We’ve all had at least one coworker who was difficult, whether it was a personality clash or a case of chronic missed deadlines. The next time you find yourself frustrated by that person in the office, may we suggest some good old fashioned passive aggression?
It’s Evil Week at Lifehacker, which means we’re looking into less-than-seemly methods for getting things done. We like to think we’re shedding light on these tactics as a way to help you do the opposite, but if you are, in fact, evil, you might find this week unironically helpful. That’s up to you.
Granted, some of you may not consider these phrases passive aggressive, and you might be right. You can also look at these as ways to set boundaries with coworkers or as ways to tone down what you really want to say (profanity tends not to be seen as professional…). In any case, try deploying one of these go-to phrases to make you feel at least a little better, and hey, maybe even get your colleague to actually do their job correctly:
- “As we previously agreed…”: When your coworker forgets details or next steps that you had reached consensus on.
- “Following up to see if we’re still on track to deliver by…”: If you’re getting close to a deadline and haven’t heard an update from your coworker.
- “Sending this again in case my last email got buried in your inbox. I need a response by…”: A stronger nudge to get a reply from someone who hasn’t gotten back to you.
- “Do you have an agenda for this meeting?”: When someone invites you to a meeting you’re not confident needs to happen.
- “Going forward, I’d prefer you to…”: Redirection of a colleague’s behaviour to something that works better or follows the established process.
- “In the future, you can find this information here:…”: When a coworker asks you a question they could easily answer themselves with a quick search through internal documents or materials.
Have a favourite passive aggressive phrase you use with coworkers? Share it in the discussion below.