Written communication used to have very clear guidelines; as schoolchildren, most of us were taught the proper way to open and close a letter. But in this ever-changing world of emails and texts, the rules have become much more fuzzy – how casual is too casual? When does formality turn into stiffness? With that in mind, I’ve presented some of the most common ways to end an email – and what each may say about its sender!*
You are old school in the manner of a charming, slightly-spacey college professor who sighs sadly about the nature of “kids these days”. You’d probably prefer to be using a typewriter, and your hand keeps involuntarily twitching for Wite-Out. You’re wearing tweed right now, aren’t you? AREN’T YOU?
At your core, you’re afraid of commitment. Your walls are still painted white, even though you’ve got a selection of paint samples in the basement. When hugging others, you often include a nice non-threatening pat on the back. You have four pairs of black pants that are indistinguishable from each other. Sometimes, you stare out the window and wonder why you feel so alone, so very alone… then you cancel lunch plans with your sister.
All my best,
Your spirit animal is a golden retriever who’s been cooped up in the house all day – and company just came to the door. You just want to be friends! You just want people to like you! You’ve so carefully crafted this email to be friendly and polite! Hahahaha nobody can tell that you are quivering with stress behind every “please” and “thank you!” You’re just friendly, friendly, friendly, FRIENDLY OH GOD WHY WON’T ANYONE RESPOND TO MY LAST TEXT?!!
See “All my best” but with 50% more caffeine and anxiety.
You enjoy mid 19-century English novels and pictures of fuzzy kittens. Love Actually is your favorite movie. You dabble in crocheting, and often mist up at commercials. You probably write your grandmother with regularity and make the rest of us look bad.
You favor flowing scarves and are inches away from a full-on nervous breakdown.
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In your fantasies, you are dictating every email to a personal assistant while lounging on a yacht in the French Riviera. Jay-Z and Beyonce (you just call her ‘Yonce’) will be dropping by later for a light snack of zebra tartar and gold-flavored liqueur. You MUST remember to tell Pablo to chill the meat adequately this time – honestly, there’s nothing worse than lukewarm zebra.
In reality, you work in public relations.
You have signed one too many office greeting cards.
You are midway through a pretty painful breakup.
You are willfully destroying the English language.
Oho, look at you, Mr. Busy! Oh, someone is too busy to sign off like the rest of us! What are you, the PRESIDENT? Whatever, man, let your email just dribble off into oblivion, we do not even care. Nobody is impressed.
PS: we are all scared of you and crave your approval
Yes, Craig, everybody has heard about your semester in London 15 years ago. Yes, it was totally life-changing, because in the U.K. people speak English. Yes, it was a real cultural shock to hear fries called “chips” and chips called “crisps.” Yes, yes, ‘cheers’ to you, ‘mate’, pip-pip and cheerio and Oh God please don’t make us watch your slideshow again.
You are late American playwright Tennessee Williams.
*I have used all of these signoffs at various times – yes, my friends, I am guilty, guilty, guilty of all offenses. What other signoffs have you seen? What are your personal favorites? Least favorites? Leave them in the comments!
Kate Hamill is a freelance writer, playwright, and actor. She lives in New York City and consumes a truly frightening amount of Sriracha daily. Follow her on Twitter at @katerone.