Internet denizens, we came so close to getting rid of clunky sign-offs to our written communication. Email was supposed to be deliberately informal and was not going to mimic our culturally-ingrained letter-sending formalities.

When e-mail first entered the office in the 1990s, most users wanted to abandon the formalities of letter writing altogether, so they omitted signoffs. […] [A] Los Angeles Times article from that era […] predicted that the rise of electronic communication would ultimately kill off the written goodbye altogether.

Oh, to return to those halcyon days. Now we feel like we need to close our email as if we’ve just penned a missive on delicate parchment and sent it off by post. All our options for doing that are universally terrible though.

“Yours” sounds too Hallmark. “Warmest regards” is too effusive. “Thanks” is fine, but it’s often used when there’s no gratitude necessary. “Sincerely” is just fake—how sincere do you really feel about sending along those attached files?

In order to solve this problem, we seem to have  settled on the most boring closing imaginable “Best.” “Best” is bland. “Best” is inoffensive. “Best” is the most anodyne way one could possibly end something, because it means nothing. Are you really wishing your colleagues all the very best in the world when you send them a note about how the copier is broken again? Did you intend to tell WIRED magazine that you wish them the best when you sent an email to cancel your subscription? No you did not.

Free yourself from the shackles of thinking your email is just a speedy letter writing tool and drop your completely unnecessary email sign-off. Well, unless you are emailing your 85-year-old great aunt who just learned how to use email, in which case you should employ the nicest sign-off you can think of, because otherwise she will just think you are being rude.

Featured image: “A girl sent email to A man on smartphone” from Shutterstock.

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