In the world of business emails, “per my previous email” is about as big a middle finger as you can receive.
Sure, it might be more sugar-coated than other choice language that springs to mind, but we all know what’s really going on here.
It’s passive-aggressiveness at its best, and it’s the kind of thing that can ramp up office tensions on a Monday morning like this.
To start, though, definition time. Take Urban Dictionary, for example:
Read that, loud and clear.
During a recent survey conducted by Adobe, that was found to be one of the nine most-hated passive-aggressive email phrases. If you’re keen to know how you should go about responding, whilst maintaining the moral high ground, Business Insider SA has you covered.
Let’s run through some of the more familiar options:
‘Not sure if you saw my last email’
With 25% of workers saying this is the most annoying email phrase, “Not sure if you saw my last email” was by far the most disliked phrase in Adobe’s survey.
[Dr Neil J. Lavender, author of “Toxic Coworkers: How to Deal with Dysfunctional People on the Job”] suggested beginning your note with, simply, “Thank you, I did receive your last email and…”
‘Per my last email’
[Signe Whitson, author of “The Angry Smile”] recommended leading your response with an equally brief, “Thanks for the reminder.”
Whitson says that “any time their covertly hostile email is responded to with overt hostility, the passive-aggressive person succeeds”.
Oh, so we’re just going to play nice, then. Not sure where the fun is in that, but on we go:
‘As previously stated’
Similarly to “Per my last email,” try simply responding to this type of email with, “Thanks for the reminder.” “Don’t jeopardise your own professionalism by replying with the first sarcastic thought that pops into your mind, such as, ‘Oh, did you state that previously? I must have missed it because you talk so much that I usually just tune you out,'” Whitson said.
“Don’t mirror the hostility by replying, ‘Not sure if you realise how busy I am,'” Whitson said.
Instead, go with, “Thanks for the recap of our last conversation.”
‘Re-attaching for convenience’
Whitson recommended this respectful response: “I appreciate that you re-sent the document.”
I take great pleasure in people acting snooty and then forgetting to attach the relevant document, but maybe that’s just me.
Finally, what should you do if the email sender’s hostility continues?
Everyone has their off days and may accidentally dash off a snarky email to their coworker.
But if the passive-aggressive remarks keep coming, you may want to sit them down to understand what’s happening on their end.
Lavender suggested sitting down with your coworker and directly asking: “Are you angry at me? Is there something you would like me to do differently?”
Most likely, Whitson said, the coworker will deny that they’re upset. But they’ll probably change their behaviour now that they’ve been confronted.
“Your respectful acknowledgement marks a change in the dynamic,” Whitson said. “The passive-aggressive person now knows that you are a straight shooter who will not shy away from trying to resolve a conflict.”
Nah, I reckon you continue to talk shit about them behind their back and screenshot their snarky emails for use at a later stage.
You do you, though.
HSBC Exposed In $80m Hong Kong Ponzi Scandal - Leaked documents belonging to the so-called...
[imagesource: JOOINN] The move to alert level 1 and the easing of restrictions have be...
I was going to write about my Monday, which saw roughly 12 humans coming at me between 8AM...
UPDATE: Donovan has responded with an apology video, which you can see at the bottom of th...
[imagesource: Augusto Zurita / AP] Shows like Narcos may have glorified aspects of the ...