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Tired of passive aggressive or rude emails? Try these tips.

Every now and then, we receive emails that really grind our gears at work. Whether it’s the sullen one-word response, the snarky “reply all”, or – worst – the managerial “CC”, certain emails have a unique knack of getting under our skin and making our blood boil.

A simple word, “Noted.” (note the deliberately-placed full stop), can make us seethe at our computer screens. “Thanks in advance”, exerts power through teeth-grinding politeness. And “happy to discuss” almost certainly means there is no point discussing anything because a decision has been made. The Financial Times columnist Lucy Kellaway describes it well, calling email “perfect for communicating hostility passively, without getting caught.”

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