In formal letters it's easy - Yours sincerely if it's a named person you are writing to and Yours faithfully if it's not. But informal letters and particularly these quicker, easier means of written communication of today bring with them a whole host of options for how to end. Even text messages have this: do you end with a kiss or not? My (female) family expect this. In fact the number of kisses acts as a kind of emoticon. No kisses - you're in trouble. One or two - ordinary communication. Lots of kisses - either 'I want something' or 'Thank you so much!' But those kisses are so dangerous. Because 90+% of my texts are to said family members it's so easy to nearly add a kiss to a text to a business colleague, or to a tweet, where it simply isn't what I want to do.
And then there are the endings for emails and other longer communications. They too carry a hidden baggage of subtle secret messages. Here is my attempt to decode them:
- Best regards - Straightforward, neutral sign off
- Kindest regards - I don't really know you, but I want to appear rather formally pleasant
- Get stuffed - This is probably the end of our conversation
- Bye - In a hurry, but want to appear chatty and friendly
- Cheerio - Just off to have a picnic, washed down with lashings of ginger beer
- Best wishes - We aren't just business colleagues, we are social colleagues
- Cheers - I know we're quite close, but it would be embarrassing to say anything else
- All the best - One of my favourites: an affectionate farewell without being sloppy
- Love - For girlies
- Lots of love - For people you fancy or very close family
So there we have it. It's quite difficult to end anything, letter or email or even blog post.