“Hi Kirsty,” I once wrote to a woman at an agency named Kimberley (no, not that type of agency). I’d gotten her name completely wrong despite her having contacted me first, and at once made myself look like a overtly rude, selfish corporate dick when actually I’m really nice. My embarrassed apologies in the next email were handled graciously, even though I was racked with panicky guilt, convinced that Kirsty would have seen it and mumbled ‘wanker’ under her breath.
But getting names wrong could be the least of my worries considering Bloomberg have come out recently with a helpful guide as to the best way to sign off emails (spoiler: ‘best’ is the worst. Don’t do it). Frankly, it’s terrifying. And if the purpose of that study was to make me think of all the way I sign off emails make me sound like a bastard, well, it’s succeeded. Here are some sign-offs that you probably use, and if you’re anything like, what they really mean.
1. ‘Kind regards’
The first contact email or the go-to safe option for people you don’t know. When you think about it, it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. I’m not regarding anything, especially you, and I’m certainly not doing it kindly.
Translation: “I don’t know you and I probably wouldn’t like you if I did. I don’t need a response from you and if I do, I don’t want one. Let us conclude our business so I can get along with more important things. If I need you to do something, fucking do it quickly.”
Colder than a Finnish ice bath and possibly accompanied by white-hot rage. Replaces ‘kind regards’ when you want to send a clear message that you despise everything about the recipient and what they stand for.
Translation: “Fuck you.”
3. ‘Best wishes’
Reserved for people you may actually like, though occasionally tinged with a hint of exasperation.
Translation: “I haven’t found sending this email to be among the most irritating things I’ve done today and because I don’t hate you with the heat of a thousand suns, I do wish you well. However, I want this conversation to end.”
Close to ‘regards’ in its level of naked hostility, but more dismissive. Rarely ever said in gratitude.
Translation: “ENOUGH. Stop talking to me, take two minutes to think about this and work it out yourself. If I never speak to you again it will be too soon.”
5. ‘Warm regards’
Who says this? Conjures images of being desperately hugged by a sweaty stranger in a suit. Get your warmth away from me, this is an intimacy-free zone, weirdo.
Translation: “I have no social skills.”
BANTS. You are on such a comfortable social level with this person that you would tolerate their company. You can also rest assured that this person probably won’t mind if you screw up, either. (“Sorry about that massive data loss. Cheers”)
Translation: “Let’s get smashed if we ever run into each other in person”
Written by people who believe they are too important to write you an email, peasant, and they’d like you know it.
Translation: “I vote Tory.”
7. ‘Yours sincerely’
Hey, Price and Prejudice, this isn’t a parking fine letter from the City Council. Get over yourself.
Translation: “I am brain-dead”.
If anyone can think of any more, post below.