Sincerely, kind of, but not really

[This post will run high on the “seriously, could you come up with a less important blog post?” list of all-time lamest posts, but I am, at least, in earnest when I pose the following question:]

How should I close emails?

Of course I want to know how you sign off on electronic correspondence. And voicemail messages, if pertinent. But I can’t pull off what many of you more interesting, cosmopolitan, and sociable people can. So the way you close emails might be, at the very least, irrelevant; and, more likely, quite depressing. For you are, by definition, cooler than I am. And any reminder of that is wince-worthy.

I cannot, for instance, sign an email “ciao”. I know a glamorous former professor who can pull that off, and a woman who studied in Italy for a decade. I am not not that cool.

I can’t abide “sincerely,” for most often I’m not all that sincere in my communiques. “Sarcastically,” strikes a bit too close to home. “Bipolarly,” perhaps?

“Peace,” seems pretentious used by anyone but the Dalai Lama.

“Later,” seems too juvenile.

“—My Name” is too cold and too byline-ish.

“Warmly,” is a blatant lie.
“Cheers,” is a possibility but might lead me to cave in and start the binge drinking.
“See ya,” is unseemly and “hasta” is inscrutable. “Toodles,” gives me a nervous tic.
“Yours,” is revolting.

“Barely hanging in there,” seems too honest. So does, “yours in cookies.”

So what do you propose?

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20 thoughts on “Sincerely, kind of, but not really

  1. I had a coworker who would passive-aggressive group e-mails with “Yours in servitude…”

    I just pulled up a dozen e-mails to see if I had a standard closing, and realized that I tend to just stop talking. These are all personal, so the recipients know it’s me, and so I just…cease.

    May I recommend “Trembling in anticipation, Naptime” ?

  2. Sometimes I just do my first initial (a tic I picked up many years ago in college, but back then I did it lower-case because I was sort of emo at the time). If it’s for work, I’ll do “Thanks,”; if personal, sometimes I’ll finish off with “Hope all’s well,”. The initial is a constant. I should change that; it’s probably obnoxious.

  3. “Toodles!!!!!!!11111!!!!!!”

    Just kidding. I say “All the best” for formal stuff, usually.

    To friends? Could be anything. Depends on the frivolity of my mood. Most commonly, though, it’s “xoxo.”

  4. If it is personal i say “love and more love!!” or xoxoxoxoxoooxxxx or some combination of the two. For formal emails I say “all the best” and then my name.

  5. A thorny question indeed. I think I choose between Cheers, Best, Lots of hugs and xoxo, and for Spanglish folks and wannabes, either Saludos, Abrazos or Besos.

    However, I fail to see the problem with “yours in cookies”. I think it’s a keeper.

  6. I use “thanks” for the people I don’t wish immediate and violent death upon. “Regards” for students and other peons who incur the (albeit passive-aggressive) wrath. “Loveya” or “hugs” for family and friends who live far enough away that they won’t drop by.
    “Swimming in crap” might fall in there with “yours in cookies”.

  7. Oh, how I love how you make me laugh! And your commenters only added to my mirth!

    My aunt closes all of her correspondence with TTFN. I forgive her because she is elderly.

    Bipolarly yours is my choice!

  8. I usually end emails with “Best,” “Cheers,” “Thanks,” “All the best,” or just my initials, which conveniently spell out “meh,” which is usually about how I feel at the end of an email. I give you permission to appropriate my initials if you so wish.

  9. “Best” for reasons given by squadratomagico; “Thanks” (often with !) when I’m cheerfully(ish) asking a colleague for something. “Love” for friends and family.

    My dean uses “yours”, which I actually find sort of charming and collegial, but it’s not a good fit for me. I think maybe I don’t feeling charming most of the time. ;)

  10. jc, I may just end them with GFY. And that may be why I have so few friends…

    Falling, the tremblingly anticipatory choice is lovely. But it makes me think, maybe, “with much trepidation, Nappy”

    Daryl, the lowercase initial is, and has been, my sign off for as long as there’s been email. And I often offset it with the formatting-safe triple hyphen then initial. I’m sure *yours* doesn’t seem obnoxious, but mine does to me.

    Sarah and Ink, it is between your offerings that I’d like to lie. Full fathoms five, really. But somewhere between no closure and hugs and kisses…wherefore art thou, perfect closing?

    Squadrato, “best” is lovely. I just can’t seem to make it fly off my fingertips. Need therapy, perhaps.

    Macondo, there’s something to the “saludos” that echos “cheers” in wishing health and goodness. Wish I could pull off aloha, because that’s just awesome, linguistically speaking.

    Jane, these readers amuse me, too. TTFN is adorable if she’s over 80, tolerable over 60. ;-)

    KBro, “love and more love” may actually turn the curmudgeon in me to a patient, Christopher Robinesque figure. How sweet.

    Kim, overthinking is what I do best, and if I can force you into my dungeon, I’m happy for the company.

    Fie, I’d love to appropriate MEH. I have the shirt, might as well use the name.

    Leslie, I could see “yours” working for a male, but it feels way too owned for my taste.

    Heather, I do have an affection for the tilde and may just replace my —n with ~N. But it takes too much left-handed dexterity. Or sinisterity…whatever.

  11. I agonize over this too in work situations when you want to seem nice but not too personal. The right amount of distance needs to be maintained so you can grow relationship without seeming overstepping any real or imagined line. I use Cheers. But this becomes a problem when something sad or unfortunate is conveyed in the email. In this situation or more formal ones, I use Best Regards. Now, the family (in-laws) has been using Love in emails. Let’s just say I am not crazy about my SIL so I always feel like such a sellout when I write LOVE…

  12. We have a “Meh” society for those of us underachievers who could just care less. Call me on it. I try to sign off with a different line for everyone. Just to keep me on my toes and to keep them all guessing. Commonly: thanks (if I want something), yours (if I feel like your slave), cheers (if I’m in an especially good mood or just want to fool you into thinking so), the single initial (when I’m lazy), hugs (if I actually miss you), love (but only if I really do). Occasionally I think a good ol’ “etc.” ought to suffice. And sometimes I just stop talking, I mean really, they know it’s from me, they knew before they opened it. Maybe “bye” as in “this conversation is over”.
    I vote for “yours in cookies” it seems the most honest and least pretentious. (and also? thanks for the giggle)

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