Remember when you used to tap in your best mate’s number on the home phone, waiting in twisted anxiety as the dial tone rang and praying it was them who picked up instead of their Mum instructing you that, no, Sam can’t come to the phone right now because they’re grounded…? Remember when the Yellow Pages were legitimately useful, rather than a emergency draught blocker or handy makeshift tripod for your self timer pics? Gone are the golden days of the phone-call, replaced instead by the one thing we all love to hate: emails.
Before I started working full-time, I remember seeing countless articles and tweets and ‘lifestyle revolutions’, all centering around the madness of emails and how snowed under we are by this seemingly innocuous form of communication. Whenever someone would confess that they spent the whole day tackling their inbox, I’d be left wondering what on earth they were actually doing. How many emails can one person have? What are they even about? And does it really take that long to answer them all?
That all changed as soon as I went back to work full-time and I began to transition into blogging as a career. I quickly realised that people don’t pick up the phone anymore, because they spend all of their time emailing instead. This means that you receive an email for everything, from essay-length messages to single, simple questions, with a heck load of irrelevant press releases thrown in for good luck. Dealing with this over the space of time, you begin to pick up on the nuanced language of emails as well as the understood double-speak of saying one thing, but meaning another. It’s hilarious, it’s ridiculous, but we’re all on it, so here’s some of the weird shit we say in emails and what we really mean when we say them. Until next time lovelies x
What we say: So sorry for taking a while to get back to you, I’ve been snowed under!
What we mean: I read this email on my phone, forgot about it, remembered it, and then added it to my 'think about it later' list. I’ve now seen that it’s taken me over a week to get back to you, so I better say I’ve been super busy, even though we both know I’ve just been eating leftover Dominos on the sofa and wondering where it all went wrong.
What we say: Whilst this sounds great, I do require a budget for my work.
What we mean: I’m trying to remain enthusiastic whilst finding the politest way to say hell no, I am not working for free. I’ve also deleted and rewritten this four times over despite having had this same conversation more times than I’ve had hot dinners, because I can’t quite seem to achieve the right level of understated irritation mingled with freelance desperation for work.
What we say: My last invoice is now extremely overdue. Would you mind looking into this for me?
What we mean: I swear to fucking god Karen, if you don’t find out why I haven’t been paid and process this before the end of the day, I’m going to lose my shit. And please, before you send me some bullshit response about getting in touch with accounts and then proceeding to ignore me for two weeks, understand that I am willing to dedicate every waking minute of every waking day, peppering your inbox with passive aggressive emails. You have been warned.
What we say: I just tried to call, but it seems you were busy.
What we mean: I don’t want to speak to you so I waited until lunchtime to call you because I knew you’d be out for food. Even then, I only let the phone ring twice which is just enough to register as a missed call, but not enough to run the risk of you picking up just as you get back to your desk. Please don’t call me back.
What we say: Has it been that long?! Let’s grab a coffee soon. When are you free?
What we mean: I probably do want to see you, but everyday I wish I’d not made plans and decided to stay home instead, so I’m going to put my intent out there without a solid date, and then let the idea fizzle away in the background like a quiet bath bomb as we both avoid putting a date in the diary by taking ages to reply to one another.
What we say: I’m slightly concerned that…
What we mean: I’m pissed off at what you’ve said. You’re pissing me off. Instead of pissing me off, will you please piss off.
What we say: I’m very well thank you, how are you?
What we mean: This morning I ran out of toilet roll so I had to use baby wipes instead (very moist - much, much too moist). I’m a little bit hungover because I accidentally drank 3/4 of a bottle of wine last night, despite being alone and just watching Eastenders, and I’m also pretty sure that my next door neighbours have been rifling through my bin. All of that is a bit lengthy and I know that you don’t really care, so I hope you’ll extend the same courtesy to me and keep things “very well indeed”.
What we say: I'd love to come along, but unfortunately I won't be able to make it.
What we mean: Whilst I appreciate you reaching out to me (and that's genuine - no sarcasm), this is the third time this week I've been invited to a biscuit-designing and floristry event, and after spending the last two days wading though my tax return and forcing laughs for every middle-aged-white-man who thinks they're the first to ask to be in a picture, all I want to do is get accidentally drunk on some leftover wine and order a waffle to my door at 11:38pm. "I don't want to come along" probably sounds too harsh, so I'm going to politely bat it away in the most British way possible.
What we say: For the last time, I do not want your fucking SEO services.
What we mean: For the last time, I do not want your fucking SEO services.
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