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Wayne Post
  • Anne Palumbo: What's been keeping me up at night

  • Is it just me? Or do others struggle with how to end an e-mail?
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  • Is it just me? Or do others struggle with how to end an e-mail?
    Lately, I've been having the hardest time with this task. Not all e-mails, mind you, but enough to keep me up at night.
    Sure, I may be "sign-off sensitive," but, honestly, I don't think I'm alone here. I think others are tossing and turning, too.
    Let me explain what I'm talking about. When I'm doing business communications, I typically sign off with "Regards," which basically means "Good wishes." On occasion, however, I sign off with "Kind regards." Beats me why I add "Kind," but I can only guess it's because I'm feeling effusive after several cups of coffee. Either that, or I need something, pronto.
    All would be good with "Kind regards," but for this conundrum: At times, I get trumped with a responding e-mail that ends, "Kindest regards." Kindest? Man, oh man, what on earth do you do with that? Match it? Scale things back? Attempt to trump the trump?
    On one occasion, and after much deliberation, I decided to trump the trump with a "Warmest regards." But, I must confess, it didn't feel comfortable, at all. I am not a "Warmest" or a "Warmly" kind of correspondence-ender. It's way too touchy-feely for me. No surprise: I spent the night worrying about how the recipient of this latest sign-off might interpret my balmy wishes.
    I also sweat bullets over how to end e-mails to certain family members and relatives. See if you can relate to this scenario. Recently, I got back in touch with a long-lost cousin. Oh, the joy of catching up! The giggles over shenanigans we pulled as kids at family reunions! Of course, every e-mail in the beginning ended with "Love."
    But after we had drilled through all the nostalgic stuff and our e-mail pace slackened, well, it seemed weird to be signing off with "Love." And so, after spending an entire day agonizing about the shift I knew I had to make, I began to slowly scale back, starting first with some "XOXO's." After I felt I had exhausted that sign-off, I then moved on to "Hugs." In short order, she introduced the bland "Take care," where we have remained since.
    Just yesterday I started to question my stock e-mail sign-off: "Thanks." I'm ashamed to say I adopted it because it was straightforward and inoffensive. But, really…"Thanks"? Thanks, for what? Thanks for letting me drone on and on about nothing? Thanks for letting me edit your 10-page article for free?
    Clearly, I have sign-off issues. Perhaps my best bet is to sign off with nothing but my name. Short and to the point. Too sterile? Okay, then, how about a little squiggle before my name to soften things? Still too curt? Well, what about…OMG! Shoot me now!
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