Q: How do I deal with a co-worker who sends me e-mails with certain words and sentences in all caps and bold lettering? From what I’ve heard, this is the equivalent of shouting at someone. It seems like she does it to imply that I’m too stupid to read an ordinary e-mail and that I need capitalization and bold letters.
A: First, check discreetly with a few other colleagues to see if they’re also receiving all-caps e-mails from your co-worker. If you’re the only person she’s sending them to, then the next thing you have to decide is whether this is an issue you want to tackle. If it is, ask to meet with her. Explain that it seems unusual for her to make such an effort to send e-mails to you in all caps and that you’re not sure why she is doing it, but you’re concerned because caps often imply anger or frustration, and you want to be sure there’s no problem between the two of you. If it turns out she’s sending all-caps e-mails to everyone in the office, then it’s not because of any issue with you. Either her manager or a co-worker who is a good friend should talk to her about changing to sentence case. It will be easier for everyone to read, and won’t cause any misunderstandings.