Thought Catalog

5 Reasons You Should Stop Signing Your Emails ‘Best’

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Sincerely. Warmly. Wantonly. I’d be thrilled to receive an email with one of these closings. Well, maybe not “wantonly” in a business context, but at least it’s better than “best.” “Best” has bothered me for some time in both business and personal contexts, for various reasons. Here are five.

1. “Best” …what, exactly? “Best Wishes”? “Best Tidings”? “I’m the Best”? “Best BBQ Ribs Six Years Running”? What you really should mean is “Best Regards.” Either tack that word onto the end, or find a different sign-off that actually only comprises one word.

2. “Best” has become what saying “Ciao” at the end of phone conversations was in the 90s: a trend embraced by smarmy business executives and Hollywood types and then adopted by anyone who thought they were “someone.”

3. “Best” is considered rude. If you don’t enjoy people USING ALL CAPS ON THE INTERNET BECAUSE IT’S THE EQUIVALENT OF SHOUTING, then you should know that your beloved “Best” is considered cold and even a snub, so says The New York Times. So, by all means, sign your emails “Best” if you want to be known as the office ice queen/ king.

4. If you aren’t the office ice queen/king, using “Best” because the upper management at your institution does just makes you look like a tool. They look cold – you look like some pathetic sycophant.

5. If you really have so little time in your day to actually write “Regards” after your “Best” (or to think up another sign-off), then you need an assistant. Print this out and show your higher-ups; it will make you all look better, though perhaps not “best.” TC mark

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5 Reasons You Should Stop Signing Your Emails ‘Best’ is cataloged in , , , , , ,
  • Mr Shankly

    I have never received an email signed ‘best’ before.

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

    Get over it.

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

    Get over it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/anton.bielousov Anton Bielousov

    Neither have I. Maybe author shout wait while his email friends graduate?

  • Lauren K

    Why put so much thought into it? Any salutation can seem snarky if you think about it too much.

    • Asdf

      You’re right.  That’s why I sign off all my emails with “Snark,” or if I’m feeling especially frisky, “Snarkily Yours,” “Snarky Regards,” “Snarkily,” “Snarkiest Wishes,” — you get the idea.

      • Anon

        I just sign off with a simple “Bye, Bitch!”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

    Best = Uber = gosu

  • http://twitter.com/mdigirol matt

    There is too much noise on this topic… every salutation I have ever considered of using has been slammed by someone or other saying it is too formal, too casual, too cold. I just sign my name now.

  • http://twitter.com/majordunbar John

    This was a dumb article.

    Best,
    John

    • Asdf

      This was a dumb comment.

      Snark,
      Asdf

    • Asdf

      This was a dumb comment.

      Snark,
      Asdf

      • http://twitter.com/majordunbar John

        This was a dumb comment.

        Snark,
        John

      • Asdf

        This was a dumb comment.

        Snark,
        Asdf

  • Fdsa

    I see nothing wrong with signing your emails off any way you want. Office monkeys can think whatever they want about signature lines and it won’t change anything because it really doesn’t make a bit of difference.

    Best, 
    C

  • http://twitter.com/timdonnelly Tim Donnelly

    OK but what are SUPPOSED to sign your emails with instead? I picked up saying “cheers” sometimes because lots of other journalists I talk with do that, but it still makes me feel like a faux-cultural douche sometimes. I used to say “later dood,” when I was young and innocent and had a bowl cut. I’m just going to start signing them all “your humble servant,” which is probably the cool steampunk way to sign a letter. 

    • http://likethehours.wordpress.com/ devin howard

      haha, in calligraphic font too

      • Meghan Doherty

        while drinking whiskey from a tea cup

    • Meghan Doherty

      There were so many elements of this comment I enjoyed: “faux-cultural douche” and steampunks!

      Then I realized it was from Tim! Nicely done.

      Best // Meg

    • http://twitter.com/timdonnelly Tim Donnelly

      I knew I guy who signed every single correspondence (email, facebook, text) with “keep me posted.” 

