Everyone Secretly Hates Your “Friendly Reminder” Email

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How many times have you gotten this type of message? “Just sending a friendly reminder to please . . .” And how many times have you sent it?

You might think that “friendly reminder” emails are a nice attempt to be professional while disguising your actual annoyance at whoever’s holding you up from finishing something. In other words, it’s just a non-confrontational way to ask for something that’s late.

Well guess what? That’s all a misguided fantasy and it’s making everybody you email with secretly resent you. You need to stop doing it–immediately. Here’s why, and what to write instead.

 

Inbox of Forgotten Emails

Check out this website:

The Inbox of Forgotten Emails will act as a window into the world of unsent messages, never reaching their intended audience, but still finding a reader.

How do I contribute?

You can submit an email from your drafts, send one to us by email, make up a sender, your own name, and other details. All emails submitted are with the intention of being publicly viewable.

Are my emails anonymous?

Yup! You can submit using a pseudonym, and your email address is never shared.

Wait, why are you doing this?

Instead of sending that angry email to your colleague or desperate email to your ex, just share it anonymously for the world to see that we are not alone in our desperate email writing moments.

Let’s All Stop Apologizing for the Delayed Response in Our Emails

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“Adulthood is emailing ‘sorry for the delayed response!’ back and forth until one of you dies,” writer Marissa Miller tweeted in February of last year… I was thinking about that tweet as I read an essay with an irresistible (to me) headline: “Do You Want to Be Known for Your Writing, or for Your Swift Email Responses?” Click. In the piece, which was published by the online literary magazine Catapult, author Melissa Febos writes about the many and varied ways our behavior around email is making our lives worse. The essay is wide-ranging, but what most captured my attention was this line: “Stop apologizing for taking a reasonable length of time to respond to an email.”

How many times did you write a version of that — “Sorry for the delayed response!” — just today? I’ve written it twice: One was in response to an email sent yesterday afternoon, the other in response to one sent two days ago. Febos wishes that I, and you, and all of us together, would kindly knock this off. “You are ruining it for the rest of us (and yourself) by reinforcing the increasingly accepted expectation of immediate response,” she writes. “A week seems like a perfectly reasonable length of time to take. Or longer.”

Meet the Woman Behind the New App That Takes ‘Sorry’ Out of Your Emails

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For  Tami Reiss, the inspiration for Just Not Sorry—the new app she created that aims to stop women from resorting to undermining phrases in emails—was all over her inbox.

When installed as a Chrome extension, the app underlines words like “just,” “sorry,” “I think,” and “does this make sense” in shame-y crimson red digital ink. Already, thousands have downloaded the plug-in.

“It came to me from a variety of places,” Reiss says. “One, I like to build things that actually help people. Two, years ago, I did this influencer training and part of what we learned there was about what they called structural influence…which is that you can create an environment that supports positive change. It’s like, ‘Don’t put a stumbling block in front of a blind person,’ but the opposite. How do you create an environment that helps people know what they should be doing? How do you make it easy for them to make good choices?” Reiss looked around at the data and the op-eds and the shampoo ads and that Amy Schumer skit and at a million more meditations on how and why women say they’re sorry. And she decided to do something about it.

See also this counterpoint, excerpted from the article “The Just Not Sorry app is keeping women trapped in a man’s world”:

I’m sorry to do this to you but this is yet another piece on “Just Not Sorry” because I just don’t quite get it, apologies. I know you’re busy, so I’ll keep it brief. Here is my problem: when did being polite become a bad thing?

 

 

All the Other Julie Becks and Me

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The string of letters that spell “Julie Beck” are used to represent many wildly different people. They symbolize me, but they also symbolize a nursing professor in Pennsylvania, an attorney in Michigan, and 192 others in my country alone. In the real world, those different meanings have no problem coexisting. Each Julie Beck exists in her own social context, and these contexts rarely, if ever, overlap. But on the internet, they’re all smooshed together. To Google, one Julie Beck is the same as another. (Unless you add some keywords.)

“I think we’re at a funny inflection point where certainly in terms of individual identification in a worldwide system, proper names don’t really make any sense,” says Judith Donath, the author of The Social Machine: Designs for Living Online, and an adviser at Harvard University.

Governments already identify people with unique numbers, so we don’t need to be able to be identified from our names alone. But names feel more significant now that so much of modern life is textual. Names are our stand-ins, our brands, they do the heavy lifting of symbolizing our selves in places where our bodies aren’t. But often, they aren’t ours alone. And while offline we’re usually distant enough from our name doppelgangers that it doesn’t matter, online we have to share space.

Sorry for the Delayed Response

wolff-sorryforthedelayedresponse

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So sorry that I’m just getting to this now. There were six other people on this e-mail thread and I was hoping that one of them would answer your question and I could just go on living my life.

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Yikes! The little Gmail preview text made your e-mail seem like a regular “Great, thanks!” e-mail I didn’t need to open, but now I see that you asked a question after the “Great, thanks!” I think we can agree that was a stupid thing for you to do, so I don’t even feel bad. I assume you found someone else to answer your question by now, but, if not, Laura (cc’d) should be able to help.

An analysis of 350,000 messages found the best way to end an email if you want a response

Thinking woman laptop why

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    “Thanks in advance” had a response rate of 65.7%

“Thanks” had a response rate of 63%

“Thank you” had a response rate of 57.9%

“Cheers” had a response rate of 54.4%

“Kind regards” had a response rate of 53.9%

“Regards” had a response rate of 53.5%

“Best regards” had a response rate of 52.9%

“Best” had a response rate of 51.2%