The style and manner of our conversations fluctuate depending on social or professional environments.
But in a stressful work environment, many of us are inclined to drop the f-bomb but choose not to for the sake of professionalism.
Is there a way to professionally tell someone to F off without actually using those exact words?
This is something that was explored on an Ask Reddit thread when user daniabear asked:
"How can someone say 'f'k you' in a professional situation?"
Getting a supervisor involved was mentioned as an intimidation tactic.
Using A Superior
"I spoke with your supervisor about the matter and they agree with me."
"*just CCing the supervisor*"
"I've cc'd your boss in this email in hopes for further clarification on your company's outstanding bill."
"My favorite is when a co-worker sends me an email and CCs all pertinent supervisors under the guise of 'I've told you repeatedly about X not working and months later it's still not working."'
"And then I go dig up my original, professional reply that explained how they were doing it wrong and that X is in fact working just fine, please just follow procedure. I forward that original reply with no explanation to the whole thread as a response to the very unprofessional tantrum they're currently throwing."
"Then I sit back, sip my coffee and wait. I typically turn on my read receipt for these types of communications so I can sense the disturbance in the force in real time."
Read The Email
"When someone asks in an email for something you already sent them, you just forward the original email."
"It pisses me off that I have to keep track of what's been said and when, just to be able to find it and point to it - while it's easy for the a**hole who's not paying attention to just ask again, and again."
If You Remember Correctly
"As per my last email."
"Look at them over the top of your glasses, pause, say "Noted," and go on with what you were saying before."
"I've taken your idea/feedback/POV under advisement. Thank you for your contribution."
Basically, You're Wrong
"I humbly disagree with your opinion."
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Finding The Tone
"There's nuance in context. If I'm in a meeting (in person or remote) and I say 'let's talk about that offline'. That might be neutral as something is another topic or concern or the flow or time constraints are such that, that's more ideal. It can also mean other things. I think most people know the difference."
"Lady came to my work flipping out trying to do a return. Problem was her boss purchased it and didn't bring the credit card or anything. The boss was a congresswoman I believe. After a long back and forth she said she'd have her boss come in. I said 'sure, what is her name?' she started 'state representative...' I interrupted her and said 'ma'am, I don't need her job title, just her name is fine.' she shut up as soon as she found that throwing that out wasn't going to get her anywhere."
There was room for some creativity.
I Hear You
"With all DUE respect."
"'With all due respect.... f'k you' and then push send"
Kill Them With Kindness
"I hope your day is as lovely as you are."
A Slight Misinterpretation
Say to the person 'You should go f'k off eh!'"
"They will to the predicable thing, act shocked/offended and say something like 'Excuse Me?!' or 'Pardon me?!?!' or "WHAAAT?!!!"
"Then you 'repeat' yourself 'I said, You should go for coffee."
The Final Destination
"Perhaps the road less traveled is where you belong."
"Your objections have been duly noted and summarily overruled."
"Your are extremely intolerable and aganizingly annoying."
The responses varied depending on the work situation.
I work in entertainment. Many people in the industry are very passionate and they are not limited to those we see on stage and screen.
A production team is comprised of individuals who have integrity and have no problem mincing words when things go awry.
In my experience, when the occasional f-bomb is dropped in a non-combative situation, no one bats an eye.
What immediately follows is a collective, unspoken understanding that something didn't go over well, and everyone goes about their business.
We leave the drama for the stage.