I intended it as shorthand for something like, “Until next time, I wish you my very best.” But by beginning the signoff with a word that references , it comes off as rather self-centered—the exact opposite of what I intended. Might some of my friends, co-workers, and acquaintances have believed that, for all these years, I meant not to wish them well but to imply that the preceding note was basically the best I could come up with on the topic at hand? Now, as with any long-overdue movement aimed at upsetting the status quo, our efforts will be met by protestations and bellyaching from the old guard. Without them, wouldn’t email become too detached and impersonal? In the end, it will make things easier on everyone. It felt good to write the corresponding message: “Here’s the piece on how email signoffs are the worst and why we should get rid of them for good. No “Hello,” no “Take care,” or “Best,” or, heaven forbid, “My very best.” A few hours later, I received the following response: “Looks good. More soon.” And, for that moment at least, all was right with the world.
And so has the era when individuals sought to win the favor of the king via dedication letters and love notes ending with “Your majesty’s Most bounden and devoted,” or “Fare thee as well as I fare.” Also long gone are the days when explorers attempted to ensure continued support for their voyages from monarchs and benefactors via fawning formal correspondence related to the initial successes of this or that expedition.
Francisco Vázquez de Coronado had good reason to end his 1541 letter to King Charles I of Spain, relaying details about parts of what is now the southwestern United States, with a doozy that translates to “Your Majesty’s humble servant and vassal, who would kiss the royal feet and hands.” But in 2013, when bots outnumber benefactors by a wide margin, the continued and consistent use of antiquated signoffs in email is impossible to justify.
I’m trading thoughts on various work-related matters with people who know me and don’t need to be “Best”-ed.
Emails, over time, have become more like text messages than handwritten letters.
At this stage of the game, we should be able to interact with one another in ways that reflect the precise manner of communication being employed, rather than harkening back to old standbys popular during the age of the Pony Express. Nonetheless, each week, on average, I receive more than 300 emails. These messages do not contain the stuff of old-timey letters.
They’re about the pizza I had for lunch (horrendous) and must-see videos of corgis dressed in sweaters (delightful).
Unless the person you are writing to doesn’t know you, or the two of you have never met, you can do away with your name at the bottom as well. The recipient saw your name in the sender field when she clicked on the email, and she knows her name, too, it’s generally safe to assume. But of course that’s because you need to know when a phone call is about to end.
And you can generally leave off your recipient’s name at the beginning, too.
And I came to the following conclusion: It’s time to eliminate email signoffs completely. The handwritten letters people sent included information of great import and sometimes functioned as the only communication with family members and other loved ones for months.