I have a coworker that I have to correspond with once or twice a week for a particular task. In person, they are relatively normal and cheerful, both in and out of a professional context, and we get along fine.
The problem is that this person's emails are short, condescending, snippy and generally grating to be exposed to over and over again. The simplest question is answered with disdain for not knowing the answer, and any requests of me are nothing short of demands. There's no niceness at all, and any opportunity to include a 'clearly, 'of course' or 'you should be aware' is taken.
This person is not my superior in any way (in fact I suspect I am above them in the company hierarchy), so I'm plain confused as to why they would treat me so disrespectfully over email.
So far I have been ignoring it and replying as my usual cheery self, but the temptation to snip back at them is growing daily.
Is there a way i could gently and professionally demonstrate how offensive their emails are, or educate them on correct email etiquette?
Edit: some clarifications based on comments:
- I am more technical than him, however the other party has been doing what they do for quite a while.
- The condescending tone applies to all topics we discuss over email, including things that are my domain and know a lot about.
- We work in entirely separate departments, with a long string of bosses in between us, hence the unknown exact superiority. Our relationship exists because we handle a bit of the same data for different reasons.