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Rude work emails

(57 Posts)
OhDear2200 Sun 31-Mar-19 17:33:28

How do you deal with rude emails? When I mean rude I mean abrupt with no please and thank yous.

I’ve just checked my work email in preparation for the week ahead. And received an email from someone outside of my organisation who had asked me to do something for a mutual client (in public sector). I had initially said yes but that due to my work load it was a low priority and would not be done for some time. Then we had a procedural change, which I notified him of and said I would get back to him as I could no longer do what I had originally agreed.

I’ve not yet got back to him (it’s been one week) and he’s sent me a email with no ‘dear OhDear’ sorry to chase but I was wondering etc.

It’s - Where is what you promised me. You do know I’m on a tight deadline.

No ‘yours sincerely’ or a thank you.

This is from a professional person, a clicallu trained, profession.

AIBR to think as a fellow professional I should get some politeness. Yes there has been a slight delay (actually there hasn’t as I said I couldn’t do it before Easter) so I can understand a bit of his frustration but even then you can be polite. Surely???

LipstickHandbagCoffee Sun 31-Mar-19 18:07:26

Unfortunately emails can and do come across abruptly if not well composed
Some people do send very perfunctory emails were they list requests with no social niceties
Not sure what can be done about it,other than gently addressing how they compose emails. But that only works if you know them well enough to have that convo
I know someone who sends blunt emails,they always can be disconcerting

julensaor Sun 31-Mar-19 18:24:02

It could be he is worried that he won't get what he asked for at all and feels he has to be pushy, even though to get what you want it is always better to be nice, some people don't believe in this method smiletry and be a bit more specific as to when he will be updated and update him even if there is nothing new to tell, just so he doesn't feel forgotten about and you will probably get nicer responses but I wouldn't think it is personal.

PCohle Sun 31-Mar-19 18:29:02

To be honest I wouldn't consider that rude - a bit curt/brusque perhaps, but not actively rude.

I think taking issue with it is going to make you look a bit overly sensitive and petty.

In my industry ignoring an email for a week just wouldn't be acceptable, so to be honest I have some sympathy for his impatience.

Justanotherlurker Sun 31-Mar-19 18:33:08

You just deal with them and don't give it headspace, I reply as I would do if it was a polite email and brush it off as them doing the shit rolls down hill scenario as they are getting leaned on by their superiors, suppliers etc.

If you start giving email etiquette headspace then its a downward spiral that does you no favors, just reply in your normal tone highlighting your initial response

LipstickHandbagCoffee Sun 31-Mar-19 18:33:45

A week is a long time to not reply,so that may influence the email tone

TheCrowFromBelow Sun 31-Mar-19 18:35:28

It’s rude.
Some people are, and yes it’s really annoying.
I would send a polite reply tomorrow reminding him that as per your email of xxxx, he’ll have it by xxxx and then get on with everything else. Next time he asks, just say you can’t do it.

DownStreet Sun 31-Mar-19 18:36:13

If you’ve already informed him of the fact that you can’t do it by email, I’d just forward that to him again so he can see he’s the one who’s missed the information. It might not prompt an apology but it’s clear in the chain that you informed him previously.

In my experience email is no different to any other sort of communication - some people it are polite and some are rude fuckers. Pp is probably right - I doubt it’s personal, he’s probably rude to everyone.

TheSheepofWallSt Sun 31-Mar-19 18:39:41

I find the idea of a week lag time being long enough to excuse an overtly brusque email hilarious.

At this time of year (I work for a charity in the creative sector and we deliver a major project once a year ) I can receive literally a hundred emails, all on different topics, all needing a response- and I have other things to do- I don’t just sit at a desk sending and receiving emails.

I do what I can but not everyone will get a response in 5 working days. It’s impossible. I work 20-30 extra hours a week and much of that is to keep up with the constant communication stream.

And an email like that would find its way to the bottom of the pile fairly quickly in my inbox.

Justanotherlurker Sun 31-Mar-19 18:40:12

A week is a long time to not reply,so that may influence the email tone

This is also a factor

strathmore Sun 31-Mar-19 18:45:27

Different organisation have different email etiquette

We have no greeting or sign off
Subject in topic with clear indication of if reply expected or not etc

Much better that all this how are you carp.

whiskeysourpuss Sun 31-Mar-19 19:02:08

I send what are likely perceived as abrupt/curt emails. My boss has asked me specifically to compose emails for him if he wants the tone to be quite curt blush

Yet my feedback from clients is always along the lines of "whiskey is professional but lovely & gets the job done in the timeframe required whilst ensuring minimum upset & disruption for the service user" so I'm obviously not upsetting people with my email style.

