What are email sign-offs made of?
Let me count the ways: Cheers and warmly. Love and light. Best and regards.
Here’s mine: Thank you. Sometimes “Yours” for fun, though that depends on the recipient. Recently I used “Yours ‘til Niagara Falls,” to which I received no response. Granted, it was actually a text, but I mean, come on, that’s a good one, right? Worthy of at least a “lol.” Sheesh.
But do we even need a sign-off at all? What is the point to signing emails? Lately I’ve eschewed even saying thanks. My name pops up in the recipient’s inbox, so they already know who’s sending the message. It’s very spare. Perhaps 2023 is my minimalist year. The 2011 version of Marie Kondo would approve. Today’s Marie Kondo, in light of the recent headlines about her three kids nixing her tidy approach, would tell me to bless my messy email because we’re all doing the best we can.
I’m beguiled by the many ways humans choose to end their emails. I think they can potentially say a lot about us. Perhaps an email sign-off is another form of the Rorschach test, a psychological test where what people see in an inkblot is analyzed.
I once watched a friend write an email firing someone and sign it “Warmly.” And many years ago I was part of a group of yoga teachers who received emails from a manager who occasionally scolded us and were signed “Love and light.” Those both felt like direct hits of cognitive dissonance straight to the vein.
But sometimes sign-offs are simply part of a signature and senders seem to forget they’re there. Other times it seems people robotically type whatever it is they usually type, despite the contents of the email. I propose we be a bit more mindful of our words.
The website Grammarly has a list of the best nine sign-offs, to which I both agree and disagree.
• Regards — Too dry and dull. I want you to actually remember I sent you an email and I am a human with a personality. No offense to lovers of regards.
• Sincerely — How did this even become a sign-off? We have to promise somebody we were sincere about what we wrote?
• Best wishes — As opposed to wishes of a cold, dark, loveless, penniless future.
• Cheers — Apparently this is the sign-off that best ensures a response, according to a study by the email app Boomerang. Maybe because it reminds people of happy hour?
• Best — I dare you to sign off with worst.
• As ever — As if you might have morphed into someone else since the last time you saw them?
• Thanks in advance — This seems like a bully move and possibly passive aggressive. What if they don’t want to or can’t help you? This seems like setting someone up for failure.
• Thank you — Less is more.
• I appreciate your help, input, feedback, etc.) — I can get behind this one. Gratitude goes a long way.
To make your inbox a more festive, colorful and memorable place to visit, I’ve come up with a few new sign-offs to try. Give ‘em a whirl and report back. Perhaps you’ll notice an uptick in response time or you’ll make someone laugh in the middle of a bad day.
• Bow and curtsy — So deliciously regal, plus all things British are on trend.
• Pomp and circumstance — Impressive. You sound important. People will want to know you and feel honored you wrote them an email.
• Carry on, old chap or chapess/chapette — Simply adorable. I’d write back just so I could write, “Hello, old chap.”
• Toodle-oo — Friendly, carefree and sets a nice tone for spring and summer.
• May the winds be ever at your back — Who doesn’t love small talk about the weather, I ask you?
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