There are situations, like at work, when you need to tell someone that they’ve screwed up or that they need to mind their own business. But also you might not work in a place where cursing and yelling is appropriate. What’s a person to do!
While most of us can pick up on nuance, below are 13+ pretty clever ways to tell someone to go p*ss up a rope.
Which is a must underused expression on its own, in my opinion.
#15. We need to revisit the language.
“If that is your understanding of the current agreement, we need go revisit the language so that your expectation levels can be set more appropriately.”
#14. He just put up his hand.
I was in a meeting where we were planning out a huge client presentation and one of the guys who was there just went off on a complete diatribe of how he would go about adding some flair. He was known for being a loudmouth, and after about 15 minutes of his plans, the team lead just literally put up his hand and waited for him to stop talking. He sat there for 30 seconds in silence and then moved on. No addressing anything that was just said.
#13. I am not emotionally invested.
Once heard a coworker bust out in a monotone voice, “Ma’am, I need you to know that I am not emotionally invested in this conversation. What do you need so we can both go on with our lives?” Really had to stifle my laughter in my cube next to her.
#12. Important to note.
I am not contractually obligated to fulfill that request. It is also important to note that doing so would also be a violation of international trade laws.
#11. As we discussed.
I work as a contractor to the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). The best professional fuck you I’ve seen was via email. There’s this other contractor who is one of those types of know-it-alls that has to tell everyone how they should do things, often unsolicited, and likes to write really wordy, long emails to convince everyone of how smart he is. One day, he sent out an email suggesting some sweeping changes to our rollout schedule for some new ATC equipment, and “took the liberty” of sending his revised schedule to everyone – feds, contractors, upper management, upper upper management, sites, etc.
After several hours of us all privately marveling at the audacity and stupidity of this guy’s massive overstep, the fed that is in charge of our entire program reply-all’s.
The email started hilariously with “Thank you for your interest in aviation safety. As we discussed, contractors cannot set policy for the agency and do not have the authority to make decisions on behalf of the government.” Then it went on for several paragraphs, ending with tips on how he can apply for jobs within the federal agency if he wants to pull shit like this.
It was a massively embarrassing smackdown for this guy. We were all super happy to see him get his dick knocked in the dirt. It’s kind of hard to explain why the first sentence “Thank you for your interest in aviation safety” was so funny without being able to describe the guy that wrote it, but it was meant to be super condescending. I still have the email saved in my inbox.
#10. Our policy is…
Overheard my boss once say “Our policy is…(long pause while he loads up his phrasing, then clearly changes his mind and just says)…no.”
Literally thirty years ago and still gives me a chuckle.
#9. That’s great.
I used to have a coworker who was a know it all who could actually back it up. We had a memory leak (for non programmers: a very big issue) and he found it and was making the fix. He sayd something in the lines of “the leak is in line 247” and our boss goes nuts, spends an hour ranting about how he wrote that code himself and there was no way the leak was there, and how dumb he was to think it was there.
Coworker let’s him talk for an hour, then with the best poker face says “that’s great but the leak is in line 247.” Then demonstrates it in a minute.
#8. Please be advised.
The fuck you lawyer letters that I have seen usually start with “Please be advised” and end with “govern yourself accordingly”.
#7. You can leave in the morning.
“We don’t need two weeks notice, you can leave this morning.”
#6. Especially annoying.
“I’ll be sure to give that the attention it deserves” if they’re especially annoying/stupid!
During an exit interview…
“Ya, I had a great 3 years here.”
“But, you worked here for 5 years…”
#4. Please don’t.
I do IT helpdesk, we have a person in IT who is one of those people who just likes to hear herself talk, and can go on for quite awhile. One day i pick up the phone, and someone is asking for her. here’s the interaction:
Me: IT this is Wyatt how can i help?
User: Hi, i was working with [person] earlier to try and fix my [some issue i cant remember]
Me: Oh yeah, give me one second i’ll see if she’s at her desk and i’ll transfer you over.
User: Please don’t.
just the tone in their voice as they said that made it clear that they really did not want to spend any more time on the phone with that person.
#3. Custom engraving.
My family works in the textile industry.
Once, my dad worked at a company that had a vendor that made buttons for various types of clothes. They had not paid this vendor yet, but my Dads boss was still pressuring him to pressure the vendor to get something done (I don’t recall the specifics).
Well, the button vendor had taken enough shit, so he made a a custom run of buttons and sent them back a shirt in which every button had “fuck you, pay me” custom engraved into it.
Professional etiquette? No, definitely not. Professional fuck you? Most definitely.
#2. Please refrain.
We have no plans to pursue the matter now or in the future. We ask that you refrain from further contact with us.
#1. Please feel free.
“I’m terribly sorry you feel that way. Please feel free to contact our complaints department.”
(To someone who wanted an appointment on a day when there were no appointments available, but insisted that she would come in on that day, at that time) “You’re more than welcome to come in on that day, but I’m afraid there will be nobody available to see you. You’ll have much better luck if we simply book an appointment for a different day.”
Take heed, whichever end of the conversation you’re on.