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My Convenience or Your Convenience?

Asking someone to contact you at their earliest convenience is a polite way to say, “Contact me soon.” However, sometimes people twist this polite saying into a rather rude alternative. “I’ll contact you at my earliest convenience” has been showing up on answering machines and away messages recently. 

People may think they are being polite, but actually changing “your convenience” to “my convenience” turns something nice into something rude. It would be more polite to say, “I’ll contact you as soon as possible.”

“Your convenience” means that the person leaving the message hopes to hear back when the other person is ready. “My convenience” means “I’ll get back to you when I’m good and ready.”

There is another common phrase that can be easily twisted from polite to rude. “As soon as possible” is more polite than using the acronym ASAP.

For example:

Polite: I need this finished as soon as possible.

Rude: I need this finished ASAP!

If you commonly use “my earliest convenience” or “ASAP,” change them now, so you don’t appear rude.

Related: Do you have a love-hate relationship with acronyms? Then this article is for you!

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By Patrice Riley

Patrice Riley is the pen name of Dr. Deborah Riley. She is a retired English professor that enjoys grammar, literature, and all things writing.

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