5 Passive Aggressive Phrases We Use in Work Emails

Social distancing has left many of us doing even more work over email.

Have you ever wondered if one of your emails came off as petty or passive aggressive?

Sometimes it’s necessary, because being blunt could be worse.

But here are five things people say in work emails that can really come across as rude, even if you don’t mean it that way:

1.  “Per my last email . . .”  What it actually sounds like is:  “You didn’t really read what I wrote.  Pay attention this time.”

2.  “For future reference . . .”  To other people, it can sound more like:  “Let me correct your blatant mistake that you should have known was wrong.”

3.  “Bumping this to the top of your inbox . . .”  It’s like saying:  “This is the third time I’ve asked.  I need you to get it done.”

4.  “Just to make sure we’re on the same page . . .”  That one can come across more like:  “You’re wrong, and I’m just making sure everyone who refers to this email in the future knows I was right.”

5.  “Going forward . . .”  What it actually means is:  “Don’t ever do that again.”


And, here is some gratuitous advice to avoid sounding rude at work:

In general, don’t reply while you’re frustrated.

Don’t be afraid to show encouragement or empathy.



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