anonymous email.
  3. Wait and hope that your friend will recognize the error of their ways and stop emailing unsolicited jokes, chain letters and urban myths to everyone in their address book.

Why the long face? Did you have something you wanted to forward?

Email forwarding isn’t always bad. Here are some tips to make sure your forwards are welcome instead of dreaded.

1. After you click “Forward” delete everything from the email except the joke or photo or whatever content it is that you’re sending.

That funny joke that Jon sent to Kathy, then Kathy sent to Barb, then Barb sent to William, and William sent to Nate, and Nate sent to Betty? I bet you have to scroll down five pages just to read it.

Not only is that annoying, but if you just click “Forward” without deleting all the earlier text, you’re probably also forwarding the email address of every person who has been sent that message. No one needs their email address spread around like that. Preserve the privacy of your friends and family – delete any email addresses and other junk that isn’t relevant to the joke.

2. If you’re going to forward your message to more than one person, use BCC.

BCC stands for Blind Carbon Copy. It means that you can send the same email to 20 people, but if you put the email addresses in the BCC field, no one will be able to see who was sent the email. You get to spread the funny joke, cute photo, or important news story – and you’re friends get to keep their privacy.

3. Check for accuracy before you forward.

Yes, I suppose that crazy story you’re about to send out might be true. But just to be on the safe side, check before you forward any incredible news or gossip you’ve recently gotten in your inbox. is a clearinghouse for hoaxes and misinformation. So, checking there is a good habit to get into – no one wants to be the one who forwards a hoax to twenty people.

4. No one wants to send your message to 20 of their friends.

Refrain from forwarding chain letters. If you get a funny feeling that you really will have bad luck if you don’t forward the letter on, I sympathize with you. But, don’t subject your friends, family, and colleagues to the same turmoil. Remind yourself that you’d have the bad vibes from 20 of your friends for forwarding a chain letter and that is much worse than the risk of bad luck.

For more tips on forwarding and other email quandaries visit