I used to write many letters to friends and family when I was single, but then life went from 0 to 60 mph in five seconds. Marriage and kids does that. I haven’t written a snail mail letter in years, with the exception of a condolence letter to my aunt. I’ve sent short messages in cards, but not an actual letter. And as long as I’ve mentioned cards, I’ll confess to being bad about sending out Christmas cards. So maybe it’s a lack of letter writing practice that makes email etiquette confusing to me, but it feels more like there aren’t any rules for writing emails.
Am I the only person who agonizes over how I should address a person in an email? Should I use Ms.? Mrs.? Miss? First name? Hey you? Do I use “dear”, “hi”, or “hello” first?
If I just use a first name without a dear—i.e. Samantha—does it sound like I’m angry? Or rude? Or militant? (I suppose that could be the case if I just used a last name. Hey, Stone! Drop and give me 50!)
If I know the person well, do I even need a greeting? And what constitutes knowing someone well? I’ve virtually met lots of people, but I might not know them if we passed on the street.
|What I MIGHT look like with a monkey body|
Sincerely. Hmm… Do I really feel “sincere” when I tell the contractor we haven’t hired anyone yet, so it’s okay to mail the estimate he forgot to send three weeks ago? Slightly irritated describes my mood better.
Cordially. (I hate to admit that I had to look the word up to know the actual meaning.) I don’t often write emails I consider to be “heartfelt”, but when I do, I’m not going to end it with cordially. It sounds like I have a rod up my—Oh, never mind.
Thanks? Can I just end an email with thanks? It’s simple and to the point.
Cheers makes me feel like a lush. Yeah, I’m tossing back a cold one while I’m answering email. Booyah!!!
Peace? Peace out? What am I? A wanksta?
Yours truly. I wouldn’t even use that one with my hubby. It sounds so sappy. LOL. Hard to believe I write romance, isn’t it?
Hugs. When is it okay to use the word? If I’ve actually hugged the person, it should be fair game, right? Well, I’ve hugged my agent and editor, but it feels really awkward to end an email with “hugs”.
Love ya. That’s another one that makes me feel a bit squirrelly. I have friends I dearly love, but it still feels a little weird to end my email this way. The only true exception are any emails I send to my oldest friends, the girls I grew up with. It feels natural. I’ve even dropped the word “ya”.
XOXO. I’m a little less uptight about this one. Maybe because it’s letters, but if I think about it, I would never end an email with Kiss, Hug, Kiss, Hug.
Warmly is nice. It’s positive and yet not too intimate. Hotly would be a different story.
The publishing world seems to favor “All best”. It’s not my favorite because it’s an incomplete sentence AND it’s missing a word. All THE best. Still, I’ve adopted the practice to fit in. Sometimes I’ll just say “Best” ‘cause I’m too cool to bother with “all”.
I like “Best wishes” and “Happy reading”, depending on the receiver. But I just chuckled thinking about sending in my next manuscript with “happy reading” as a closing to my email.
Just to be clear, I give this absolutely no thought when I’m the receiver. I love any and all email I get from readers, friends, and fellow publishing folks. I’m also perfectly okay with being addressed as Samantha or Sam. No need to use Ms. Grace. And you can use XOXO, Hugs, Yours Truly, Peace Out, or any other variation you can imagine at the end. I'm just happy to hear from you!
So tell me, am I the only one that obsesses over this stuff? Are there different things you obsess over? Please, tell me there is. PLEASE! Anyone??