Closing an Email

I was casting around my brain (and the Internet) for topics to blog about today, and I found inspiration here. The author of the post believes that “Best” is the worst way to close an email. I don’t particularly care for “Best” myself, but I wouldn’t consider it the worst by any means. On the whole, I think email closings aren’t something to get terribly worked up about because no matter which one you pick, you’re going to get on someone’s nerves. Unless you habitually sign your emails “F*** off” (in which case, you probably won’t be getting all that many emails).

Because they’re so ubiquitous, email closings come off as insincere, no matter how polite and well thought out they may seem. At work, I use “Thank you” most of the time, and I do sincerely mean it (and when I don’t mean it, I don’t use it). Some people use “Thx,” which is fine for people you know well, but I never use it. Seeing “THX” always reminds me of going to the movie theater. But if I’m rushed and exchanging a quick volley of emails with someone, I will close with just my name, or sometimes go without any closing at all (although it makes me feel like I’m sending a text message).

A closing that bugs me more than “Best” is “Cheers.” It has always struck me as inappropriate for work (and I always picture the person holding a beer stein), but it doesn’t bother me for personal use (although I never use it). I’m also bothered (in a business context) when people use just their first initial as a closing, although I don’t have a good reason for disliking it. It’s just a pet peeve.

For personal use, I tend to sign off with just my name, sometimes with a tilde next to it (~Maggie), probably because it’s a habit left over from the days when I used to use the emoticon ^_^ in every email. I still use emoticons in personal emails (and in blog posts/comments), but at work, I only use them if the other person uses them first — I know they rub some people the wrong way.

So… which closings get on your nerves?

7 thoughts on “Closing an Email

  1. I agree with you, “Best” is not the best, but it is far from the worst. For just one example, I could close my work emails like this:

    ROCK ON, DUDE! \nn/

    See, that’s worse.

    As for me, it goes like this:

    At work:

    I don’t use “cheers,” because the person who I email with in the UK uses that, so I figure that’s one of those English things that are affected and annoying when Americans do it, like using the word “bespoke,” or the phrase “spot on.”

    A lot of times I end up closing my work emails with “Thank you,” even when the person hasn’t done anything thank-worthy. I don’t think anyone has ever noticed. I know that other blogger would disapprove, but I don’t really care enough to think of something better. As long as it’s perceived as being generally polite, and it doesn’t encourage people to come to my cubicle and annoy me, I’m happy.

    Personal:

    Mostly I use “As B/4,” which is from Gravity’s Rainbow, where it is credited (accurately or not) to John Dillinger. That’s more than enough coolness for me. 🙂

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    • Yup, pretty much. I will use my “Thank you” until someone calls me out on it (and then I will probably assume they were having a bad day and use it anyway).

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  2. It truly is surprising how coincidental this post is for me, I only recently (yesterday) changed my signature. Actually removed the template which used to get inserted in places and at times I wished it didn’t. I’d always been a little uncomfortable with templated siggies, always felt they’re akin to templated birthday wishes – canned and timed to send without much human touch. But it is such a fad in my professional circles that I believed it’d be rude to not do that.

    Now that I think of it, if you spend even a minute to write a mail, it just makes sense to allow a few conscious strokes to do a more suitable closing.

    The ones to bug me the most are those which come along with quotations and clippings. It’s understood to flag a stance on profile, dedicating even a full page. But having five sentences belonging to Mark Twain auto-inserted every time in a long running correspondence is something i believe one must have ‘some’ reservations about.

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    • I don’t set my email signature to default, so I can choose when it’s appropriate and when it’s not. It’s just contact information, but it’s still annoying to see someone’s big blocky signature over and over again.

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