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The Definitive Rankings of Email Sign-Offs

This is how to end a professional business email, and not sound like a cyborg.

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Recently, I followed my heart. After years of trying to sound cool, calm, and remotely together in the digital realm, I gave up on my professional persona and exposed us all for what we are in “The Definitive Ranking of Email Greetings”. Yep, all of us creative professionals are a bunch of bumbling freaks trying to seem casual when writing emails.

So consider this a continuation, because you can’t start an email without having to end it. Think of this as the second-half of a decades-long story-in-the-making. Take a seat and hold onto your butts because this is the official ranking of email sign-offs.

Illustrations by Marne Grahlman
marnegrahlman.com, built using Format

“Regards …”

… You yell from the convertible you just bought with the money you’ve somehow swindled from whoever it is you’re emailing. You lift your satin-gloved hand and wave regally before finish your email/last nail in the coffin with a strong, “Regards, Keyser Söze.”

“Best regards …”

You are a cyborg because this isn’t a thing real people say.

“Cool!”

Because you are. You are so cool you do not need to email in a professional manner even remotely. You are Captain Cool of the Cool Squad, cooling it up all over the city. Are you reading this from a skateboard? Do you love microbrew? Somehow, regardless of hat or updo, if you shake out your hair it looks magnificent. We get it: you’ve met Jeff Goldblum once and he didn’t immediately ask you to go away.

“Best …”

I mean, you should best hope that whoever you’re writing to isn’t a friend, because you’ve just ushered yourself into years of animosity. “Best” is what Richard said to Samantha on Sex and the City before he was revealed as a Wall Street incarnation of Satan. “Best” is a wink and a smile as you whisper “I’m having you fired” loud enough only for your recipient to hear. “Best” is what Scar said to Mufasa before pushing him off the cliff.

“Thanks!”

This is a lie. You are not thankful. This is as sincere as shouting “Thank you!” at a person who didn’t hold open the door despite you carrying 42 pizzas. “Thanks!” is reserved for a tone that very clearly means business. “Thanks!” you type as John McClane, emailing Hans Gruber to ask that he please release the hostages. He writes back, “Surrender yourself first—thanks!” And eventually you’re no longer wearing shoes.

[NOTHING]

Hello darkness, my old friend. You are cold. You are calculating. You know what you want. You get whatever that thing is. You wear blazers on weekends. You answer your cell phone with a definitive, “YES?” You wear a watch and you use that watch. You understand wine. You drink black coffee. You have never been asked to leave the Olive Garden. You’ve used a tailor outside having to have your bridesmaid’s dress taken out after you ordered one two sizes too small out of sheer incompetence. You are absolutely not reading this piece, so why am I even bothering.

“Cheers!”

You have watched one to two hours of The Office (UK), congratulations.

“Sincerely …”

Oh well la-dee-da, Professor Writes-A-Lot. Apologies for this email taking precious time away from you refilling your ink and ordering a new set of quill pens. Is it difficult not to handwrite every response, fold it delicately into a handmade envelope, and seal it with wax? Was it expensive to have your family crest made into a stamp you’ve only been able to use once or twice? Do you prefer being called “Will” or does “Shakespeare” make you a little more comfortable? Are your eyes strained from those nights spent writing by candlelight? I suddenly feel very underdressed without my waistcoat and ascot.

“Yours …”

Under absolutely zero circumstances. Fire yourself.

“Love …”

It takes guts to be free of inhibition, to be free, to embrace your deep-seated feelings and capacity for human emotion. But if you ever sign off an email with “Love,” you should call the police on yourself for being wildly inappropriate, you sentimental ghoul.

“XOXOXOXOXOX”

You’ve done it, you’ve acted like a fool in professional correspondence. Due to your big bleeding heart, you will inevitably do it again and realize you’ve sent another client a virtual make-out as a sign-off.



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