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Per my last email…

Per my last email is a meme and the cover image was recently circulating on social media. The consensus seemed to be in agreement with the message:

You better re-read the whole thing again so you won’t ask me stupid questions.

I understand that this is a meme. It’s meant to be taken tongue in cheek with a sense of humour. In its defence, the sender might have been thinking, I spent a long time contemplating the issue, and I’ve documented my thoughts in an email. I don’t really feel like repeating myself, so please show some respect and read what I’ve written. I get it, but I’ve got a different reading.

In any case, this comment is presumptuous. It presumes that I care about your email or problem and that it is relevant to me at the start. It also presumes that I share your sense of priority and overall importance. It also assumes that I’ll read this email and have any inkling of knowledge about the prior one. But let’s look at the counter position to the positive spin.

Image: Per my last email meme

Per my last email“, this is a classic passive-aggressive statement. This statement says:

  1. I don’t trust you. Without goading, I don’t trust that you’ll follow through.
  2. I don’t trust that you’ve read the referenced email. This is why I call it out. And I’m being nice when I say re-read because I’m not even convinced you’ve read it in the first place.
  3. I am a narcissist. Full stop.
  4. So, I am more important than anyone else. Surely no one more important than me exists, so just focus on my request.
  5. Whatever I sent is more important than anything else. Not only am I the most important person in your universe—and let’s be honest, by your universe, I mean any possible universe—, this is the most important thing by far—unless I’ve ‘asked’ you to do other things, in which case they are all equally important—only this a bit more so.
  6. You may not have agreed, but you are going to fulfil my request. This might have blindsided you, but I know you have the bandwidth to drop everything and focus on me.
  7. By the way, it’s not a request. I know it may appear like I’m asking, but I am actually demanding.
  8. I am going to dictate how you manage your time. This needs to rise to the top of whatever lists you are managing. It’s important to me, so it has to be important to you.
  9. Just read the damn email. Why aren’t you already reading the referenced email?
  10. Don’t make me ask again. You won’t like the consequences. Don’t make me go over your head, or this might go down on your permanent record.

Oh, and your questions are stupid.

That was ten things plus one. I’m sure I could dredge for more, but people seem to be fond of top ten lists.

I’m employing a bit of hyperbole here, and I know the world is divided on this one. As I said, I am aware that some people are honestly trying to convey, “Hey, I provided you a lot of details, so let me know if you have what you need. No pressure.” Hopefully, the rest of the email reveals some empathy to serve as a signal that it’s not the passive-aggressive version.

What are your thoughts? Have you ever included this phrase in an email?

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