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What Your E-Mail Sign-Off Says About You

What Your E-Mail Sign-Off Says About You

We write so many e-mails nowadays, it's easy to just go through the motions (It wouldn't be surprising if the term "phone it in" is replaced by "e-mail it in" soon). This is mostly because we receive so many e-mails; the recipient will give it a quick read before motoring onto the next one. But those final words of your e-mail--the sign-off--are what usually stick. The sign-off is the last thing people see and it's the thing that props your name up. Why rush it?

Don't just throw a double-dash on there and be done with it--put some real thought into it. We've done exhaustive research into finding the true meanings behind the most popular e-mail sign-offs. You have no more excuses for using the wrong one.

"Best,"

What it conveys: "I'm cool, I wish you well, but let's be honest--I don't have much time for goodbyes." Just above the double-dash in the signoff hierarchy, "Best" is like the friend who leaves the bar early with a quick wave. "Cool guy," you think, "I wonder what cool party he's going to?"

"Thoughts?"

What it conveys: Ah crap, here comes Mr. "Thoughts," the most indecisive wiener there is. The person who signs their e-mails with "thoughts" lacks self-confidence, but doesn't have the strength or decency to end the conversation. Instead, he or she invites you to respond to their rambling e-mail with your "thoughts." Here's a thought: grow a backbone.

"Warm Regards,"

What it conveys: You know that teacher who wore really thick sweaters, smelled like cough drops, and told you encouraging things in hushed tones? That's the kind of person who writes, "Warm Regards." There's nothing explicitly wrong with it, but once it slips into "Warmest Regards" territory, you are allowed to report them as a sex offender.

"Sincerely,"

What it conveys: Rote and standard, "Sincerely" folks are by the book. Or are they? Are they being insincere? Ironic? Is this a joke to them? Was their entire e-mail sarcastic? Have they ever liked you? Are people BCC'd on this e-mail, laughing at you? Oh god, why did they sign it "Sincerely?" WHY CAN'T THEY JUST BE HONEST??

"Regards,"

What it conveys: Well well well, who do we have here? What a curious chap! A doff of my cap to you, Monsieur "Regards." Signing off before taking the carriage to the country for a fortnight of mirth and merriment?

Get bent, Regards.

"Love"

What it conveys: This is it. The big kahuna, the granddaddy of them all. If you sign-off with "Love," you better mean it. Did you know that your e-mails are saved on the Internet forever? You can't just throw "love" around like it'll disappear in an hour. When you write "love" on an e-mail, that love lasts forever, so use it sparingly.

Or, use it on your boss if you're trying to bait them into sexually harassing you. CHA-CHING!

[@nickgreene]


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