“This Is Just a Friendly Reminder...” SWH Added.

Updated on August 03, 2019
N.Z. asks from Los Angeles, CA
20 answers

If a text or email starts with, “This is just a friendly reminder,” does it sound condescending?

Just curious. I was talking to someone yesterday who mentioned that it sounds condescending. And does it make a difference if it were sent to a family member, coworker, or supervisor at work?

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Sorry about the lack of context. The conversation originally came up because my friend thought when his sister or parents were reminded by his brother’s wife with “this is a friendly reminder that so-and-so (his nephew) needs to be picked up at 4pm,” it was was condescending because of the phrase “this is a friendly reminder.” Does this change your opinion?

Featured Answers

R.P.

answers from Tampa on

Not to me.. I guess it depends where it’s coming from. If it’s from my daughters school they just send a reminder to dress for a field trip or bring in what ever for a project. Or from my sons team that a few is due or what time practice is.. so no.

9 moms found this helpful

T.S.

answers from San Francisco on

I don't think it's condescending.
Usually it really IS just a friendly reminder, in other words, someone said or did something not quite by the rules and rather than call them out personally the person in charge is sending a gentle message to the whole group. So not only is the offending person given notice, the person in charge is showing they are doing their job.
It doesn't bother me at all.

8 moms found this helpful

More Answers

Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

G.♣.

answers from Springfield on

I suppose, but the intent is usually to make sure everyone is aware of the policy, even though far too many people are not following it. Our grade school will often send out emails that say, "Just a friendly reminder that the driveway in front of the school is for dropping off, only. If you wish to park your car and walk your kids into the school, please park in the parking lot." They wouldn't send out the email if this was happening once or twice a week. This is most likely happening multiple times a day.

I find that that wording is usually used when the person writing the email is gritting their teeth and using a good deal of restraint in not writing, "Ok, you morons who think the rules don't apply to you ... "

14 moms found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.G.

answers from Portland on

The only time I think I've ever received one worded like that would be when someone doesn't want to deal with a person directly, and sends out a 'friendly reminder' to a group (as in group email). I don't find those condescending, but kind of a passive way of dealing with an issue (I wish the person would just deal with the party directly rather than including the whole group).

If I have to remind someone I want something back, etc. I wouldn't word it like that. It sounds kind of formal (not condescending). It's just not how I speak to friends or anyone. I would just say "Hey, remember that book I lent you? I need it back lady".

If it was a boss, I'd say "If you recall that conversation we had ..."

It sounds like a message the library would leave in the old days on my phone answering machine is all. Not very personal.

ETA: *Like Gidget says - that's what I'm used to in the group emails, someone gritting their teeth, reminding a few people of a policy, but sending it to all.

ETA 2 - hmmm. I'd probably text (?) or is this email (?) Or however it went down, say something like "Hi Lucy ... Liam's camp is next week, so just wanted to check in and see if you're still ok to pick him up at 4 o'clock" (happy face) or something like that. That's just me.

I don't think it's rude, but still - it could be more personal. But maybe they don't have that kind of relationship. I tend to be the opposite. The more I know someone (more comfortable I am with them) I am more blunt. So my texts with my close buds and sisters, mom etc. are to the point "Pick up is at 4 pm".

Again, I wouldn't be offended by that. I have some moms of my kids' friends where english is not their first language. They write some funny things to me, and I let it go. So long as the intention is kind/pleasant, that is what comes across.

10 moms found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.K.

answers from Milwaukee on

It doesn't sound condescending to me. To me, "This is just a friendly reminder" sounds like a courtesy email or text to a group. Perfectly fine and helpful. If it were just stated as "Please remember..." I would see that as more off putting, as is suggests the writer doesn't trust the recipients to remember.

8 moms found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

M.P.

answers from Portland on

Not condescending to me. I appreciate the reminder. Unless I know the writer is generally condescending i.e a better then you person. Then I might be irritated.

Why waste my energy trying to figure out why the writer has worded a note/text?

7 moms found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

C.C.

answers from New York on

It sounds condescending because it is unnecessary wording, fussy wordiness. And it insinuates that the person writing could have chosen to lash out with an “unfriendly” reminder, which - when you think of it that way - makes it passive-aggressive.

“Please remember” or “Reminder:” are better.

