Passive-aggressive email writer accidentally hits 'imply-all'
BRANDON, MB—It's likely going to be a long day at the office for Brenda Thomas, a 28-year-old systems analyst who only meant to type out some of the caustic insinuations that were contained in an email she wrote to co-worker Sam Rentson early yesterday afternoon.
Thomas, who is quite fond of including 1 or 2 portions in every email (3 or 4 in a longer missive) that causes the recipient to doubt themselves just a little and also feel like Brenda is angry for a reason that they have a few guesses at but aren't quite sure of, and would really appreciate her just telling them so they could hash it out and solve the situation, made an amateur mistake quite uncharacteristic of someone of her stealthy nature.
Rather than pressing the "imply" button when responding to Rentson's email asking about whether he should have his assignment on her desk by the end of the day, Thomas struck "imply-all," thereby attaching several innuendos and veiled remarks that she had planned on saving for future emails.
I would never say something like that. It makes it entirely too clear what I'm actually saying
"Just between you and me, I was horrified," said Thomas. "I looked over the email after I sent it, to make sure I'd gotten my point across, if you know what I mean, and there were all these things I had not intended to not-quite-say."
"Like there was this section where I said, 'You can definitely get those things to me, if you feel that getting done what you said you would get done today is important to you.' I definitely meant to write that. Subtle, right? Lets him know to never quite feel comfortable or satisfied. But then after that it said, 'Also feel free to stop by my desk for any questions if you want to take a break from humming the theme song from Mission: Impossible under your breath.'"
Thomas paused to catch her breath, then exclaimed abruptly, "I would never say something like that. It makes it entirely too clear what I'm actually saying, and annoyed by, and I certainly don't want anyone to know that I can hear whatever movie theme they happen to be humming while I have my headphones on, pretending that I can't hear any of them and what they're saying! Ugggh I have to be so much more careful when I hit 'imply' and before I hit 'send I guess'."
Asked how he felt upon the receipt of the email, Rentson said he was torn. "I didn't know if I should write back and let her know what she had accidentally done. Because she definitely would never do that, so I wrote back and said, 'Sounds good, hope your day hits 'all the right buttons!' Because that would sort of get the message across. It's not exactly how she would do it, but I'm no expert."
"It wasn't bad. Like for a beginner I mean, obviously, but yeah," replied Thomas.
Asked which portion of the implied-all email was most upsetting, she said it was probably when she meant to say, 'Hope you enjoy your lunch! Hope you're hungry already!' wherein she intended to imply that her co-worker was taking a very early lunch and she was fully aware of the fact, but accidentally included the phrase 'Pick me up something if your hands aren't full!' which added an implication that he would order a very large amount of food for himself, which is an area she would never touch.
"Not my style," said Thomas.
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