    • your cousin

      For professional emails: Thanks,

      For personal: Laterz,

    • your cousin

      For professional emails: Thanks,

      For personal: Laterz,

  • http://twitter.com/flutiefan flutiefan

    all the Nigerian fraudsters on Craigslist signed their emails to me with “Best”.i stay far, far away…

  • http://vickyalways.blogspot.com vicky

    I love “best.” It’s my favorite. I can’t believe anyone would have a problem with “best.” Ugh.

    • your cousin

      Worst.

  • http://twitter.com/stefinmotion Stefanie J

    I can tell this subject makes you really upset. That sucks.

  • http://likethehours.wordpress.com/ devin howard

    valedictions should be determined based on the relationship between you and the person who will be receiving the email. I sign my emails ‘best’ all the time, and also, ‘cheers’, and also ‘keep rockin'”, and also ‘stay awesome’ (true story) and also ‘take care’ and also ‘sincerely’ and also any number of other things depending on the context and the person.

    I don’t really see anything wrong with ‘best’.

  • Chloé

    “Deuces” always works as a closing.

    Best,
    Chloé

  • raige eubanks-barrow

    A-FREAKIN’-MEN on the “Best.” I see it and think “Best what, douchwagon!?” “Warmly” is the only thing that supersedes “Best” on the skeeze-o-meter. Don’t be a lazy correspondent. Sign what you mean. If you don’t mean anything just put your name to it. 

  • Science

    Steve Pinker signs his emails “best” 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1157251270 Romanos Fessas

    Another example of this blog slipping swiftly into irrelevance. The content has devolved into neurotic divinations about the most obscure topics. People seem to be playing a sad game of semiotics, and the echo chamber sadly loves it. Find something better to write about.
    Best,

    Romanos

    • RAH

      Such a deep and dope comment. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1157251270 Romanos Fessas

    Another example of this blog slipping swiftly into irrelevance. The content has devolved into neurotic divinations about the most obscure topics. People seem to be playing a sad game of semiotics, and the echo chamber sadly loves it. Find something better to write about.
    Best,

    Romanos

  • Emily

    My boss signs his emails “With Optimism.” I love it!

  • reese

    TO AUTHOR- I LOVE THIS! I have been waiting for someone to share this thought! I have always thought that the “Best” sound off is disgustingly conceited. So thanks for this!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1198922828 Marianna Elvira

    “Best BBQ Ribs Six Years Running”
    LOL.

    Better,
    Marianna.

  • Anonymous

    But, but, but I just recently started signing my emails “Best” to look more professional!  Thanks a lot, TC!  WHAT AM I GOING TO DO NOW?

    Guess I’ll go back to my default signature.

    Stick it up yer ass,
    JEA

    • Anonymous

      Furthermore, that NYT article was written in 2006.  How is anything written about the Internet in 2006 still relevant today????

      Inquisitively,
      JEA

  • http://maxwellchance.wordpress.com Duke Holland of Gishmale

    Who cares? 

    • raige eubanks-barrow

      I care. I care all day long. But it’s my job to care. 

      • http://maxwellchance.wordpress.com Duke Holland of Gishmale

        Why the fuck would anyone pay someone to care about how other people end their emails? 

      • raige eubanks-barrow

        When the recipient of the email has $100,000,000.00 to give to you or another non-profit, you get paid to care. 

      • http://maxwellchance.wordpress.com Duke Holland of Gishmale

        You’re a douche. 

  • Kathrynahiggins

    I remember when I first encountered “best.” It was a signoff from a grad school professor I really admired, and it was totally new to me — circa 2007 I think. I thought it was an eloquent way to manage the awkward signoff thing — could imply best of whatever was relevant. Since then I have used it a lot (to death?) and, like every other phrase that becomes popular, it’s become lame. I subconsciously knew this — am always trying to think of better signoffs — but it took this article to confirm it for me.

    It’s not just about officespeak: as a mom and writer, I am often a supplicant:  please publish me, please give me information about my child, please give my child a scholarship — it’s difficult to think of a good signoff for all these different situations. I like the idea of always using the same signoff. Again, when you’re begging for something for your kid, it’s difficult. Perhaps I will say “Humbly yours.” Although I want to say “Snarkily yours.”

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