“Reminder: Saturday is our Surprise Party for Bill’s 50th birthday. Please remember to arrive by 5pm for the surprise.”

ETA: I agree with Gidget above re: “gritting teeth”. That’s what I meant in saying that the phrase often sounds like the person writing is almost passive-aggressively noting that they could have sent an “unfriendly” reminder.

7 moms found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

N.K.

answers from Miami on

It doesn't sound condescending to me, but, I got in serious trouble for an email like that at a prior job. They wrote me up and the person I sent the email to would not talk to me ever again. I didn't mean to be insulting but, since she was an older woman and I was a college kid, she apparently took it to mean that I was practicing "ageism" in saying that older people don't remember things and need young folks to remind them. To me it sounded like she had a personal insecurity and interpreted my email completely wrong by projecting her own insecurities into the text. If she didn't want me to send that email, she should have either handled what she offered to handle (order my work uniform) or provided me with a link to handle it myself instead, so I would not have had to resort to sending a reminder a week later. My jaw almost dropped when HR scolded me for sending a reminder email to her, that she deemed "hurtful" and I walked out of there rolling my eyes. I guess it depends on how hypersensitive the person may be, to this type of language. I would not be, but clearly, as I stated and others in the comments stated, people perceive things differently and may get very angry, even at a friendly nudge.

7 moms found this helpful

T.D.

answers from New York on

When addressed to a large group it's not. It's just letting people know that what follows is a reminder.
If addressed to only one person? Yes. Condescending.

5 moms found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

D.P.

answers from Pittsburgh on

it depends upon what the subject is.

If it's a "friendly reminder to teach your child..." (yes I've seen texts where someone is basically admonishing another in a mass text about a child) than YES. It's condescending.

If it's about a bill that is coming due? I have no problem with the 'friendly" reminder.

Family saying it? Depends upon WHO it is!! LOL!! If it's my SIL? MAYBE!! LOL!!

All depends upon what comes after the "friendly reminder" for me

5 moms found this helpful

B.C.

answers from Norfolk on

It sounds a little condescending to me.
It's a preamble to alert that nagging will be following.

But context is everything.
People might listen without getting annoyed - but they are just as likely to ignore it all as well.
At some point I eventually just stay quiet and let the chips fall where they may.
And then try not to let loose with 'I told you so'.
Some people have to experience and participate in their own train wrecks before they learn to prevent/avoid them.
I have to learn to let them have at it.

5 moms found this helpful

S.T.

answers from Washington DC on

hard to say without context.

'this is a friendly reminder that the street sweeper comes through tonight, so no parking on the left hand side of the street' IS friendly and helpful, even if the writer is squinting with frustration while penning it.

'this is just a friendly reminder that your dog's barking is keeping us all awake and if it keeps up we're going to call animal control' might be considered somewhat condescending.

but in the hierarchies of condescension, this is pretty mild.

ETA a reminder about something as important as a kid pick up, yes, i think a friendly reminder is totally called for.

khairete
S.

4 moms found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

R.M.

answers from Albany on

Nah! It's not condescending. I think it sounds considerate. But as Nathalie's example shows, when a young person or person in an inferior position in a company sends a 'friendly reminder' email to someone in a higher position, one has to tread lightly and use lots of flowery language so as not to offend because there is no tone of voice or facial expression accompanying an email. People can get themselves into lots of trouble through emails because the recipient can interpret the message in any number of ways thinking it was sent with a haughty tone of voice, an angry one, a gentle one as may have been intended etc..

4 moms found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

D..

answers from Miami on

After your SWH and reading Natalie’s post, it sounds like “no good deed goes unpunished.” I don’t know the deal with the brother’s wife, but I would love to know what she could say that wouldn’t piss off your friend and the rest of the family...
Natalie, that’s just awful. Shame on that HR person!

Original:
If you don’t like the person writing it, it won’t matter how they say it.

How would you say it if you were in her shoes?

If it’s you that will be writing the text or email, don’t use that phrase when you write the person who doesn’t like it.

4 moms found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

E.B.

answers from Denver on

I never understand why the word "friendly" is used in that type of sentence.

If it's truly a non-threatening or gentle reminder, then the wording of the reminder will convey that. If it's a "you haven't paid your bill so pay right now or we cut off your services (or electricity or whatever)" kind of situation, that will be quite clear as well.

