The “Best” E-mail Signature Is Actually the Worst

I have no particular opinion about how to close an email. I just checked my “outbox” and I see that I haven’t closed any of my recent messages. Several were responses to requests from other people, so “Thank you” would be out of place, and even “Here you go” would be so unnecessary it would sound awkward (if not rude). When closing an email, I usually just stop writing. A clickbaity Bloomberg post tries to make a big deal out of this.

Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 2.56.35 PM“Ever since the 18th century, the English speaking have been busy pruning away all ornament of expression,” wrote Emily Post, the foremother of etiquette, in 1922. “Leaving us nothing but an abrupt ‘Yours truly.’ ” The trend has extended into digital communication. Fearful of coming off as too smug or affectionate, we’ve been bullied into using empty words. I made an (unscientific) online survey, and among my friends and colleagues, 75 percent use best or thanks, though many admitted that neither was ideal. “I hate best, but it’s what I go with,” one respondent lamented. So if not best, then what? Nothing. Don’t sign off at all. —Bloomberg Business