-7

Assumptions

  1. You can interact with only this person (e.g. a client, or the most senior person at a corporation who can help) whom I abbreviate CP (for counterparty).

  2. CP can't easily be telephoned, or meet in person (e.g. CP's in another country).

Difficulty

The difficulty is explained in my draft below that is too offensive, but I present my true feelings to be as clear as possible. Please help me to subdue thee tone.

Dear CP:

I usually never hear from you for weeks unless I chase. You then confirm receiving my original email, but usually state your necessity for more time to deal with the matter before replying again. Yet I still need chase you, despite requesting in one of my first emails to you that you email me back on reception of my emails, to offer me certainty that you received my original emails even if you need more time, while I wait for your second reply. My chasing you for almost every email that I send you, mentally distresses me. How can we solve this communication difficulty?

closed as off-topic by Ælis, OldPadawan, avazula, Rainbacon, ElizB Feb 28 at 16:33

  • This question does not appear to be about interpersonal skills, within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 8
    Why are you assuming that this person is either impolite, incompetent, or unprofessional rather than that they don't have time for your unusual request? You seem to think that these "holding replies" are common... AFAIK, they are not. Is this something that is standard in your culture? What culture do you/she belong to? – Catija Sep 12 '17 at 2:25
  • 10
    I find the abbreviations to be extremely confusing. Where does the "Y" come from in "HRY"? It's much easier for people to read if you just use the actual words. – Catija Sep 12 '17 at 2:33
  • 5
    They're probably easy for you because you made up the terms but we are learning them, so they are unclear and just muddy the entire question up. – Catija Sep 12 '17 at 2:36
  • 3
    @Canada-Area51Proposal the acronym CP certainly confuses me. But Catija didn't say "the acronym HRY confuses me," Catija said "acronyms confuse me". So why wouldn't the acronym CP confuse Catija? – user288 Sep 12 '17 at 2:57
  • 6
    As Hamlet said, they're all confusing... and you've used them in more than just this post. I also find it confusing why you put the question absolutely last in your question body and why you won't at least tell us where the "CP" is, which doesn't give out any information about you. We can't tell you if your request is reasonable if we don't know where the person you're making it from is in the world. – Catija Sep 12 '17 at 3:17
1

It appears the root problem is that you want them to respond to your emails when they receive them, and they are not doing that.

Your written message:

Dear CP:

I usually never hear from you for weeks unless I chase. You then confirm receiving my original email, but usually state your necessity for more time to deal with the matter before replying again. Yet I still need chase you, despite requesting in one of my first emails to you that you email me back on reception of my emails, to offer me certainty that you received my original emails even if you need more time, while I wait for your second reply. My chasing you for almost every email that I send you, mentally distresses me. How can we solve this communication difficulty?

Is rude because it doesn't give them any other response that to change their behavior.

You don't want to send follow up emails (which is the only way you'll resolve this situation without changing them), but you do want to know the status of their work.

If you do not have power over them (ie, you aren't their boss or supervisor) and you cannot get their boss or supervisor to agree, then you can't easily force them to change.

So your best bet is to simply be rude and pester them until they change. I don't think there's a way to soften the actual request that they change - you can change the words, but you've made this request repeatedly before and they haven't changed, so unless you have another way to apply pressure, then perhaps being rude is the best way to get them to do what you want.

If you insist on going this route, my style would be to inform them in this manner:

Dear CP:

Due to the nature of the work you do, it can be days or weeks before you complete tasks I give you. I cannot wait that long to find out whether you understand the assignment, and what your time estimate is. Therefore I need you to respond to each task request within a day or two of receiving it, indicating:

  1. You received the task and understand it
  2. Your best estimate on when it will be complete

This will make it clear what your expectations are are, and why. You will have to send follow up emails if they haven't responded within 2 days of you sending your original email. Consider CC'ing reminder emails to their boss or supervisor so they can address the situation if they frequently miss this requirement.

Underlying problem

They don't see any reason to respond to you. And in your original message your only reason is that it causes you distress. It's hard to convince a coworker to take care of your emotional well being, particularly in a professional context.

