How do you like your Regards served? Warm? Sometimes I get letters from folks who close by heating up their Regards a little bit before pushing send.
With Warm Regards, Anne.
When I receive Warm Regards, I can’t help but think the writer might have a crush on me. Warm Regards suggests we have a relationship — that there is a spark there that isn’t there with people who just send ordinary Regards.
Who do you think I have a future with? Sarah or Anne?
But what are Regards? Modified with an adjective like Warm, they are a noun. A look in a dictionary defines “Regards” as “sentiments of esteem or affection.” It makes no mention at what temperature they should be served. Let’s see what happens if we turn up the temperature and imagine Anne had closed by saying, “With Hot Regards, Anne.”
I might have to tell Anne I’m a happily married man and suggest she try a dating app.
I have also received my Regards served with Kindness.
With Kind Regards, Steve.
That’s nice and I appreciate Steve taking the time to serve up his Regards with kindness and not meanness. We need more people like Steve out there in the world.
Closings in a letter or an email are necessary because it’s rather too sudden to just end one with your name. Take this example:
Love is a great closing but is reserved for only a few people I know, and each one has the potential to have power of attorney over me someday. Love can be problematic, however. If you deploy it too early, like after a second date, you might come across as being emotionally needy or desperate.
Hey Anne, I really enjoyed seeing you again and going out for pizza. Love, Bill.
Anne might think Bill needs to slow down. It was just pizza and a Pepsi. Now it’s love? Things are moving too fast for Anne.
Sadly, there isn’t a suitable word between Love and Regards, although one would think Like could work.
Hey Anne, I really enjoyed walking around the park with you. Like, Bill.
I guess Bill could try “Affectionately” or “With Deep Affection,” but these closings, at least to me, suggest an image of Bill figuratively reaching out and caressing Anne’s arm as she reads his text. Anne tells Bill to take his figurative hands off her and blocks his number.
My least favorite closing is “Best.”
What exactly is Jeff better at than me? Or does Jeff just believe he is the Best at everything? And if that is the case, then Jeff needs to check his ego at the door when he writes to me.
I also receive letters that close with My Best. I advise not using this closing because you’re unnecessarily raising expectations. What if the content of your letter does not match your bold closing assertion? Much wiser would be to simply close with My Worst. Who can condemn you when you’ve already condemned yourself?
Finally, symbol closings like XOXOXOXO are rather ridiculous when you think about it. One needs a Rosetta Stone to decipher what message is being conveyed. And after one translates that X is a hug and O is a kiss, for some reason people end up adding more X’s and O’s than is socially acceptable. Are you actually going to hug me then kiss me then hug me then kiss me then hug me then kiss me then hug me then kiss me then hug me then kiss me when we see each other in person again? If you do, the next letter you’ll receive from me, written with the deepest sincerity, will be a cease-and-desist order.
So Dear Reader, if you send me your Regards, please send them drizzled over with honey and at room temperature. Yum!
Gregory Greenleaf lives in Harpswell and teaches high school English. He ascribes, prescribes and subscribes to many old-fashioned ideas, but especially Charles Dickens’ observation that “There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”