Liz pointed me to an interesting article titled “When “Best’ Isn’t Good Enough” by Judith Newman.
In a medium where it is often oddly difficult to interpret tone, where the lines of friendship, love and business are easily muddied, and where people are sometimes a little too eager to shine brightly in the drab sludge of daily missives, something as seemingly trivial as an e-mail signoff can loom large. It can be a clue to both the personality of the sender and the standing that the recipient has in his or her social universe. It can enlighten, amuse and enrage — sometimes all at once.
How do you sign your emails?
Nov 8th, 2010 / 7:23 pm
I can’t believe someone would sign off their e-mails with a Carpe Diem?! I am European, but isn’t that a bit tacky to do – even in the States?
Nov 8th, 2010 / 7:37 pm
Most of the time, I leave it with a:
(“Thanks a lot” or “Thank you very much” if what I’m asking for is really important)
If I’m not asking, but commenting and it’s longer than 2 paragraphs, I’ll put a:
“Let me know what you think.” or “Let me know if this doesn’t make any sense”.
Nov 8th, 2010 / 9:02 pm
The Jesuits used to sign their correspondence with sentences such as
“humiliated penitent server”, “minimal and obsequious servant”.
Nov 8th, 2010 / 9:22 pm
Nov 8th, 2010 / 11:52 pm
In many circumstances, I interpret “Best” as “[email protected]#& off”. Or at least, that’s the way I use it.
I like “Thanks” or “Have a good day” (I’m Canadian), or more for good friends, “xx”. I have only signed “Love” when I was corresponding with my now-husband who was half a world away for a few months.
Nov 9th, 2010 / 10:03 am
Utmost love and distant beckonings,
This email is intended only for the individual(s) to whom it is addressed and may be a confidential communication protected by law. If you are not the individual to which this email is addressed please step away from your computer as it is about to self destruct. If you are the addressed individual please look directly into the center of your monitor for a retinal scan. If you do not have retinas please step away from your computer as it is about to self destruct. If you are the addressed individual but do not have retinas please accept our apologies.
Nov 9th, 2010 / 12:28 pm
I’m very sad that this is something people are dedicating their time and thought cycles to. Who cares? “The medium is the message” is bad enough, we’re going all the way to “the final salutation is crucial”? This is not what I want communication to be.
Nov 9th, 2010 / 12:29 pm
I’ve used “take care” for most business and personal correspondence. I purposefully deviate from this if I’m uncertain of cultural norms (for some, “take care” means “watch out!”), if I wish to show deference, or if I wish to be cold or distant. “Kind regards” is the generic fallback.
By setting a baseline tone to your messages – and a closing contributes to this – it’s possible to add a bit of your personality and nuance to the tone of your message. I work in big pharma, writing dozens of messages each day to people of varying business importance and cultural and educational backgrounds. To sherrod’s point, above, I’d be negligent to think that any part of my messages could be insignificant. You may think it’s less than crucial, but a misstep could easily color the attitude of your audience.
Nov 9th, 2010 / 3:47 pm
ps: the reader comments on that piece are quite interesting: http://community.nytimes.com/comments/www.nytimes.com/2010/11/07/fashion/07CULTURAL.html
Nov 10th, 2010 / 12:49 am
Best or Have a nice day/evening/weekend
or in german LG = Liebe Grüße= Greetings,
& Independent Artist
Nov 10th, 2010 / 7:24 am
If it’s called for, I put
If not, just
Nov 10th, 2010 / 12:08 pm
NEVER EVER LEAVE best.
ooof. It just sounds lazy and jargony to me. I’ve hated it since the first one I received.
Nov 10th, 2010 / 7:49 pm
Pay attention to how you sign off and consider what is helpful to your reader. Note to people sending e-mails from their corporate accounts – there must be an alternative to a paragraph of (Cover-Your-Ass) legal jargon which no one reads anyways.
In our response to this article – at the http://www.liska.com/blog – we joked that the following would NOT be a great way to end an e-mail.
If you have received this comment in error, too bad. If it contains proprietary information not intended for this blog but for another blog whose web address we screwed up, then please securely delete, trash and remove from here to eternity and whatever you do – don’t print it out on anything but 100% recycled paper – unless you have considered otherwise. Thank you.
Nov 11th, 2010 / 10:55 am