Tips and Tricks for Ensuring No One Answers Your Emails

Len Epp
5 min readJun 23, 2019

Everyone knows email is the absolute worst, and cutting down all the noise in your inbox is crucial for being productive in both your professional and your personal life.

One way to keep traffic out of your inbox is to write emails that no one wants to answer. Here are some tips and tricks to achieve inbox zen.

All Caps

Putting ANYTHING in all caps will ENSURE anyone who reads your email concludes you have no understanding that YOU ARE JUST ANOTHER PERSON LIKE EVERYONE ELSE and it is RUDE and ABUSIVE to not CONTROL your feelings when you’re interacting with other people.

Using all caps ensures your recipient that communicating with you WOULD BE AWFUL because YOU ARE AN AWFUL PERSON who TREATS OTHER PEOPLE BADLY but still EXPECTS TO BE RESPECTED, which should really help you secure that coveted non-reply.

Don’t Write Any Body Content

Part of being a productive professional is being polite and respectful, partly because in the end it’s more efficient, but a lot of people don’t have the time to be productive professionals, and so they only write in the subject lines of the emails they send.

Just writing a subject sends the unspoken message you’re intending to send, very clearly: “I’m going to contribute as little as I can get away with to whatever it is we’re doing here. Get ready to do all the work yourself.”

Only writing in the subject line has the extra benefit of providing no details and no context, which guarantees any email interaction with you is going to take up way more time, for both of you, than it would have if you’d written a proper email in the first place. This bonus element should help get your email deleted from your correspondent’s inbox in no time.

Use the Imperative Mood

Don’t know what the “imperative mood” is? Get a dictionary.

One thing everybody with self-respect hates instinctively, is to have someone talk to them in commands. The effect is especially powerful when a total stranger you have nothing to do with presumes to straight up just tell you to do this and that.

Everyone knows that high-functioning, effective people, who are accustomed to working with other high-functioning, effective people, never talk in the language of straight-up command, so giving commands is the best way to ensure people like that don’t reply to you. It’s email-reduction gold. (Bonus: try using the imperative mood with strangers on Twitter if you want to keep that follower count down.)

Provide No Details

Sending emails like, “I need something, can you do anything for me about it” isn’t just an obvious sign that you eat other people’s time like some bad guys in comics eat planets. It also makes you look like a potential spam bot which, without knowing it, you actually are.

Use Terms Like “Immediate” or “Urgent” or Especially “ASAP”

If you want to make it clear that there’s 0% chance you’re doing something that actually matters, make sure to use terms like “immediate” and “urgent” and “ASAP” in the emails you send to other people.

OK, of course sometimes things are genuinely urgent. But if you don’t explain why, no one will believe you, because there’s a 100% chance the reason you don’t explain why, is because it’s not true.

Accuse Your Recipient of Wrongdoing Before Considering the Possibility That the Source of the Problem Might Be the Person You See When You Look in the Mirror

Knee-jerk claims that someone you’re emailing has made a mistake or has malign intentions, because something isn’t going according to your own plan, or working like you expected it to, without first considering the possibility that your plan was unrealistic, or that you need to think about what you’re doing a little harder, is a great way keep your inbox reply-free.

Paste the Name of the Recipient Into A Template Email with No Other Information Specific to Them

Nothing says “I’m using an automated email service to troll untold numbers of people because I only get replies to a really small proportion of my emails because what I’m actually doing totally sucks” like sending a template email where you just paste the person’s name in, without including any other information specifically about them.

Just to be clear, writing about “your blog” or “your site” doesn’t count as other information specifically about them. So feel free to use formulations like that, if you’re trying to shut down in advance, the chance that you’ll get a reply.

Use One of Those Spam Email Protection Services That Makes Other People Do Something for the Privilege of Emailing You

Sorry to break the fourth wall here — this is obviously a humorous post, and of course, professionally and personally, I actually do try to reply to all emails that aren’t spam or somehow malicious — but seriously, it’s PSA time: if you are using one of those services that’s like, “You need to do something extra in order to email me so I can protect myself from spam,” you are actively damaging your prospects in life and hurting other people. People don’t forget shit like that.

Assume Other People Will Relate to Your Alt-Right Fash Nonsense Like It’s Totally Normal and They’re Naturally On Board With You

It’s one thing to be a fascist who indulges in fever-dreams and groundless self-congratulatory blood-and-soil identity nonsense, and who thinks people don’t see right through your intellectually dishonest claims that other people are objecting to your opinions because your opinions are different from theirs, rather than objecting to the actual substance and logic of your opinions, like they’re actually saying. We can still get along ok sometimes in our day-to-day lives, even if we disagree strongly with each other on some very important things, and you’re full of a hatred towards others that no one but you could possibly deserve.

But writing to someone else as though your self-indulgent anti-historical imagination-land garbage is normal and of course they naturally agree with it too, is just insufferable, and a great way of getting to inbox zero by cutting down on receiving replies to your messages. Congratulations, you can take the fact that no one normal wants to talk to you as proof you’re the hero of western civilization you always knew you were, and definitely, like Plato and all those guys would have looked up to you and been totally into lobster brains what you’re doing.

Ask Other People Questions That Google Can Answer for You

No one likes it when you ask them to type into Google something you could have searched for yourself, so typing a question in an email you send to them, instead of just typing the exact same words into Google, is a total life hack, if your goal is to minimize replies to your emails.

Don’t Indicate That You’ve Already Tried to Do the Thing Yourself Without Asking Anyone Else or You’ve Looked and You’re Pretty Sure There’s Some Reason You Can’t Do It Yourself

Indicating to someone that you wouldn’t be bothering them unless you’ve looked into it and you’re pretty sure you have to contact them to do the thing you want them to do, is a great way to show that you’re a thoughtful person, and so the absolute last thing you should do if you don’t want anyone to reply to you.

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Len Epp

Startup cofounder. I like to write about tech, publishing, the interwebs, politics, and such.