Another individual reading your writing and providing feedback on how your tone comes through might also be beneficial.
Don't tell me what to do, the imperative statement that follows, can come out as impolite.
Even when the writer doesn't intend to, imperative phrases might come out as bossy, which is a problem that authors frequently encounter. This is particularly true when talking via text or email since you are unable to modify the request using your voice or body language.
So how can you direct them without seeming like you're giving them orders?
There are a number, and the appropriate one for a particular statement relies on a few elements:
You're making a request or giving instructions.
Your connection to the reader or listener
The situation you're referencing in the imperative statement
In general, the word "please" immediately softens the tone of a demanding phrase. Compare the following two:
Turning a request into a question might also help to soften the tone of your sentence:
Although it ceases to be an imperative phrase in this instance, the request it makes to the listener is still made.
What about circumstances where a clear direction is required? Context is useful. For instance, it could come out as chilly and impolite if your party invitation merely says, "Don't park in our driveway."
However, if you explain why the request is being made, such as by saying, "Don't park in our driveway; it's a shared driveway, and our neighbors need to be able to go in and out during the party," your tone will instantly change from stern to friendly.
When speaking via textual means with somebody you have never met in person, finding the right tone can be challenging. If you're ever unsure about how a sentence or longer passage will sound to the reader, try reading it aloud and paying attention to how it sounds.