Thought Catalog

Email Valedictions: The Ways We Say Goodbye

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Since finishing school I’ve experienced a range of identity-shaking conundrums ranging from the grandiose (WHAT THE HELL AM I GOING TO DO WITH MY LIFE? HOW WILL I EVER BE RESPECTABLE IF I DON’T HAVE A SALARY?) to the mundane (WHY THE EFF DON’T I HAVE A TRAVEL-SIZE UMBRELLA? HOW WILL I EVER BE RESPECTABLE IF I’M ALWAYS SHOWING UP TO PLACES WET?). The past few days I’ve distracted myself with my latest near-existentialist quandary: email valedictions.

The days of simply slapping a “sincerely” and a flowery signature at the end have gone the way of the handwritten letters. Nowadays, there’s pressure to squeeze every ounce of digital face time into making yourself into an unbeatable kick-ass person. The way you end an email is the last impression you give to somebody, whether it be a future employer or your roommate. In order to make the wisest personal decision and further procrastinate more pressing matters, I’ve compiled a study from the emails I’ve received in order to evaluate each valediction’s effect.

_____

“Regards”

People who use it: professors, colleagues.

Example:

Andrew,

I read your paper proposal and couldn’t understand any of it. Please re-do.

Regards,
Prof.

Effect: “Regards” is a passive aggressive abbreviation for, “this person apparently regards my time as worthless.” Never good.

“Love”

People who use it: significant others, family, biddies who are incapable of understanding love and transform it into a worthless, gratuitous commodity.

Example:

Hello My Darling Son,

Your father and I haven’t heard from you in weeks and wonder if you’re still alive.

Love,
Mom

Effect: Using love to end an email can be a slippery slope, one often lined with either guilt or endearment. Typically it’s employed as a reminder of sorts, as in, “remember I love you, you insensitive jerk.” Best if used sparingly.

“Cheers”

People who use it: Anglophiles, Twenty-somethings, thirty-somethings.

Example:

Hello all!

Some friends and I were thinking of starting a weekly poetry-slam, knitting circle potluck. Feel free to post your suggestions to the Google Doc to which I’ve invited you.

Cheers,
Naomi

Effect: Using “cheers” reminds an email recipient:

  1. The writer is most likely a white, liberal-minded yuppie.
  2. The writer secretly considers reading Harry Potter to have been the essential experience in forming his or her sense of self.
  3. The writer studied abroad in London and wants to be responsible for starting a trend on this side of the pond.

“Thanks”

People who use it: People looking for favors, people sending an email to someone for the first time.

Example:

Hiiiiiiiii,

My friend Kimi said you have the notes from class last Thursday. Could I borrow them pleaz?

Thanks (thanksthanksthanks!)
Stephanie

Effect: Overly gracious.

“[Nothing]”

People who use it: Bosses, computer illiterates, people who don’t have time for this shit.

Example:

U WERE SUPPOSED TO BE @ WORK 2 HRS AGO. UR NOT WORTH THE MINIMUM WAGE I PAY U

Effect: Utter panic and intimidation mostly because you spend the first minute trying to figure out who sent this terrifying email.

_____

Conclusion… We should all go back to slapping “Sincerely” on correspondences. TC mark

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    • guest

      what about “Best,” – that's one of the most popular right now

      • Luis

        But also the most passive-aggressive. what does “best” even mean?

        • NissaCam

          It's a short form of “All the best.”

          Not sure how that's passive-aggressive?

        • JB

          I've gotten some scary e-mails ironically signed “best.”  Gotta love auto signatures.

        • Something

          “Best regards” is often shortened to “Best” or “Regards”

    • http://twitter.com/ward_hegedus Ward Hegedus

      I use a mix of regards and best in work emails. Cheers annoys me the most.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=539592740 Viktoriya Gaponski

      Cute!

      Ta-ta, smell ya later, ciao, pus-pus or just initials. Professional e-mails: Thanks.
      I don't know about Sincerely.. only written letters are sincere these days, and not even all.

    • Im_dawn

      “Take care” is a good one

    • http://www.facebook.com/gregpphoto Greg Petliski

      “Effect: Utter panic and intimidation mostly because you spend the first minute trying to figure out who sent this terrifying email.”

      HEY RETARD. Look at who sent it when its in your inbox. If you seriously have trouble with this one and are not just trying to fill space, then I feel bad for actually having called you a retard.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=539592740 Viktoriya Gaponski

        .. says the guy with popped collar on a pink background.

        • http://www.facebook.com/gregpphoto Greg Petliski

          Sigh. A, a joke photo, I'm a photographer. And B, still doesnt take away from my ability to discern the author of an email simply by looking at my inbox. Sheesh!

          You like that pimp collaa tho dont ya!

    • sidebar

      Using Sincerely will never steer you wrong….unless you are being insincere in which case you have a bigger problem

    • derp

      am i alone in reading “biddies” as mildly misogynistic?

      • Dino Pizzuti

        Yes

    • http://twitter.com/crapface Hannah Foster.

      True story, I once sent 'love,' to my Biology tutor without thinking. Now I go with the good old nothing but even that's a bugger because people find it hard to gauge my tone.

      Might just stop emailing altogether.

    • Guy

      Poetry-slamming knitters would more likely use “potlatch.”  Potlucks are so you're semi-retired parents on a Friday evening.

    • Joy

      “Best,” is “Regards” with good intentions. It's short, sweet, and the perfect mix of professional and casual.

      I also use (-) followed by my first name/first initial.

      • Joy

        Also, who uses Sincerely nowadays? Reminds me of snail-mail.

      • http://www.oneyearintexas.com Perfect Circles

        Also, you can do “All the best,” but ONLY if you really mean it.

    • JB

      If you just get initials, you could be in trouble.

    • Joe

      I think I'll be using “sincerely” from now on… I hope none of my teachers think i'm a sycophant for saying “thanks” at the end of every email!

      The last one is so true. I asked to meet with a professor (for the first time) about taking a class and they sent me a one-line response, with no introduction, end, signature, or even punctuation. I had NO idea what to expect from them.

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