Avoid Coming Across Passive Aggressive With Successful Communication Tools 

In the workplace, it's hard to tell the tone of certain emails or messages that can come off as passive-aggressive to co-workers but there are some subtle ways to be more positive through communication.  

In the world of business, it might be easy or unintended to sound passive-aggressive with co-workers, but this is a common occurrence, especially when having a conversation through e-mail. There are a couple of tips that you can try to sound less passive-aggressive with co-workers through e-mails and face-to-face encounters.     

Here Are Some Examples of Phrases That Could Be Considered Passive-Aggressive:

  • - “Per my last email…” – this can come across as telling the receiver that you believe they didn’t read what you previously sent them and commanding their attention now.   
  • - “For future reference…” – this can be applied with a negative connotation where the receiver might feel you’re responding by correcting a blunt mistake that you already knew was wrong.   
  • - “Bumping this to the top of your inbox…” – sending this to an employee or manager can come across after you’ve asked them the same thing several times and can imply, they need to get this done immediately.   
  • - “Just to be sure we’re on the same page…” – can come across as the sender is covering their own work responsibilities and making everyone who refers to this email in the future that you were right all along.   
  • - “Going Forward…” – is a nicer way of saying “never do that again” that might not seem too passive-aggressive to both the sender and receiver. 

You might be questioning whether these phrases can seem passive-aggressive but imagine if you received a message with any of these examples to gain insight into something that seems unintentional but can be misconstrued by others. There are a couple of ways to practice successfully communicating in the home and workplace.     

If you’re feeling angry or frustrated, don’t respond to e-mails or messages that will prevent miscommunication, regret, and feeling like it was a waste of time. If you have a time-sensitive message, you can try to write a reply and then save it as a draft to revisit later when you’re not in the best state of mind. Once your emotions have subsided you can review the drafted message with a clear head to make any needed revisions before sending it.     

Another thing to consider is assuming good intent instead of calling someone out for messing up at a certain task assigned to them and you should think of the reasons this person made a mistake. This can easily be remedied by giving the person a quick brief telling the person what they need to do for you and reference open dates from the previous emails with the directives you’re addressing.     

To avoid coming off as passive-aggressive, you should empathy and encouragement that can be as simple as sending a message with “thank you” or “excellent job.” One of the biggest miscommunications can result in someone not responding to your messages or emails.     

These Are Some Ways To Avoid Being 'Ghosted':

  • - Respond immediately if you can answer in 60 seconds or less.  
  • - Urgent emails should be responded to immediately or let the sender know you’re working on it and make a calendar appointment if you need to.   
  • - Don’t stress over matters lacking urgency and block out a time to follow at your convenience.  
  • - It’s important to understand people are often balancing many things at once concerning home and work life. Try following up twice through email but if you don’t get a response, try using another method of communication such as a phone call or text message.