You’re stressed. You’re tired. It’s been a long week and you’re counting down the seconds to 5pm… and then you receive an email from a colleague so frustrating you just want to pick up the keyboard and throw it at them.
But you don’t. Because this is an office and is considered a civilised place full of civilised people.
Instead, you craft a passive aggressive email, choosing your words carefully so as not to incite a conflict. And you’re not alone.
Listen: Apparently, doing this is a sure-fire way to make sure you’re not taken seriously. (Post continues after audio.)
Twitter users have shared their most professional-sounding, yet secretly hostile phrases when they’re caught in an excruciating email chain.
Fiction writer @DeeRene_ kicked things off by asking: “What is your favourite phrase to use in a professional clap back?”
“Mine is ‘per my last email…'” she offered.
A flurry of responses unveiled the passive-aggressive phrases lurking in all of our inboxes.
Withholding niceties from your salutation.
Have you received an email that ended with “regards”, where it was once “kind regards”? Yeah, that person is probably pissed off.
“Kind regards” = default
“Regards” = I’m pissed off & want you to know
“Warm regards” = I will end you & you won’t know it was me
— Charles (@charleswrites) August 22, 2017
“Regards” = default
“Best regards” = my best withering stare
“With utmost sincerity” = I meant that veiled threat I made
— Azure Jane Lunatic???? (@azurelunatic) August 22, 2017
See, I like to begin my emails with shade so there’s no confusion:
— Emily Williams (@mle0908) August 22, 2017
Pointing out that they were wrong.
Sometimes your co-worker or boss will contradict themselves or flat out lie in an email and it can be tempting to revert to your inner seven-year-old and type “I’m not wrong, you’re wrong”.
Many of us have found the “professional” way of saying pretty much that.
“As I’ve previously stated…” https://t.co/EoV9j6e3AN
— Kady (@thekadyfiles) August 21, 2017
This. Is. My. Life “because I must have misheard you this morning at our meeting…”
— just petty (shrug) (@berrypettyperry) August 22, 2017
I love re forwarding previous emails and saying “correct me if I’m wrong but here you stated….” https://t.co/grruKuvLxL
— BENZ PUNANI ???? (@chocolateElixir) August 22, 2017
When they’re just not getting back to you.
You’re waiting on a reply to an email you know they received, but instead of calling them out – you give them a chance to make an excuse – ‘cos you’re nice like that.
“See the attached email originally sent on _____” https://t.co/lMwfCzLD4K
— Lanaaaaaaaaa Kane (@Curiously_ARich) August 21, 2017
How to be rude without being rude.
If you want to say something that will likely offend, you could always precede it with something that tells them you are trying to be nice – even if you really aren’t.
Mine is most definitely “Respectfully…” Usually followed up with something very direct that may or may not be perceived as respectful. ???? https://t.co/3aja6Zlb2h
— Nneka M. Okona (@afrosypaella) August 22, 2017
It’s not your job – and they know it.
Every now and again we’re all asked to do something that’s not in our job description.
Annnnd “this is outside my scope of work.”
I’m not doing your job. My job. And everybody’s job. Nope. Lol
— Millionaire la flare (@DeeRene_) August 22, 2017
What’s your go-to line for passive-aggressive emails?