9 Passive Aggressive Email Faux Pas That are Painfully Minnesotan
Thanks in advance for reading this.
See what I did there? I (sub)consciously decided for you that you are going to read this article. Because if you don't, you'll lead to my disappointment, and you wouldn't want that weighing on your conscience, now would you?
If Minnesotans are known for two things, it's being nice and their passive-aggression. We're kings and queens of passive-aggression up here in the Norwegian North! Not just in the way we verbally (or non-verbally) communicate, but also in our electronic communication.
Remember that email you sent your colleague last week "checking in" on that project? Yeah, let's be honest -- "checking in" was the nice way of saying "I don't trust you" or "I doubt you've followed through with what I asked, so I'm going to keep harassing you until I get the results I want."
Take a list at the following list of passive-aggressive phrases we Minnesotans love to use in our emails to each other:
1. "Thanks in advance..."
Translation: "I'm already thanking you for doing me this favor, even though you haven't yet agreed to it. Therefore, you must do it."
2. "I'd be most grateful..."
Translation: "If you do what I'm asking of you -- and preferably sooner rather than later -- I would be most grateful. If you don't, well, you won't want to be on my bad side. So you'd better do it."
3. "Looking forward to..."
Translation: "I am so looking forward to [fill in the blank], and if it doesn't happen you will so disappoint me!"
4. "Just wondering..."
Translation: "This is probably an unreasonable request, but I'm going to ask anyway..."
5. "I don't mean to be a pest..."
Translation: "But I kinda mean to be a pest..."
This one can be perfectly innocent, of course, if you genuinely mean to inform someone of something. Tone is vital though, and this one can all too easily be used passive-aggressively.
Translation: "I'm about to forward you some bad news from someone else. I know you aren't going to like it, but don't shoot me; I'm just the messenger."
7. "In case you missed it..."
Translation: "I'm pretty confident you saw this, you just chose to ignore it. So I'm sending it again..."
8. "Sorry for being unclear..."
This one can also be used sincerely. It can also not be used sincerely, as follows.
Translation: "No, you didn't read what I said the last time. PAY ATTENTION this time!"
9. "All the best" or "Take care"
Translation: "Goodbye" or "This conversation is now done."
Now, I can't take full credit for this list. It comes from an article titled "18 Passive-Aggressive Email Phrases: Here's What They Really Mean" from Inc.com that you can read here.
What's your favorite form of Minnesota-nice passive-aggression?