Right after posting One Space or Two? I began to worry that readers would roll their eyes, wondering why I thought anyone would want to hear about the minutiae that hopscotches around in my head. It was wasted worry, because the views of my blog doubled that day and plenty of smart people (like Harvard student, high-powered lawyer, author/filmmaker) mentioned they too have pondered this space-after-period conundrum.
For certain friends I would never sign XO (you know who you are). I feel safest using XO when signing emails to friends who have themselves signed off with a variation of XO. When stumped as to how to sign off in a reply, I scroll down to see how the sender signed. If someone uses x’s and o’s, then so can I, and they ought also tolerate a smattering of and .
Here’s what often happens when I arrive at the end of an email: I feel compelled to express warmth. It seems unfriendly to abruptly sign just Susan. After all, I was voted Friendliest Girl in the Ninth Grade (the honor in my life of which I am most proud, not including anything related to my kids . . . and equivalent to my friend Ginger having won a “Bandstand” dance contest).
The whole signing business wears me out and wastes time. I dawdle, debating the best way to sign off. Speaking of best, one thing I–of the cheesy XO–cannot bear write at the bottom of an email is “Best” . . . or worse . . . the oft-disingenuous “All best,” which a landlord I once had, who didn’t like me at all, used and it soured me on “All best” for life. A few times I tried “Best,” but then deleted it; I just couldn’t do it, the same way I could never bite into a sardine.
Ixnay also to “Ciao” and “Cheers.” A better thinker/writer than I would be able to articulate why this pair of enders grates on me. Btw, it’s nothing personal of course, so please don’t be offended if you use any unfavorites of this XO user.
“Love,” on the other hand, a traditional way to end letters, ought to be used selectively. Never with Mr. Wrongs, who would also squirm at XO; in such cases, no signature suffices, the blankness of which makes me think of my first set of in-laws, when I was 19, whom I didn’t call anything and my mother said that wasn’t right. Though, when I receive an email ending with “Love, So and So,” literal person that I am, it makes me feel, well, loved.
I’ve consulted a few friends on this winding up of emails. A couple of suggestions I find palatable are “See you” and “Take care.” Oh dear, now I am going to be even more self-conscious signing off, because some of my email correspondents will read this, which is what happened when I published an article about the awkwardness of social kissing (which I’m over) and one friend, whenever we visited after that, would back away when she saw me coming with hands in the air like a stick-up victim and say, “Don’t worry, I’m not going to kiss you.”
Signing off with my kids, is a whole other matter. Haha, not only do I spread a reckless array of X’s and O’s along the bottom line, I emphasize the sentiment with !!!!!!! which looks something like XOXOXOXOXO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and to leave no room for doubt, I add <3′s: <<<<<<3 <333333333333 <3 <3 <3
How great if you would let me know ways you deal with signing off. Does anyone else obsesses over this? Please send some new ideas for how to say “Ciao” on the page.
PS Just got this email from my daughter reminding me of my shortcomings re signing text messages:
“HAHAHAHAHA!!!!! And in text messages, ma, you write xoyozo, or sometimes, xyocoz. XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOOOOXXOXOXOXO!!!!!!!!!”
See some of my Life Goes Strong posts: