If there's one thing you learn about communication in the workplace it's that a lot of stuff gets said without actually being said.
Like, 'Are you okay? You sound terrible, you poor thing.' - Please go home, I don't want to catch your bugs.'
'It's not quite on brand.' - You've completely stuffed this up.
'Just a few suggestions...' - I'm not loving what you've done.
Similarly, the work email is a language unto its own, with the passive-aggressive approach often favoured over the direct.
Marketing company GetResponse surveyed more than 1000 people across different ages, industries and locations to find out which phrases commonly used in work emails are considered the most passive aggressive, and came up with these six.
Chances are you've been mildly to extremely irritated by one or all of these, or been the source of irritation, yourself:
Top of the list came this classic - widely used to remind the recipient that this is not the first time you've had to chase them up, or even the second or third.
If you're the recipient, know that avoiding them is not going to make the problem go away and if you're the sender, we get it: If you could get this done without their input, trust us, you would.
It might be time to wander over to their desk - or pick up the phone if you're not in the same building.
Oops, we use this all the time!
It's that delicate balance of not wanting to seem like you're nagging... but nagging. BUT you need that last vital piece of information.
Uh oh. There's a problem. The sender knows there's no misunderstanding here and what they're really saying is it's time for you to own up to your error.
Actually, their records could be wrong. But the onus is on you to prove it in a polite and gracious way.
They're getting impatient, can you throw them a bone?
This phrase came in as the least passive-aggressive of the six, but we say it's still up there - inferring that everything you've done up until this point was not satisfactory. And what is it about that word 'prefer'?
Here's the thing though. As much as we dislike receiving 'friendly reminders' and 'as per my last email' messages, is there an alternative to 'do it now, I'm getting annoyed with you'?
Maybe passive aggressive is the only way forward, as per our last point.
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