Who doesn’t write emails these days? Most of us do.
My dad doesn’t. As far as I know, he doesn’t delve into anything connected to the internet. I’d bet that Amish people don’t either (my dad is not amish).
Anyhow, this post is not about them. My dad misses much of what is going on with extended family because he chooses not to do the email thing. Decades ago he helped develop rare-earth magnets used by NASA in the space program, but emailing is an issue. Curious. That’s OK, everyone’s choice.
Those reading this post use emails. And probably, a high percent of us depend on emails for work. Without emails, we might as well be in the stone age.
The question pondered by many is how to close routine business emails. By far and away, most end with some form of regards. Best regards is the email equivalent of ending a letter with sincerely. And sending a little regards is nice. It’s polite and it’s customary.
But can sending too many regards become too much? How much or many regards, especially the best type, can a person reasonably accept in a day? Or dish out? Everyday. There must be an overabundant supply.
If sending an email to someone you haven’t communicated with for a while, a best regards might be the best way to end a message. After all, no need to over-think the ending. The message may have naturally deserved better than an ordinary regards. Sometimes they may deserve the best. But when communication is more frequent, daily, or even several times per day, could over-regarding lose it’s endearment and become filler?
You might say that signing off as regards is akin to saying over on a walkie talkie, or 10/4 on a CB radio. It’s a form of letting the other know that the communication has (temporarily) ended. It’s nicer than writing “the end” or “good bye.” We need a tidy way to end messages. It’s normal. We end handwritten letters with a variety of closings and we say bye on the telephone, sometimes it’s even good.
For business emails, we love regards. And there are several varieties of regards flying around, from best regards, to b rgds, to kind or warm regards. Kind is kind enough, but if I’m receiving a regards, I think I’d prefer it warm or best. Kind is differentiating yourself from best. It’s kind. But it’s not the best. (I was cheated by kindness and received less than best.)
Then there are those who simply close with best. Best what? Best and no regards? Good, better, best? Saving key strokes best? I’d like to be short and sweet, to-the-point best? I don’t want to regards you to death best?
For those into keystroke savings, I like my niece’s email closures. Granted, they are family business emails and she simply signs off with e. A brother P and a friend M also sign off with their first initials in Caps. I’ve taken to the FS sign off for personal emails. Sometimes the diminutive fs, (depending on whether I’m sitting up straight or slouching at the time of sign off).
Personal endings are personal. The options are limitless and individual and this post is not going there. For business, regards of some form seems to be the norm. It’s overdone in many cases where the regards has become more than it is, especially when the correspondence is more than infrequent.
Hey, I’m not saying that you might not want to wish someone the very Best regards, or the most Kind regards, or even Warm regards. Those could be very appropriate for periodic mails. But for back and forth emails, it’s kind of, well, blatant. It waters down the meaning to the point where it’s obvious filler.
Many people use auto signatures for their emails – a good idea for making contact information easy reference. Auto-ing best, kind, warmest, sincerely, or other filler words is too obvious. It’s non-personal when the idea is to be business personal.
I’ve been receiving a lot of thanks sign-offs lately. Maybe because I send lots of thanks. Or many thanks (have a boatload). Sometimes it turns into a Thanks and Best regards. It all depends on whether we are buying or selling. For every business email, there is a buyer and a seller. The strength of position most times determines (not always), the degree of politeness, hence the magnitude of regards.
Whatever the sign off, something rather than nothing, even if it’s initials, makes a the communiqué just that, a message nicely tied up with an ending. It’s when business emails turn into chat messages, with no salutation or endings, where we really get a little too efficient, especially when it’s a thanks, with a “reply to all.” No thanks.
For those who have suffered through this and do not send business emails, hey, it’s nothing personal. I’m sending you heartfelt thanks and the best, warmest and kindest regards. It may even be sincere.
For those who do send business emails, WARNING: an overload of supercharged regards could numb your senses.