Instead help them understand why you need their response, in terms of what you're trying to do in the business. There may be many reason you're feeling distress when they don't communicate that are actually because you cannot meet your business requirements without their feedback. I don't know your business, but perhaps one of these could be a problem:

I need your feedback immediately because:

  • I have to schedule others around your work
  • Others need to know this information and ask me for it
  • Clients are frustrated when they learn of delays at the last second
  • Unexpected delays are forcing others to do more work, or leaving them with nothing to do

Try to figure out why you are distressed, and what business requirement isn't being met, and then discuss it in terms of the business, rather than your personal feelings.

8

Here are my assumptions based on what you've posted so far.

You're obviously not a native English speaker (that's ok, neither am I).

You seem to know for certain how English speakers should perceive your words. That's problematic, considering you're not a native English speaker, and yet you don't seem to listen to what some of the better English speakers are telling you in the comments.

counterparty

Not only the acronym "CP" was inappropriate, but the word itself "counterparty" is inappropriate for the context given. The language you use is way too formal. Even the way you structure your question with assumptions and context is too formal. This isn't your fault. Foreigners are taught formal English and formal structure.

It's the same way Americans are taught formal French, when instead they should be taught conversational French.

or meet in person

Should be "or met in person" with only one 'e'

Holding Replies

You're not using "Holding Replies" correctly. You can argue you know how to use that expression, but the grammatical structure you're using is not correct at all.

Your message is very vague. For instance, the following sentence is so vague, it really doesn't mean anything.

In most of our communication, I often do not hear from you for days, but I understand the necessity of more time before replying.

Most of? For days? More time?

If you want to say something, please say it, but please be more specific. By days, do you mean that she didn't reply to you over the weekend?

mentally distresses and exhausts me,

These words do not work in that context. The term you need to use is "frustrated" as in "I was frustrated by your..."

In most of our communication, I often do not hear from you for days, but I understand the necessity of more time before replying. Despite requesting (in one of my first emails to you) Holding Replies from you to allow me certainty that you received my original emails, I still do not not receive Holding Replies from you. My chasing you for almost every email that I send you, mentally distresses and exhausts me, and suggests your not wishing to communicate with me: is this true? How can we solve this problem?

That block of text is too verbose. it should be broken up into shorter paragraphs/sentences and it should be made much shorter overall.

Here I would suggest that you schedule a twice a week Skype meeting at a set time and at set dates, whether there is something to report or nothing to report (until the project is completed).

Despite requesting (in one of my first emails to you) Holding Replies from you to allow me certainty that you received my original emails, I still do not not receive Holding Replies from you.

It sounds like you're using email as a project management tool. It is not meant to be used that way. Please use one of these tools instead.

Personally, I like Asana, but ideally, you should try using what people in your industry are using (unless they're also only using email).

Also, you may like to use a go-between like oDesk (now called Upwork) assuming she's a contractor. Now, I could ask you if she's a contractor, but you're so secretive, I have a feeling you won't tell me.

oDesk used to take timed screenshots of a contractor's screen and generated a daily working diary out of it, that the contractor could annotate. And I am assuming that Upwork kept that feature.

  • 1
    There are many defects in the OP's message but this bit "...your not wishing to communicate..." is grammatically correct, it is a very formal but valid construction because "wishing" is being used as a noun. Think of it like: ...your reluctance to communicate... – user3114 Sep 12 '17 at 7:16
  • @Mari-LouA, You're right. It's corrected now. Thanks. – Stephan Branczyk Sep 12 '17 at 7:23
  • @Mari-LouA But your suggestion is better; I ought to have written 'reluctance' instead of 'not wishing'. – Greek - Area 51 Proposal Sep 13 '17 at 2:01
  • @StephanBranczyk Thanks. Some follow-ups: (4) Counterparty: Yes, it's formal, but I like its specificity. (5) Are your last 4 paragraphs relevant? The difficulty isn't with me or my using email as a project management tool.. I'm only trying to request Holding Replies from the other person because of my fear in 3. (6) meet in person: How is my use wrong? I rewrote that sentence for clarity. (6) About Holding Replies, please see english.stackexchange.com/a/409775?noredirect=1 (7) Frustration: This noun seems too feeble and lenient; I was trying something stronger. – Greek - Area 51 Proposal Sep 13 '17 at 2:07
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    @Canada-Area51Proposal when Stephan says you are using the term "holding reply" wrong, he is not saying it is the wrong expression. He's saying you're not using it in the right way in your message. Thus asking users on EL&U if there is an alternative expression is counter-productive. – user3114 Sep 13 '17 at 11:58

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