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.
You run into an ex and they are with somebody
Poise is key, so stand or sit confidently. Next, imagine something that makes you happy. Whenever I run into someone I don't like -- but can't let it show -- I imagine my grandmother standing right behind them and smile as if I'm speaking to her. Really, it works. Then, be the first to stick out your hand and introduce yourself, but keep it brief. The longer you try to keep up a game face, the higher the chances you'll slip up. Say you're running late for something, then excuse yourself.
You ordered far less than your friend who wants to go halfsies on the bill
Before the recession, if you insisted on only paying for what you ordered, a friend might have accused you of being cheap or stingy. But these days, everyone understands when you say you're on a budget, so you should come right out and say that, while you've always gone halfsies in the past, you're now low on cash and can't afford it anymore. Saying that you'd normally be OK with splitting the bill is really important -- you don't to make your friend feel judged, as if he or she was trying to pay less than his or her share on purpose.
You leave your house without any makeup and realize you have somewhere to be
As long as you have some lipstick, you can give yourself a touch-up. Apply a little more lipstick to your mouth than usual to help draw people's eyes there and brighten up your whole face. Then use your fingers to rub just a touch of lipstick onto the apples of your cheeks. Another easy thing you can do that will make a big difference is to lick your fingertip and smooth out your eyebrows so that they look nice and neat. Also, a few minutes of exercise can give you an amazing glow. Consider parking far away from the entrance of the building you're going to or taking the stairs instead of the elevator so that when you arrive, your face will have some great color.
You realize too late that you have left all of your money and credit cards at home
That's what friends are for! Call in a favor and ask a friend who lives or works nearby if you can swing by and borrow a few bucks. Alternately, ask a co-worker at your same level -- never ask a subordinate -- to loan you just enough to get through the day. Then make a point of paying them back ASAP. One great thing to consider doing is to always have an emergency $20 stashed in your cell phone case or your glove compartment. Whenever you're forced to use it, make sure to replace it immediately later that day, so you'll never be without some quick cash.
For more from Cosmo on these types of situations, click here.
for more features.