“Just a Friendly Reminder…” Or Is It?

This past week I received an email from a longtime friend and colleague asking me if I shared her view that – more often than not— “friendly reminders” were anything but.

You bet I share that view.

Paranoid? Perhaps.

Certainly, I discount friendly “robo reminders” from this statement—such as the ones my library sends me about books that are about to come due.

But if you cast your mind back to the last ‘friendly reminder’ you received, is it possible the author wasn’t feeling quite so friendly? Is it possible they were irritated/grumpy/fractious but weren’t comfortable saying so?

Is over-compensation in play?


And whether I’m correct or not, do you really want to risk activating the potential irritation/grumpiness/fractiousness of the recipient by stating how gosh darn friendly you are?

Should you share my point of view (or should I have planted a seed of doubt…) what do I recommend you say instead? Just, “A Reminder”.

Why? Because if it is, in fact, friendly the person receiving it will certainly be able to deduce that from the way it’s been written.

And if it’s not, why pretend? It’s sets your communication up for mistrust from the get-go.

For more on those phrases that land—for me— as passive aggressive, see my thoughts on “I need to share my truth” in “When Sharing Isn’t Caring.”