v \"Dear\", \"Regards\", \"Sincerely\" - Really?

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"Dear", "Regards", "Sincerely" - Really?

By Rakesh Ahuja

I recall the moment of a revelation well. It was a dispute with Harcourts insurance company re damage to my Canberra house by a violent storm. I started to write to the Manager, and as befits an old codger, I started to write "Dear Mr....". I bridled. Recently released from diplomatic chains, I felt free to reject such hypocrisy, and have never used "Dear" unless I mean it. Ever since I have only used "Good morning/afternoon/night" as the salutation to start off a written communication. While I would not take credit for starting this 'movement', I do note that my interlocutors never address me with "Dear Rakesh".

Now, 20 years later, another revelation!

Billions of communications end with "Regards" followed by the name of the sender. I must have sent a million-odd in my life; other variations I have used being "warm regards" or "warmest".

In my career, I drafted tens of messages from Australian Ministers to other Heads of Governments and counterparts. Depending on the state of the relationship, most ended with an anodyne formulation. The one I recall vividly is the one I drafted from Prime Minister Hawke to Gorbachev upon his accession as the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1985. It ended with "regards". Why did I have not the gumption to draft " Peace/Mir, Bob Hawke"?

76 years later, I realise that I have been using a British colonial relic formulation. I write "Regards" but do I mean it? What do I feel when I write it? Anything? Looking back, nothing.

There are hundreds of other concluding formulations. "Best" etc. We need to learn to express what we feel when concluding a missive to another. Why not be honest? Sure, in business or official communications one has to be 'neutral'.  But there is still scope for conveying a feeling to anyone anywhere in any context.

I have now decided that I must do so. Hence, I am now compiling a Library - a stock of signature endings - of what feelings I want to convey in concluding my messages to business colleagues, friends and lovers, service suppliers and so on. These 'endings' will usually be quotes, but personal soul-thoughts too.

This collection of SignatureStock will be available to you for use in your own communications.







Comments On “\"Dear\", \"Regards\", \"Sincerely\" - Really?”

  1. Rakesh Ahuja

    Thank you, David. I always appreciate it when you agree with me!!