Several days ago, a romantic interest signed an email, “Regards.”
At first, I didn’t give the closing much thought. However, as time marched on and I read the email again and again and…well, again, the sign off became more and more unsettling. Eventually, the word stood out to me, cold and sterile as stainless steel. What, in fact, did he mean by “Regards?”
Naturally, I looked to Google for insight and was elated when I stumbled upon Keith Wolf’s article, “Signing Off” in the February 3rd issue of HARBUS. Finally, a chance at clarity. Keith reassured me that I was not the only one grappling with this monumental issue. To my relief, his inquiry around “Regards” was as circular as mine. Ah ha! I’m not crazy. “Regards” is a terribly un-ended way to end. What exactly do you expect me to glean from “Regards?” Why not just sign off with “Unaffectionately Yours” or “D’uh…I’m not interested in you?” Pshaw, c’mon now.
Reading Morgan McKenney’s follow-up to Keith’s list of ridiculous email closings furthered my concern. Her take on “Regards”, summed up with the warning, “Run!! Run, Jane, RUN,” was dead on. Obviously, my romantic interest has no idea what a bodacious babe I am.
In sum, our advice: Unless you’re aristocracy, save your “Regards” ’til further notice.
Inspired by Keith and Morgan, here’s our contribution to the conversation on email sign -offs.
Talk to you soon
This can be misleading in certain contexts. When used in the literal sense, a verbal exchange will take place in the near future. However, senders who haven’t used a phone since the advent of email give recipients a false sense of hope that an actual conversation will occur at some point. A more accurate sign off in this case would be, “I’ll write/email again soon.” And what about all the guys out there who use this phrase even though they have no intention of continuing email correspondence, or talking to the person on the phone or face-to-face? Although we’ve never experienced this first hand (ahem), we’ve heard that it can be disappointing.
Keepin’ it Real
This is a good closing if you typically use greetings such as “yo”, “damn, girl” and “wuzzup.” If you’ve ever worn Brooks Brothers and/or don’t know P. Diddy’s former name, please don’t use this expression.
This traditional letter-writing sign off is synonymous with unctuous terms such as “Smooches” and “xoxo.”
Huh? Is there a casting call for Clueless, the sequel?
Don’t tell me what to do. I don’t have to enjoy your email if I don’t want to. On the other hand, if you’re going to forward jokes or anecdotes that are an absolute riot, e.g. the fairly recent NY Times spoof from nerve.com entitled, “Weddings, Celebrations, and Booty Calls,” then “Enjoy” may be viewed as an appropriate insert.
This dresses up a naked “Love” very nicely.
Goodbye for Now
This one exceeds the cheesiness meter. If you’re neither a comic book superhero nor a romance novelist, you should be embarrassed for using this one. (FYI, this is translated by Californians as “Catch you on the flip flop,” a localized rendition of “Catch ya later”).
This falls into the same category as “Take Care,” as opposed to closings like “Don’t get cancer,” or “You better wear a scarf outside or you’ll catch a cold.” “Be Good” is a grammatically incorrect variation that should only be used when emailing with friends and loved ones who are less educated than you are.
This one is particularly timely given the current state of the world. As in times past, it could also be used by folks who have issues with closure in their lives.
This Journey song topped the charts eons ago. No need to bring it back to life.
Don’t be a Stranger
This is a hokier version of “Keep in Touch” and should only be used by residents of southern and select mid-Western states.
Gotta Go/Gotta Run
This is the classic default closing, a.k.a. “I’m incapable of coming up with a more clever sign off.” This is also commonly used by lazy people who want to give their friends the impression that they are so incredibly busy that they have very little time to write, but in actuality, are just sitting around watching re-runs of the current season of Road Rules, waiting for a lone message to appear in their Inbox. Furthermore, this is a very abrupt way of closing an email, and can be rather off-putting. It is not recommended when corresponding with a new love interest or supervisor.