I always thought that the word "friendly" when used with "reminder" was sarcastic. And yes, condescending now that I think of it.

3 moms found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

B.D.

answers from Pittsburgh on

I don't find it condescending.

These days I need all the help I can get staying on task and keeping up. I would appreciate "a friendly reminder".

ETA: After reading other people's responses I laughed to myself because I had a cousin growing up who would preface things with "Not to be rude or ignorant or anything..." Now THAT is condescending because everything that followed was rude or ignorant LOL

3 moms found this helpful

C.T.

answers from Santa Fe on

It does not sound condescending to me. Sounds like the person saying that to you doesn't like the person who sent out the email!

3 moms found this helpful

N.G.

answers from Boston on

Everyone is offended by everything nowadays. I just try to stay in my own bubble as much as I can. I’m over this PC chit.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

J.N.

answers from Lubbock on

This is interesting because I start notes with this all the time when deadlines are missed.

The first one says that it is a friendly remember. I wait 24 hours. The second time is more terse. They are late. Turn the paperwork in ASAP.

I wait another day or so. The third time, I cc the supervisor detailing my attempts to collect the work.

We have been told to go directly to the third step. I forget things, so I want to give people a chance to fix it before it goes to supervisor. I think that it is the friendly thing to do. If it bothers someone, fine, I’ll go straight to a reminder with a cc to the supervisor.

If it is something with no do-overs like picking up a child, I don’t see the problem. If picking up is routine, I can see the problem with a daily reminder. It would be condescending because it implies that they will forget something that they do routinely and faithfully.

Updated

This is interesting because I start notes with this all the time when deadlines are missed.

The first one says that it is a friendly remember. I wait 24 hours. The second time is more terse. They are late. Turn the paperwork in ASAP.

I wait another day or so. The third time, I cc the supervisor detailing my attempts to collect the work.

We have been told to go directly to the third step. I forget things, so I want to give people a chance to fix it before it goes to supervisor. I think that it is the friendly thing to do. If it bothers someone, fine, I’ll go straight to a reminder with a cc to the supervisor.

If it is something with no do-overs like picking up a child, I don’t see the problem. If picking up is routine, I can see the problem with a daily reminder. It would be condescending because it implies that they will forget something that they do routinely and faithfully.

Updated

This is interesting because I start notes with this all the time when deadlines are missed.

The first one says that it is a friendly remember. I wait 24 hours. The second time is more terse. They are late. Turn the paperwork in ASAP.

I wait another day or so. The third time, I cc the supervisor detailing my attempts to collect the work.

We have been told to go directly to the third step. I forget things, so I want to give people a chance to fix it before it goes to supervisor. I think that it is the friendly thing to do. If it bothers someone, fine, I’ll go straight to a reminder with a cc to the supervisor.

If it is something with no do-overs like picking up a child, I don’t see the problem. If picking up is routine, I can see the problem with a daily reminder. It would be condescending because it implies that they will forget something that they do routinely and faithfully.

Updated

This is interesting because I start notes with this all the time when deadlines are missed.

The first one says that it is a friendly remember. I wait 24 hours. The second time is more terse. They are late. Turn the paperwork in ASAP.

I wait another day or so. The third time, I cc the supervisor detailing my attempts to collect the work.

We have been told to go directly to the third step. I forget things, so I want to give people a chance to fix it before it goes to supervisor. I think that it is the friendly thing to do. If it bothers someone, fine, I’ll go straight to a reminder with a cc to the supervisor.

If it is something with no do-overs like picking up a child, I don’t see the problem. If picking up is routine, I can see the problem with a daily reminder. It would be condescending because it implies that they will forget something that they do routinely and faithfully.

1 mom found this helpful
Smallavatar-fefd015f3e6a23a79637b7ec8e9ddaa6

B.F.

answers from Philadelphia on

I don't think it sounds condescending. Maybe it's something you don't want to do in the first place, so a "frendly reminder" sounds more like a nag....?
But other than that, tone of voice can make a difference too. And for the most part, saying "friendly" makes it more just that, and maybe there's somebody who NEEDS reminding and appreciates it.

1 mom found this helpful
For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us