This passive-aggressive behavior has seeped into the very fiber of professional conduct and is rarely acknowledged for what it is.
One of the main unspoken rules of the professional sphere is the universal understanding that one is expected to be at their utmost courteous behavior at all times. Irrespective of the field you work in—be it a corporate office or the service industry—and how you behave in your personal life, a certain amount of politeness and mutual respect is to be maintained while dealing with others. No matter how angry something or someone might make you, losing your temper is simply not an option. So, how does express their frustration? By coating one's emotions in thick professional jargon that convey the intended tone and message without putting them at risk of losing their job.
While this passive-aggressive behavior has seeped into the very fiber of professional conduct and is rarely acknowledged for what it is, writer Delia Paunescu shined a bright light upon this phenomenon in a now-viral tweet. "I've recently become obsessed with all the insane corporate ways we say normal things to each other. 'I'm a little confused" is by far my favorite - it's absolute rage masked as a professional pleasantry," she tweeted. Paunescu also asked her followers to share their "most insufferable work gibberish phrases" and the responses flooded in like a dam had been opened.
With over 92k likes and more than 14k retweets, the tweet exploded online as it seemed to have hit a sore spot with anyone who's ever worked in a professional setting. People shared what seems to be every example of corporate pleasantries in use, explaining how they are used to mask anger or frustration. Be warned, there might be a few here that you tend to use regularly without realizing their secret meanings—I myself learned that signing an email with "regards" might not be the best practice—so tread carefully.
"Thank you for your feedback! I'll be sure to keep it in mind!" <- your criticism is completely irrelevant if not flat out wrong and you know less on the topic than the back end of a donkey, but I have to pretend like I at least considered your opinion.— FerretXilla (@FerretXilla) January 29, 2020
"Stealing from somewhere but it’s true: 'I hope this helps!' = never ask me for anything ever again." — @wolfingtongang
My two are "I've attached another copy to this email for your convenience." (Translation: I know you're going to buy yourself time by claiming you lost the previous file.) and "Thanks in advance." (Translation: No, you don't have a choice.)— Telaryn (@telaryn) January 29, 2020
“I’m sorry; I think my email/statement probably wasn’t clear. Hopefully this helps” = you’re either stupid or deliberately ignored what I said/asked.— Naima Cochrane (@naima) January 29, 2020
"'Just want to make sure everyone is on the same page' = y'all are sh*t talking behind each other's backs constantly and I think you're both a**holes." — @baddestmamajama
"Just circling back on this" = "I just need you do answer. A goddamn 'yes' or 'no' will do, JUST ANSWER."— 🍁🦇 Alisha "Scary Name Here" Grauso 🎃👻 (@AlishaGrauso) January 29, 2020
'In the future, please correspond directly with (..) on this issue' = Do not, I repeat, do not message me about this bullsh*t again. No, seriously, do not CC, BCC or look this way again. I'm not playing. 😑— Topsy and Bopsy’s mama (@DPMCanty) January 29, 2020
"My personal favorite is the Sh*t Sandwich; Positive/'Sh*t'/Positive. 'Hey Karen, thank you for the great work you did on those spread sheets! The formatting was a little hard to read and we need to look over the last couple lines. Your outfit today though? On POINT.'" — @givdesigns
"While I understand your urgency..."— Bärí A. Williams (@BariAWilliams) January 29, 2020
"Procrastination on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."
“As previously discussed” = I didn’t put in writing last time because I thought you were an adult.— Mitch Dinkins (@MitchDinkins) January 29, 2020
"'I'm sorry, I was on mute, can you repeat the question?' = I wasn't listening at all." — @HannahMulford
"I'll let you two take it from here." = "I'm not a part of this and don't want to be."— 🍁🦇 Alisha "Scary Name Here" Grauso 🎃👻 (@AlishaGrauso) January 29, 2020
"the ways in which you have messed up are so vast, i need to make a list"— delia paunescu (@delia_p) January 29, 2020
"Two from this very morning: 'Thanks for looping me in' = You should've come to me 27 emails ago and I would've saved you 26 emails, dummy. 'In future, please [do X different thing]' = In future we won't be interacting because you're dead to me." — @lasrina
you guys, i am not perfect 😞 pic.twitter.com/dz8i2ZUjSI— delia paunescu (@delia_p) February 10, 2020
The vast majority of the time I sign off with "thanks" or "thanks again." Sometimes "in solidarity" or "love," occasionally "sincerely" or "best of luck." I mean those very directly.— Lydia X. Z. Brown (@autistichoya) February 7, 2020
But only if I hate you, and I mean truly loathe and despise you, I will sign, "warm regards." https://t.co/kCFeR07ku6
"'I recall this quite differently,' is how I call someone a bald, two-faced liar and snake." — @themelaniedione
"I don't recall if I told you" from your supervisor is code for "I think I forgot to have you do something that the bigger bosses need done and they just yelled at me about it. Please save me."— ain't got time for your shit (@Wrong_Pines) January 29, 2020
I have nightmares about hearing "Team, let's make sure we're all aligned."— Samantha Rosen (@samantharosen_) January 29, 2020
"'We're going to have to table this conversation for now.' We're literally never going to discuss this again." — @AhmadChildress
"Just to clarify" = I'm gonna ask this question again, simpler this time, so you can see exactly how stupid what you're asking me to do is.— Charlie Bressler (@ghost_Mk1) January 29, 2020
“If I could just play devil’s advocate for a minute” = your idea is the king of bad ideas I can’t believe you suggested it.— Sherry Pagoto (@DrSherryPagoto) January 29, 2020
"'Please copy everyone on our team' because you keep sending work requests to me alone on my day off." — @bernip