“Come See Me When You Get In” and Other Terrifying Email Subject Lines

(Photo Credit: iStock.com/Squaredpixels)

Oh, the anxiety-inducing email subject line. Just a few poorly-arranged words and your stomach drops, your mind races. Like toddlers with power tools, the people who send this type of email seem oblivious to the anxiety they produce.

Below are a few of common examples of email subject lines you should never use.

"Come see me when you get in."

If you read this before bed, you will wake up at 3 a.m. in a cold sweat. Don't read emails before bed.

meg ryan you've got mail

"Can we chat?"

It sounds innocuous, but let’s be honest: this one in particular has a direct line of access to the acid-producing centre of your gut. You’re going to have to defend something you did or didn’t do, but what on earth could it be?

"Please read: URGENT"


A) You are not going to like what you read and
B) There’s the sly implication that you don’t actually read all of your emails.

"Following Up"

I know you don’t read your emails all the way through. This is me telling you to read them.


The most ambiguous of all. Once you’ve ruled out an elder family member as a sender, you’re left wondering… is this a virus? An urgent appeal from someone too busy to type an actual subject line? Can you just keep it a mystery and never open it?


If it were a just a chill social coffee, why did they need to add so many question marks?(???)

Will Ferrell Giphy

"Can you give me a call…."

It’s the dratted ellipsis. So much that can’t be said, encapsulated by a row of dots. Clearly this is a conversation that should not be recorded by pixels. Someone was either caught doing something shady or they are dying of a terrible disease. Let’s hope it's not about you!

"Re: Test Results"

You. You are dying.

A blast from the past

Someone you dated exactly twice, five years ago, but you immediately regretted (because they creepily went back and 'liked' every single photo you’ve ever posted on Facebook dating back to 2007), has joined your team at work.

"[Regrettable Person You Once Dated] has endorsed you on LinkedIn!"

... for what?

"Aren't we supposed to be in a meeting right now?"

You are not even in the office yet.

"FWD: Major typo in headline."

An editor’s nightmare. The worst part is in wondering who saw this first before it was forwarded? 

"Come see me before you leave."

Just to be clear: you will get nothing else done today.

If you are guilty of sending these types of emails, take note! You are causing needless panic in your friends and colleagues. No one should be composing these subject lines unless they want to torture you. In which case…. well played.

manic email typing