O2 Presents #NewNormal

Sorry, That Wasn't Meant For You

Stories of the times a message went wrong, from an errant finger sending an "I love you" to your boss or uploading a shirtless selfie to Instagram Stories. Presented by O2.

by O2
26 September 2016, 11:05pm

Brought to you by the #NewNormal, O2's mission to question, explore and understand how mobile is changing the way we act and interact as humans. Read more #NewNormal stories here.

"Sorry, that wasn't meant for you."

There it is, in all its anguished glory. The desperate cry of the hurried smartphone user, betrayed by their own cack-handedness. It appears to be an explanation, but we all know it's more of a plea; a futile attempt to mitigate the inevitable damage that will be caused by the recipient seeing a message never intended for them.

We've all done it – an errant finger sending an "I love you" to your boss; a not so sleight of hand forwarding Chappelle Show clips to your grandmother; uploading a shirtless selfie to Instagram Stories – but some people have done it to a far more severe degree than others. So we caught up with a few of these hapless messengers, to find out why they had to frantically send a "Sorry, that wasn't meant for you."

Steven, 33

I'd broken up with my girlfriend for a variety of reasons I won't go into, but let's just say she wasn't happy. In fact, she started sending abusive messages to my friends and family after I blocked her number, her email, and made all of my social media private.

I felt bad that my mates were getting lumped into this, but I also had no idea how to stop her. Instead, I sent a blanket email to everyone I know, warning them that they might receive a variety of unsavoury messages from an unknown source.

Thing is, I sent this when I was six pints deep at my local. I don't know how it happened, but I managed to cc my ex into this mass email. I didn't send a 'that wasn't meant for you' because that was pretty obvious anyway. Giving her access to my entire contact list caused me a bit of grief for a while, but after I paid a lawyer a handsome sum to get a judge to whack a restraining order on her, it's pretty much been smooth sailing ever since. I mean I get those calls where you answer and all you hear is heavy breathing, but that's fine.

Thea, 25

I had just started dating a guy when I was offered a job in another city. It was exactly what I wanted to do so I couldn't turn it down. We broke it off, and I moved away. Inevitably, I continued to message him, which is an easy habit to fall into when you've just relocated and you've got no mates. Every so often – usually when we were both a bit drunk – we'd start sending each other nudes over Snapchat.

It was fun. No regrets. Except the one. One time I snapped a particularly explicit pic and sent it to him via Snapchat. Sadly for me, rather than sending it to him and him alone, I uploaded it onto my Snapchat story, meaning everyone connected to me got to see it.

I've got three younger brothers, and the thought of them opening it up absolutely mortified me. I added another snap on my Story that just said, "Sorry, Snapchat-fraped", but I'm almost certain no one believed me. That was six months ago now, and I still haven't returned home to visit the family. I'm going to let it die down a little bit more.

Antoine, 28

Remember when everyone was really into Game of Thrones? Not me. I thought it was shitty. I hate fantasy crap and I can just use the internet for nudity, so it's really not my thing. However, a few years back there was an episode where all these characters got brutally murdered at this wedding. It was apparently a big deal, and everyone at work was like, "Woah, woah. Don't tell me what happened last night. I haven't watched it yet," when anyone mentioned the show.

Intrigued, I watched the scene at work. It was pretty good actually – lots of blood and gore and whatnot. Then I had an idea. For a laugh, I pulled everyone into a meeting and loaded up the projector thingy we have. I'm pretty high up at my company, so no one really bats an eye if I call meetings. As soon as everyone was sitting down, I whacked on the scene right when all the people start getting killed. Man, everyone was so pissed, it was like I ruined that film where Bruce Willis is dead all along or something. One dude looked like he was going to cry. Another said he didn't mind, because he'd read all the books so he knew it would happen, which made me quietly furious.

Still, it totally ruined everyone's day. Later that night I was telling my dad about it over Whatsapp. He agreed it was an ingenious prank. But this was after I'd accidentally sent the text detailing my scheme to my girlfriend, not dad. She loved GoT and hadn't watched it either. She was pissed, and was even more disturbed by the fact I'd go out of my way to ruin a small pleasure of so many people who work for me. She was so disturbed in fact that she demanded we go on a break, claiming she couldn't be with 'that sort of person.'

She dumped me for real about a week later.

Denise, 25

This isn't really a 'that wasn't meant for you' story, but the phrase does pop up. I used to work in a bar and my boss was the worst: constantly withholding pay, reducing hours, asking us to show up for a shift then sending us home because we 'weren't needed', all that stuff.

She was also an idiot. She'd make wild claims, like how she invented the word 'ting' (as in 'thing'), or how drinking tap water made you infertile. Whenever she was on your shift she made you want to claw your eyes out. Still, my hatred of her was shared among all the staff, so we banded together to bully her in our own subtle way.

By subtle, I mean we'd take it in turns to send our boss texts along the lines of "the flat's on fire, come quick!", "Danny is cheating on you with the girl who works at Londis" or "nice to meet you the other night. Thanks for your credit card number", which we'd soon follow up with a "Sorry, that wasn't meant for you."

And by soon, I mean the end of her shift. If you sent a particularly good one just as she clocked on, you could keep her in a controlled state of mild panic until you went home. It made pulling pints a lot easier.

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