11 passive aggressive email phrases that sound polite but mean someone is mad at you

You think that email is friendly, but it’s actually a thinly veiled dig or threat. Have you used or read this passive aggressive email phrases?

You just got an email or message from a client of colleague that reads, “I’m just circling back on my previous email. Wondering if you received it, as I haven’t heard back from you…”

And you’re thinking, “Right. I should check that.”

Yes, you should. Because that person is being polite, but they’re also possibly very mad at you. There’s no tone in text, so it can be difficult to read between the lines, but if someone was expecting a timely response, you can probably assume that they don’t relish having to nudge or remind you about whatever it is they’re writing about. Having to re send a file or message? Nobody has time for that.

The corporate world, especially, can be super passive aggressive – especially in Canada, where passive aggression is our specialty and has pretty much become an art form.

Here are 11 passive aggressive email phrases that really mean someone might be mad at you.

1. What they wrote: “I don’t know if you received my email, as I haven’t heard back from you…”

What it means: “Why haven’t you responded? You are either very lazy or very rude.”

2. What they wrote: “As per my last email…”

What it means: “Why are we still discussing this? Go read my last email, like you should have done in the first place.”

3. What they wrote: “Reattaching for your convenience.”

What it means: “You lost it, didn’t you? Or did you delete it? Are you even taking any of this seriously? Here. I will send you the file again, a task for which I do not have the time or the inclination.”

4. What they wrote: “Let me know if you need me to forward it again.”

What it means: “Did you even open it? I am going to re send it to you to prove that I sent it in the first place.”

5. What they wrote: “CC’ing (manager’s name)”

What it means: “I’m making sure there is a trail of evidence of your uselessness because I’m not taking the fall for this.”

6. What they wrote: “As I previously stated…”

What it means: “I already told you this once and you clearly aren’t paying attention. Pay attention this time, or so help me…”

7. What they wrote: “As discussed…”

What it means: “I’m sending you the details of the conversation we had, so that I have written proof of what we talked about. Don’t bother trying to turn around later and say we never talked about this, or that it’s the first you’ve heard of it.”

8. What they wrote: “Friendly reminder.”

What it means: “DO. THE. THING.”

9. What they wrote: “Perhaps I misunderstood…”

What it means: “I know I didn’t misunderstand. Either you said the wrong thing, forgot what you said, or changed your mind. Either way. It’s not me, it’s you.”

10. What they wrote: “I did some research and…”

What they mean: “I’m right. You’re wrong. Here’s the evidence.”

11. What they wrote: “Is there someone else I can ask about this?”

What they mean: “You are incompetent. Who is competent? Can I talk to the competent person?”

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