Using email is both a science and an art, but mostly, it's an efficient way to annoy both your colleagues and loved ones.
As a person who emails every day for both business and pleasure, I've become relatively well-versed in annoying e-speak. So as my personal gift to the people of the World Wide Web, here is my definitive guide to writing an insufferable email in seven steps.
1. Start off on the wrong foot with a cliché opening.
Get your recipient's attention by immediately irking them with a uninspired phrase like "I hope you're doing well," "I hope this email finds you well," or "I hope all is well with you these days." This makes it clear that you want to seem like you give a shit about them, but also that you definitely don't.
2. Include the term "e-meet" if you haven't met the recipient in person.
This phrase is popular with all modern humans and makes you seem tech-savvy, even though all you did was add an "e" in front of the word "meet". It works because you're not quite meeting the recipient, but you're also not not quite meeting them. When you whip out the "e-meet," you're acknowledging the tricky new status of your email-based relationship, which lies somewhere between the physical world and total anonymity.
3. Apologize for the delay.
Of course, this step has to start with delaying your response. While it's standard to respond to an email within one business day, waiting at least three makes you seem way more important. But be sure to emphasize that you're so sorry for being too important to respond in a more timely manner.
4. Include abbreviations that the recipient will have to google.
ICYMI IMO TLDR TBH. You may even be able to employ it IRL. This makes it look like you don't have a lot of time on your hands, cause you're busy with important things like writing insufferable emails. Plus, this tactic offers concrete and irrefutable proof of how young, hip, and in-tune-with-the-trends you are. And then there's the ultimate bonus of wasting even more of your recipient's time.
5. Use unnecessary words, emojis and exclamation points.
Add words like "like," "yeah," or "ah!" These extra letters might give you a bit of personality, but usually it's not the kind of personality you want to convey in an email to a new person. It gives off a valley-girl-who-doesn't-understand-common-email -practices kind of vibe. And while you're at it, end every paragraph/sentence with an exclamation point, smiley face, or winking emoji.
6. Throw in an over-thought-out joke.
You want to stand out from the crowd, despite the fact that you already missed the chance to do that with your overused opening. You want the person on the other end of the internet to think, "wow, this chick is so clever and funny," so you (I) add in something that you (I) think is clever and funny. But what if the email-getter doesn't get the joke? You (I) tone it down. Then you (I) reword it. Then you (I) read it out loud to your husband, parents, and anyone else who is in the room or on Gchat. You finally just add a line admitting to the emailee that it took you two hours to write that one line, and hope that that person finds your social anxiety cute and charming.
7. Use a single letter to sign your name.
For instance, I sign off with the letter M instead of writing out my full name (which is "Molly," for anyone who skipped over my byline). This saves me four keystrokes and .5 seconds, and gives the illusion that my time is valuable. Of course, my time is not valuable — today I spent 30 minutes scrolling through Instagram from the office bathroom.
So what are you waiting for? Get back to composing those emails.
This article by Molly Cornfield originally appeared on The Cooper Review.