What your work email sign-off says about you as a person
"Cheers" or "Regards"? "Best" or "See you in hell"?
Wow, this email thang is pipsqueak, ain’t it? Tapping away, laying out all the relevant details, nice tone you’ve got there, friendly but not too keen, I like it - you’re good at this, a true email pro.
But oh no! What do you say at the end of it all? What comes just before your name? Do you go formal? Polite? Friendly? Kissy? How on earth are you supposed to round-off the damn thing?
This is the last thing your trusted recipient sees, so a bad exit could ruin the whole message, regardless of how beautiful the body is - get this wrong and you’re in deep shtook, my boy.
Thankfully, I’m here, on the internet, where I live, and I’ve got the relevant nous to kick out an absolute banger of an email. As such, I will wade through the many varying species of email sign-off, and tell you exactly what it says about you if you use them. Also, get out of my house.
Here we go:
You are a normal person, aren’t you? A real boy. You know how to write a work email; you know how to write a friendly one; you know how to write the tricky medium between the two. The everyman, the line down the middle, you are a human.exe.
OK, now we’re getting somewhere. Often, exclamation marks can be misconstrued - sometimes it may come across like you’re being a bit sacastic, a bit insincere - but when it comes after ‘Cheers’ I think everyone gets the message: you’re an amicable guy. Hey, cheers! for the press release! Cheers! for the reply! Cheers! for the HR meeting! Cheers! for the sack!
’Thanks’ is a lot like ‘Cheers’ but a bit nerdier, basically. Unless you’re specifically thanking the recipient for something, it’s not exactly needed, is it? ‘Cheers’ works across many levels, but ‘Thanks’ only really works as an expression of gratitude. You don’t say ‘Thanks’ when you leave your friends after the pub, but you might say ‘Cheers’. Keep it ‘Cheers’.
Thanks so much
Uhhhrgghh, you’re earnest, aren’t you? Again, unless someone has gone above and beyond to help you out in some way, using this will have the express effect of making you come across like some sort of endangered sea slug. A wet, easily distressed piece of matter, ready to be plucked from its home and trampled on by anyone that wants a go. Little baby sea slug, guts on the rocks.
Don’t say this because it makes me think of your actual arsehole.
I don’t think you’re allowed to use this until you reach about 42 years-old. If you say ‘Best’ when you are in your twenties, just be prepared for a flurry of wedgies on those M&S undies of yours. And wedgies hurt even more when they’re briefs. Trust me.
’Best’ is for organising 30-year school reunions, and that’s about it.
I guess this is the formal version of ‘Cheers’. It’s the job application sign-off, isn’t it? Although not if you’re going for a job in the media, in which case ‘Cheers’ is the end note du jour.
Using ‘Regards’ essentially goes some way to proving you’re not a maniac, but it doesn’t necessarily mark you out as one to watch. It’s the safe option, unless of course you follow it with ‘Bards Rards Lards Gards’ or something. Then you’ll stand out, but see also: you are a maniac.
A bit creepy, this one. I AM YOURS, it is saying, which is a bit heavy for an email about how much the company has been spending on milk.
Thanks for the spreadsheet, will chat to Steve in the morning.
I AM NOW YOURS FOREVER MY ONE AND ONLY NOTHING SHALL BREAK OUR BOND STEP INSIDE ME AND CURL WITHIN MY WELCOMING DIAPHRAGM
This is fine, sure. Best when sent to Brenda, I guess. An out-of-the-blue email to Brenda, organising a time to come and pick up her chrysanthemums. You don’t know her that well, but you know she sprouts a top-quality mum. Best wishes for you and your family, Brenda.
Wow, look at you playing adult! The big man, with the cufflinks, and the tie-clip, being absolutely, positively, 100% not sincere in any recognisable way.
I think this is only suitable if you are from a long time ago in the past. Like, you are a Victorian ghost or something.
In which case, props for working out how Outlook works - I’m an alive millennial and I still want to thread almost every email provider through an industrial laundry press every time I log on.
Yeah don’t say this because I don’t even think anybody says it out loud anymore.
In a bit
Don’t use this one unless you’re seeing the recipient in person that evening, or at a stretch, the next day. ‘In a bit’ is ominous, and it’s never wise to end an email with the potential for oncoming menace. It accidentally introduces threat into the conversation, like that time you emailed your boss who’d just had spinal surgery and signed off with ’Watch your back’.
Have a good one
Best only used on Friday, I’d say, because what does ‘one’ mean? An evening? A holiday? A sandwich? A wank? It’s too open to interpretation, and as an experienced expert in digital correspondence, the last thing you want is any ambiguity in your emails. Literally spelling things out is often not even enough to get the message across. This is not the time for riddles.
Ta for now
I think this is fine - in fact I quite like it. Although if you’re emailing someone in, say, America, it might fall on blind eyes. Chatting to Bogsy about the boat trip though, go for it.
Ah ‘bye’, that thing we used to say when leaving places! Unfortunately, it is now solely a word than only works as an addendum to punctuation-free jokes, for example:
I’ve just shat myself bye
I have seen this being used, and I don’t understand it. What is nice? Is the email nice? If so, thank you. Is the over-reaching sense of accomplishment this email has achieved nice? If so, fair enough. Is the weather nice? OK, but normally you reserve that for your opening paragraph. Are you doing a Borat impression? Please don’t. What is nice? WHAT IS SO NICE ABOUT THIS EXCHANGE?
