You say goodbye, I say…

How do you sign off on your emails? For friends and relationships that extend outside of the office, the ubiquitous xo or xx seem to trump. How do you bid adieu to those that you’d favour a handshake over a hug?

As there are so many appropriate options, I undertook a national survey* to quantify the most favoured email sign-offs (*denotes asking several friends their opinions, typically over wine and/or pints and throwing out the query out on Twitter).

Here is a summary of said national survey*:

· Cheers – can sound a bit pretentious, unless you’re English. Is “cheers” a part of your daily dialect? If so, it likely belongs in your email vernacular, too.
· Ciao – can sound a bit try-hard unless it is really part of your vocabulary.
· Regards – can feel a bit cold but all things formal can, can’t they?
· Warm[est] regards – Warms the straight-up latter, but is still quite formal (though not necessarily a bad thing).
· Sincerely – Feedback ranged on the use of this, but I’m a fan of its refinement.
· Best – The tone of “best” switches depending on the punctuation that follows it. Watch this. Best, Karen (looks nice, right?).  Best. KC (looks downright acerbic).
· Bye for now/have a good day/speak soon – these all fall under the camp of cheerful pleasantries, which I’m fond of.

The acknowledgment should fit the message and the recipient. If you’ve exchanged nine emails with someone in the course of an hour, it is not uncommon for the sign-off to become more casual, even down to your initials. Likewise, a more formal email warrants a more formal sign-off. If I received a serious email that ended with “Ciao xoxo”, I’d question its merit.  

What you said on Twitter

· Best or best Regards if emailing for first time. Or nothing at all
· I go with ‘cheers’ or ‘I greatly apologize for all of the cursing littered above’. Or ‘I Love You’ if I’m feelin creepy…
· At work it’s usually “best” at first and then “cheers” once I’ve gotten to know them better. “Regards” if I’m angry.
· Never best, regards or sincerely – too snooty. I use cheers, thanks, let me know etc depending on context/relationship
· All the best,” “Best regards” or “Thanks/Thank you” depending on the email and who it is addressed to.

by Karen Cleveland

Questions, comments and conundrums are most welcome at

No Comments

  1. Jenn Roth
    May 4, 2011

    I’m a fan of Sincerely, for sure! That’s definitely how I sign off the majority of the time.
    Also use “Have a good day” and “Thanks” quite often.

    I’ve never used xoxo – surprisingly!

Post Comment