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A year back a person had once told me that he doesn't want to have any conversation with me at the moment.

Today I sent him a kind of apology mail and added the sentence (in tile of this thread) at the end of the mail. I wanted to make sure that he doesn't assume that I am trying to bait him in to a conversation.

Now, when I think of it, I am not sure if that statement can be considered as
"Do not reply."?

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I'd conclude the message like this: "There's no need to reply, if you'd rather not." –  J.R. Oct 5 '12 at 10:11
    
@J.R. Well, the way I wrote it - was that negative? –  TheIndependentAquarius Oct 5 '12 at 10:12
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Hard to say how language will be interpreted. Fonts don't show inflection and facial expressions. What you wrote could be interpreted as condescending, but it really depends on your relationship with the reader, and the tone of the rest of the note. My suggestion represents the "safest" wording I could think of. In my opinion, highlighting the word not increases the chances that the sentence could be interpreted negatively. –  J.R. Oct 5 '12 at 10:16
    
Another factor is also the rest of the message - for example, if I received a letter from someone letting me know about an event ending with 'no need to reply' I'd treat it as neutral and letting me know there was no need to send a response. On the other hand if the letter was telling me about a event that I needed to organise and ended the same way? I'd treat it as an aggressive/negative 'this is what you must do, no discussion, just do it' way. –  tanantish Oct 5 '12 at 10:27
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@AnishaKaul Just with a bit more reflection if I received an apology letter, but wanted to open up more dialog I might regard a statement like that negatively? Text is such a horrible way of communicating/responding to nuance like this.. –  tanantish Oct 5 '12 at 10:37
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3 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

In supplement to the good answer by @SingerOfTheFall, the use of please often helps indicate a politeness and positive tone

Please do not feel any obligation to respond.
or
While I would welcome hearing from you, please do not feel any obligation to respond.

Again, even these gentle answers could be delivered orally dripping with sarcasm (and be taken negatively), in writing they would likely be taken at face value and be seen as polite.

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Please do not feel any obligation to respond. That's wonderful I would say. –  TheIndependentAquarius Oct 5 '12 at 11:38
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Here's the problem with written stuff - you either have to say it in a way that can not possible be misunderstood, or you will have to assume that the receiver will understand it the same was you intended.

Personally I wouldn't consider this to be negative if I saw it. However, if I didn't like the author of the e-mail, I could be possible blinded by that emotion, which could lead to thinking "hmmm, was he/she sarcastic? Maybe it's a hidden message meaning 'I don't want you to reply'?"

You can't express the intonation and gestures/facial expressions in the mail, so you can not be 100% sure how it will be interpreted.

Unfortunately, the alternative to this would be writing something like

"Although I sincerely hope that you will write a reply to me, it is not necessary. By this I do not mean that I don't want you to reply to my e-mail, but I rather want to express that I will accept any course of action you may take without being offended."

So I would not bother too much about it, and would just hope that the receiver will understand it properly.

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actually, after I sent the mail, I noticed that that person has closed the mailing option on his profile! :0 So, perhaps, he did it after receiving my mail? Well, Although I sincerely hope that you will write a reply to me I didn't hope that. I hoped that he will decide on his own whether he wants to reply or not> :( –  TheIndependentAquarius Oct 5 '12 at 10:23
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@Anisha, well, as J.R. mentioned in his comment, marking the word not could probably increase the chance of misunderstanding. You could write another e-mail explaining the case if you worry about it. It highly depends on the concrete person though, so it's hard to tell something in general. –  SingerOfTheFall Oct 5 '12 at 10:25
    
I can't dare writing another email now. :) The rest of the mail was sweet and apologetic. I think I'll just leave the case as it is now. Thanks for the help. –  TheIndependentAquarius Oct 5 '12 at 10:28
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As SingerOfTheFall said in one of the comments, I think the emphasis that was placed on not was misplaced.

After mulling over your intentions and word choice, I believe I would have changed very little in order to make the message more amicable.

Reply to this message is not necessary.

vs

A reply to this message isn't necessary.

Minor, but I feel it takes some of the sting out of a misread.

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