Dealing with Life's Sticky Situations

NEW YORK -- How many times have you found yourself in a sticky situation? You know -- running into an ex at a bad time. Sending an ugly e-mail to the wrong person. That sort of thing?

They're inevitable for all of us, but there are ways to navigate those embarrassing -- and sometimes potentially harmful -- dilemmas, as Cosmopolitan magazine Executive Editor Nicole Beland explained on "The Early Show." Cosmo's editors came up with solutions from a team of experts.

You've accidentally sent an incriminating e-mail to the wrong person

Pick up the phone immediately and call. Chances are you'll catch them before they even have a chance to open the e-mail. Say, "I just sent you an email by accident and you're not going to like what it says." Don't bother saying that you didn't mean what you wrote. They won't believe you. Instead, turn the conversation into a problem-solving session. If you insulted or made fun of them in some way, tell them it was a jerky thing to do, then confess that you've been feeling frustrated and explain why. If you really want to patch things up, suggest getting together face-to-face to talk things out so they can see that you're sincerely sorry. The other day, I was actually in the room when a friend of mine wrote an e-mail about how nutty and unreliable one of his female friends was, and then accidentally sent that e-mail to the woman he was insulting. He immediately dropped everything and went straight to her apartment so he could apologize in person. It worked. She was touched that her friendship meant so much to him, he was willing to take immediate action.

A friend borrows money and hasn't paid you back

Shoot your friend an e-mail saying, "I'm happy I was able to lend you some cash. Money is tight for me right now, and I'd really like to be paid back by such-and-such date." Next time, make this your mantra: If you can't afford to lose money, you can't afford to loan it. As a matter of fact, most psychologists advise that, in order to maintain positive relationships with friends or relatives, you should only gift money, never loan it.

You realize you have deodorant marks on your clothing midway through the day

Gently rub the inside of your shirt or a dark cloth towel against the fabric. Don't use a paper towel or tissue, which will only break apart as you rub and make the whole thing look worse. If the deodorant marks are stubborn, you can dampen the fabric a bit with water, or even by giving it a lick (though it will taste TERRIBLE), and they will disappear.

Somebody has insulted or is gossiping about somebody you like

Never stay silent and just let it pass. That response is likely to backfire. The person doing the insulting/gossiping will interpret you silence as agreement and may even tell others that they share your opinion of this person. Also, it's just plain spineless. The editor in chief of Cosmo has the best response in this situation, and I've seen her use it countless times. She says "Oh, I'm sure you just got the wrong impression. He's really not like that. It must have just been a bad situation." This enables the insulter to save face -- because you're implying that the person may have acted out of character for a moment, while you still successfully defend your friend.

You spill something on yourself and are already on the way somewhere

No one in their right mind should ever be without a Tide Stain Stick in their purse, glove compartment, desk drawer, and anywhere else they can stash one. The thing is miraculous. A few weeks ago, I was eating a chocolate energy bar while driving into work and managed to actually crush the sticky chocolate into my dress. I thought there was no way I could make myself presentable, but the Tide Stain Stick worked like magic. If you don't have one and can't stop to pick one up from a drugstore, the best thing you can do is point out the stain soon after arriving at your destination. If you pretend it isn't there, it will be a huge distraction for the person you're talking to. It's all they'll be able to think about! So just quickly explain that you were a klutz and dropped something on yourself and move on. The other person will find it charming that you can make light of it.