’Nice’ can only be properly said in a small number of situations, and they are:
- When you throw the remote control to your flatmate and they catch it in one hand
- When you are opening post on your own. Applies to good or bad post
- When you’ve spent ages cooking a really nice pasta bake and then you take it out of the oven and immediately drop it
That’s about it. Stop using it to finish emails.
Reneging on plans again, are ya? Forgetting about meetings? Lying? Sorry is sometimes extremely essential to keep your job. Make good use of this word, for it is your friend and saviour, you turncoat worm.
This is the trickiest of all email sign-offs. Usually, the fail-safe way of using it is to wait until the other person has done it first, for they, thankfully, are far more reckless than you.
However, there is one good thing about the ‘x’: if you do it first because you fancy the other person, and they do it back, then that means that THEY DEFINITELY FANCY YOU 100% AND YOU ARE GOING TO GET MARRIED.
This is also a hard one to maneuver. I would keep this to firm and/or flirty friends, not for your boss. Basically, if they wouldn’t feel comfortable with you loudly going “MWAH MWAH” to their faces in real life, then don’t do it over email.
Oooh, big wow, you can type with your dick.
This can never come across as anything other than sarcastic. Ooooooh, take care, MATE, have a ‘lovely’ evening, yeah, look out for yourself, BUDDY, you’re the best, you ‘twat’.
No idea what this means. When do you start using ‘As ever’? It doesn’t make sense unless you follow it with ‘Cheers’ or something.
If it’s simply prefacing your name, and you are merely reminding me that as ever, you are Steven, then you’ve certainly planted a haunting seed of doubt in my mind there. Why should you need to reassure me that you are still the same person you were in your last email? I now suspect you are up to something, Steven, and will be contacting either your or my HR department, or the Ghostbusters.
Only do this if you are emailing someone you love, obviously.
Sent from my iPhone
Nobody likes a show-off.
Sent from Android
You’re alright by me.
Sent from Blackberry
You are dead.
I think both with and without an ‘s’ is fine. It’s casual, shows you don’t give a whoop ‘bout nuttin, and leaves the future open for subsequent correspondence - it’s a faithful all-rounder. Put a ‘z’ on the end though, and you need to feed both arms through a clothes mangle because you’re forbidden from doing emails now, Mr Flat Arms.
Do this for a bit and think it’s really cool and unique, before having the sudden realisation one day that it’s the worst thing ever and you sound like an arsehole, then immediately cease the pastime. (As told to the author.)
Ooop. You like a drink don’t you? Better let them know you like one, even if you never have any intention of actually getting one with them. You might even expressly hate both them and the idea of drinking with them, but lord knows you’re still gonna let them know that-a-you-like-a-tha-beerios.
Yes mate, top shop-talk, shooting that shit with sniper precision, as always, anyway, gotsta love ya and leave ya home-brew, got moves to make, people to see, targets to one-inch punch through the fucking upper deck, you know the score, beers soon, player, beers… soon… BEERS SOON…
We wish you all the best with your future endeavours
You are firing someone, you big bossman.
Fuck off/See you in hell
You have been fired, you big unemployedman.
Look, I don’t know what you’ve got yourself involved in here, and I don’t want to know. Ignorance is bliss - it’s your mess and you’ve got to fight your way out of it.
It’s either that or you have been fired, you big unemployedman.
This is an amazingly passive-aggressive way of signing off an email that responds to one you resolutely don’t agree with. Can also be followed with “maybe” or “let’s chat about it in the morning”, if you really want to disregard everything that has been said in the previous message. It’s a great reset button, basically.
Bit culturally insensitive, this. Probs best to say “Adios!” to it.
I’ve never seen this but I’m going to do a little trial run with it. Will let you know how it goes.
This is an interesting tactic. If there is no sign-off in the first email, then it’s either a mistake, a transparent and rude power-play or it’s simply ignorant. However, it can fully be excused if you’ve been on a long email chain where each new message comes at a frequency similar to an instant messaging chat. In that case, one sentence emails are completely fine - you don’t even need a greeting.
The only other time this is acceptable, and possibly welcomed, is if you have sent an email that consists solely of a single picture of a big pair of knickers or something equally immature. A picture blows a thousand raspberries.
Best done when sending an email to facilities about the men’s toilets.
\YoU aRe A rObOt//
Hopefully that’s comprehensive enough for you, and you can glean some helpful advice from my sweaty diatribe. If, for some reason, you need any more help, then below is an example of the perfect email, taking into account what I have written above.
Follow this foolproof template and you’ll be King Communication in no time:
Thanks very much for this, will loop it back to the rest of the team and see what they think. I’m sure the air conditioning issue will ruffle a few feathers! With regards to the end of year party, you’ll need to run the nunchucks proposal past Kate first - it’s not my place to say!
Anyway, hope you smash it this weekend - we’re all rooting for you.
Regards Bards Rards Lards Gards GET SOME BIG BEERZ IN ME THIS INSTANT oh thanks so much I love you ZOINKS I actually LOVE YYYOOOUU KISS KISS XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX no but seriously fuck off I hope you die no but seriously
(Images: Mia Baker/iStock)