Better Ways to End an EmailOnce upon a time, when stationery was pastel and melon-scented, I closed all my correspondence with “love.”

An unexpectedly fastidious gene prevented me from making the transition to “Luv ya!” a few years later—a failure that pretty much describes my entire middle school experience, socially if not academically.

My pre-Internet-age education did ensure that I’d graduate knowing the proper way to sign everything from a business letter to a handwritten thank-you note. It’s not my teachers’ fault that sometime shortly before the end of the last millennium, I decided to ignore those rules in all but the most dire situations. I revert to etiquette when offering condolences to near-strangers or attempting to convince those with the power to reinstate my account that from now on, I’ll pay my premiums on time. Otherwise, I’ve taken to signing all correspondence with an X.

If only there were a different standard, a word or phrase to help people get to the heart of what they really mean—or at the very least, to inject a bit of warmth that goes beyond that unfeeling “best.”

One letter short of the sweet and easily interpreted xo (with which Rewire Me’s founder, Rose, brings her editorial thoughts to a close), I freely admit that my X is a bit ambiguous.

Is it a kiss, a nod to the Roman 10, or the T-shirt motto of choice the year the Malcolm X biopic came out? An obnoxious affectation? A reminder that an ability to read and write is not something to take for granted?

I’m content, even if my motives are a bit murky. At least it’s not “Best,” my least favorite salutation on earth.

Forgive me if that’s your preferred way of bringing your correspondence to a close. It’s undeniably popular, particularly with those who work in publishing. Everyone from my agent to my husband’s writing partner ends his or her emails this way. I hold no one individual accountable, but damn! Talk about cold!

I’m afraid one too many disappointments has arrived anchored by a “best.” Honestly, I think I’d prefer “worst” as in “the worst possible outcome with regard to the matter we’ve been discussing.” “Best,” it seems to me, is impersonal to the point of reptilian.

If only there were a different standard, a word or phrase to help people get to the heart of what they really mean—or at the very least, to inject a bit of warmth that goes beyond that unfeeling “best.”

In searching for just the right parting words, I came across these verbatim examples from assorted international spammers that achieve a pleasantly respectful yet ebullient tone:

Your prompt attention to this matter would be greatly esteemed

I wish to stop for now until I am certain we can do this together

Hoping to hear from you as soon as you received your money

I can appreciate how the above suggestions might be construed as too long and sentence-like for Western usage. So how about one of these?

Power to the people! This alliterative alternative has the right attitude when it comes to ending things on an upbeat note, whether it’s offering encouragement to the unhired or giving the ruling class a taste of the Revolution Yet to Come.

Stay gold, Ponyboy. Romantic, literary, doomed…a winning combination for those of us seeking to make a sensitive impression. Even recipients who haven’t read The Outsiders will feel the hairs standing up on the back of their neck. The possibility of its being misinterpreted as cheap, hipster-ish irony is negligible at best.

‘Twill see. This is how my maternal grandmother ended her every phone conversation. What can I say? It seemed normal enough when I was a child. Were I to assign it a meaning, I’d say it’s a non-denominational spin on “May the Lord watch between me and thee, when we are absent, one from the other.”

Godspeed. Despite having been around since the Middle Ages, this one isn’t in danger of overexposure, making it the perfect one-word replacement for you-know-what. It’s a robust and believable-sounding way of wishing your recipients success down the road, even when you have no plans to travel it with them.

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