If you’ve ever used any of the below, you’re doing it wrong:
- The claim to possession
Comment: If I may just refer to the prohibition of slavery, it’s a well-established fact that no one person belongs to another.
- The false claim to truth
Comment: You’re not mine, which means you’re not being sincere. What a proliferation of lies is contained in those two throwaway words.
- The claim to fidelity
Comment: Only if we’re married does this truthfully apply.
- The creep
Comment: Back off, Bob. I don’t want anything warm from you, thanks.
Veuillez agréer, Madame, l’expression de mes salutations distinguées,
Comment: Translating as ‘Please do accept this expression of my distinguished greetings’, this probably couldn’t be more hyperbolic.
In attesa di un Vostro cortese riscontro, porgo distinti saluti,
Comment: Translating as ‘While waiting for your kind reply, I offer my distinct salutations’, we can ditch this too. With that formal ‘Vostro’ you might as well be addressing the reader as ‘Your Most Eminent Excellency’.
- The inappropriate affection
Comment: Ah, how easy it is for your standard complement of kisses to slip off the finger, an innocent reflex that you will have to recall immediately with another missive, this time ensuring that any inadvertent, in-à-propos inappropriateness is contained. An ‘x’ in your draft box should be not a caress but a hazard sign: proceed with caution.
- The patronizing
Comment: This has a condescending edge, as you’re expressing gratitude for whatever you’ve asked for in the email as though to assume that your will shall be done. Can be deliberately employed to subtly manipulate the reader, but beware: this can put backs up. The variant is even more disastrously throwaway.
- The lazy
Comment: Not sure if that word quite has the honour of gracing the dictionary? In my head this is always pronounced ‘ruh-guds’, and sounds more like a disease (rickets?) than an expression of esteem.
- The truthful
Really hoping that you’ll take this in the spirit it was intended (i.e. as a virtual eff-off) and that you’ll neglect to reply for at least three days so I can put off actioning anything,
Comment: That truth ain’t gonna get you nothing but an exit interview and a P45.
The moral of the story is that signoffs at work should be approached with the same control and concealment that you approach the rest of your 9 to 5. Any types of regard that aren’t kind or the very best are symptoms of the terrible linguistic plague that brought us corporatisms like ‘leveraging’, ‘reaching out’ and ‘drilling down’; shun them, and seek yourself a cure between the pages of a Jane Austen.