The story behind the story
I recently asked chat GPT to rate the ‘likability’ of a work email I’d received.
Did my feelings of irritation, and ‘ick’, stem from the content of the email or perhaps a bias towards the sender? Was the tone actually bossy and passive-aggressive or was I reading/hearing it in this manner?
Chat GPT assured me that the email was straightforward, polite, clear, and appropriate for a professional workplace.
It appears that my feelings regarding the message was more of a ‘me’ thing than an issue of the sender.
When I send sensitive emails I always read them out-loud beforehand, in the most disrespectful tone possible, to identify what an adversarial reader may ‘hear’ on the other end of the message.
Sometimes this process encourages me to lighten the language and tone so that the receiver's feelings don’t get in the way of the content.
Perhaps the relationship that has developed behind the scenes is inevitable to the tone of the message.
Either way, it may be productive to read emails assuming a tone of kindness, generosity and respect, and give the benefit of doubt.
Now that’s a peak ethos.