How Many of These Passive-Aggressive Phrases Do You Use in Your Emails?

Some of the most chilling words you can read at work are “per my last email.” If you’ve been stabbed by this dagger of an opener by your boss, then you’re among the 42% of people who’ve received an email with such a pointed tone from a superior, according to Preply.

infographic with top passive-aggressive phrases

(Credit: Preply)

The tutoring company surveyed 1,000 Americans about passive-aggressive communications in the workplace and found that the phrase is the top of the list when it comes to the most-dreaded ones in an email.

Now, take note if you really want to get under the skin of a colleague: It’s followed by “correct me if I’m wrong,” “as previously mentioned,” “just a gentle reminder,” “going forward,” “thought I’d bring this to your attention,” “I might be mistaken but,” “thanks in advance,” “just to clarify,” and “please advise.” All manage to convey that the receiver is an idiot who cannot stay on task and needs constant reminders and direction. 

@farbsy If only we could actually send emails like this…#customerservice #workfromhome #email #relatable #funny #work ♬ original sound - Farbsy

Most emails containing these phrases are sent by superiors (42%). A good deal (36%) are sent by peers to one another. And the rest are the work of external staff (12%), support staff (5%), subordinates (4%), and interns and trainees (1%).

Gen X and millennials are the most likely to send passive-aggressive emails, probably because they’re at the top of the reporting chain in most workplaces. But those who receive them are likely to do the same, either as a way to reciprocate with the same energy (31%), express workplace stress (22%), avoid direct confrontation (18%), lash out since they feel unappreciated (15%), assert their own power (10%), or because they don’t know another way to communicate (4%). 

Recommended by Our Editors

One of the biggest escalations in email wars is cc’ing someone’s boss. You’re allowed to go nuclear if that happens to you. 

@lisalovesrandom Do not play this game with me because you will lose. 😩 #corporatetiktok #corporatelife #BillboardNXT #wfh #passiveaggressive #corporate ♬ I get krazy - The real Huey Freeman✨

What’s New Now to get our top stories delivered to your inbox every morning.”,”first_published_at”:”2021-09-30T21:30:40.000000Z”,”published_at”:”2022-08-31T18:35:24.000000Z”,”last_published_at”:”2022-08-31T18:35:20.000000Z”,”created_at”:null,”updated_at”:”2022-08-31T18:35:24.000000Z”})” x-show=”showEmailSignUp()” class=”rounded bg-gray-lightest text-center md:px-32 md:py-8 p-4 mt-8 container-xs” readability=”30.769230769231″>

Get Our Best Stories!

Sign up for What’s New Now to get our top stories delivered to your inbox every morning.

This newsletter may contain advertising, deals, or affiliate links. Subscribing to a newsletter indicates your consent to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. You may unsubscribe from the newsletters at any time.

Facebook Comments Box

Hits: 2