As a PP I don't have time to spend worrying about emails, they contain the information/requests they need to & get sent. If I hadn't replied to an email within a week though I'd expect a follow up checking on progress.

MT2017 Sun 31-Mar-19 19:35:19

To those saying they don't put greetings/sign offs, I think the difference is with them it sounds like a request not an order.

It can still be an order, it doesn't have to sound like one.

QueenOfMyBee Sun 31-Mar-19 19:37:18

There are some incredibly rude emailers at my work. I actually think some people just don't understand how to phrase a professional but friendly message.
My solution is to email them back and match their tone. You never know, one day they might twig.

ForalltheSaints Sun 31-Mar-19 19:38:04

If it is that desperate, why not phone, or if in the same building, come and talk to you? Much better, assuming that the person concerned is capable of such conversation (I wonder if some people have lost that ability).

bliminy Sun 31-Mar-19 19:41:56

I work with a lot of very technically focused people and they send very short one-line emails that get the job done. No faffing about with Dear xxx or Kind regards. I don't take it personally because that's just how they communicate. They do the job I ask them.

I'd be much more unhappy if one of them ignored my email for a week - that I would consider unprofessional.

WhatchaMaCalllit Sun 31-Mar-19 19:56:47

I would respond with
Hi Annoyed,
Apologies for not getting back in touch with you before now. As I mentioned in my email of X date, there has been a procedural change and that combined with my workload I have been unable to give your work a higher priority.
If you are waiting on this work, I can recommend my colleague Jane Smith, who can look after getting it completed for you by the end of the week. Alternatively, I will do the work but I will be unable to give you a date when I will have it completed.
I look forward to hearing what you decide.


Only put forward the name of a colleague if you have been given the green light by a manager to delegate the work to a colleague.

Best of luck with it.

OhDear2200 Sun 31-Mar-19 20:34:29

Just to confirm that I had replied to his previous email with a phone call. He knew that as the systems had chanced that there was going to be a wait.

I wouldn’t do anything as such but I guess was having a rant as I just find it odd that people seem to think it’s acceptable to be so rude. I take the point that for some it doesn’t come across as rude.

Also I should point out that this is no way my ‘job’ to do what he’s asking of me. It’s a favour to help him do something that he’s getting paid way more than me to do and saves him having to do it.

OhDear2200 Sun 31-Mar-19 20:47:06

I also laugh at the idea that a week is seen as a long time! In my sector that is quick due to workloads. We have to prioritise what we respond to. This was no way my priority, his maybe, but not mine. And my priorities have serious implications on people’s lives.

OKBobble Sun 31-Mar-19 20:47:31

I don't understand - you say there is going to be a wait - to me that means you are going to do it still. He is just chasing up.

Seriously noone puts yours sincerely at the end of an email!

OhDear2200 Sun 31-Mar-19 20:49:01

I agree there is the time and place for a quick email.

For example within my team I would never bother with niceties, just get to the point.

BUT if I was asking an outside organisation to do something as a favour I bloody well would be polite.

SomethingIdNeverThoughtIdSay Sun 31-Mar-19 20:51:18

This is a work culture thing I believe.

Some sectors are more prone to the direct email which is seen as more efficient and less time wasting (IT is one that springs to mind but there are others - like commercial lawyers).

Other sectors are more fluffy friendly.

I really wouldn't take offense at it at all. Honestly it's just a different communication style.

Both equally irritate people in the other camp. Direct emailers see the fluffy emailers as time wasting, light weights. The more polite emailers see the direct emailers as rude.

JE87 Sun 31-Mar-19 20:51:53

I'd send an OTT nice one back to make a point!

SomethingIdNeverThoughtIdSay Sun 31-Mar-19 20:55:54


I'd send an OTT nice one back to make a point!

It won't make the point though. All it will do is make some who has a direct communication style think that they are dealing with an unprofessional idiot.

The best thing to do is always to mirror the communication style you receive and you won't go far wrong.

Most people (OP included) don't really understand how divergent communication styles are. One person's rude is another person's direct and efficient. Another person's polite is someone else's over-the-top unnecessary verbiage.

Sindragosan Sun 31-Mar-19 21:00:45

He's a chancer and about to throw you under the bus. I'd reply quite clearly so you have it in writing 'as previously discussed, I am unable to complete x task before y date'

I think your workload and his deadlines are quite different and you're going to be getting the blame for him being late, and he has emails saying you promised him you'd do what he wanted 'where is what you promised me'.

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