I’ve recently started working for an international company. I love it. I love being only a small handful of North American employees in such a globally diverse company. As I’m settling in and learning the ropes, the thing that’s struck me the most as different is the e-mail valediction.
Or, Best regards, which is the more reverence-filled version.
Since I’ve also been working with other American companies and their employees I have come to realize that the Best Regards phenomenon actually extends into the business realm as a whole. It’s not just reserved to Europeans, well, or rest of the world for that matter.
This is weird to me. Weird because everyone does it that way. Like it’s a code, or unwritten rule. Maybe I’m just rude. Or maybe reporters are a feral bunch and that’s why this seems so unfamiliar to me, but I never signed my name with anything fancy.
There. That’s that. SEND. That’s how I’ve always signed my e-mail, unless it’s with friends/family, and then all they got was my name, or maybe nothing at all. I’m just informal by nature.
Even on reply strings it’s Hello Kim, message, Best regards. I don’t usually say anything valediction-y on a reply string except maybe for a Hello Again and then the message. It almost annoys/sends me in a panic when people continue using all that – it just seems excessive – and now I have to be excessive too in fear of coming off as a rudey! My abbreviatedness may stem from J-school and the profession that requires you to say everything you need to without any unnecessary extras. There’s probably no excuse for me, but all of these pleasantries seem so strange to me.
Maybe I am feral.
What seems like superfluous closings to me are apparently important. And since I don’t want to seem like an ill-mannered, raised in a barn by wolves, rude American girl, I Best Regards the crap out of my e-mails.
Of all things that I should be agonizing about starting a new job, I don’t think e-mail closings should be among them. But they are. In fact, that’s just about the only thing that cause me to break out into a sweat. I JUST WANT TO BE INFORMAL! In time I’m sure I can sneak in others like,
Have a great weekend!
I actually did use that today. I thanked my way out of my e-mail. The e-mail was a question though, so I decided it would be ok. I received a warm, friendly (Have a great weekend!) reply. So I don’t think there was an offence. And look! They were informal back!
Now letters are entirely different. Since no one really mails anything anymore I think it’s nice when they flower it up. I dated a guy who sent very thoughtful letters and signed it with Yours. I liked that. That was a nice touch. He could have said only one sentence, ended with that and still made me feel like the special-est girl in the world. I remember as a kid we were taught in school to sign letters with Sincerely. First of all, I almost never spelled it correctly. And even as a child it seemed over the top, but in a fancy and old-fashioned way. I remember signing my handwritten letters like that.
As for my closing remark struggle, I have no idea. Maybe I’ll change it up, like with a Kindest Regards. As I get my sea legs in this place I’m sure I’ll figure out who I can be more informal to and who I need to be all best regards to. Or I’ll just get really creative with formal closings. That could be more interesting…