Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Client Chastises Reader for Seemingly No Reason

DEAR HARRIETTE: I have a client who constantly reprimands me about everything. Just the other day, I sent her a report about a project that we had just finished. All of the information was clearly articulated in an organized and succinct manner -- as I do after every project. Her response was to thank me for it and to point out that I should be providing written reports on a regular basis to her so that she can share them with others. Duh. That’s exactly what I had just done. Why did she feel the need to state the obvious?

It was a little confusing because it didn’t make sense that she would seemingly chastise me when I had just done what she wanted. Should I say something to her about this? I was wondering if I should ask her if what I sent is what she wants, just so that there is no room for misunderstanding. What do you think? -- Point of Clarification

DEAR POINT OF CLARIFICATION: Assuming that your client believes she had a legitimate reason for highlighting your action as something you should do regularly, you can ask her if she is requesting a variation on what you normally offer to her. You can clearly ask if what you typically provide is adequate or if this note is suggesting that she wants more. Without attitude, you can request clarification to ensure that you both are on the same page.