December 19th, 2006
This post is in regards to Regards.
Signing letters has been addressed before here at WFME, but never have we delved deep into the meaning and useability of the most famous signature line ever. Personally, staying away from the typical sign-offs is the first step to original letter writing, but if you’ve got the hankering to sign off in the traditional Emily Post type way, at least educate yourself and know what you’re doing before an innocent letter turns into a complicated problem.
That’s why today, WFME will be explaining the list of regards.
Each opportunity to send your regards holds its own meaning and significance. And so, without further adieu, WFME would like to give you some hints as to when to use each iteration and what their meanings happen to be:
Sending your best regards should only be slathered upon those in your life who you honestly consider to be the “best of the best.” The kind of person you hold in such high regard that they deserve this high-watermark of regards. Women who have birthed you deserve best regards. Men who gave you their last powerbar while trapped in a high snow-capped mountain cave deserve your best regards. Your college roommate? Don’t think so.
Kindest regards, contrary to popular belief, is not better than “best regards.” You send your kindest regards to someone who has been kind to you. That old woman down the block who always gets your mail for you when you’re gone on vacation. Kindest regards should only be given to those who have been kind to you and in an attempt to make karma work for you and your life — you’re giving the kindness vibe right back at ‘em.
Bestest & Kindest regards,
Do you like to be cute? Do you want to be cute to prove a point? Do you and your bestest friend ever love Hello Kitty and you walk around all day with backpacks emblazoned with the Hello Kitty logo on it? Are you twelve? Do you have fifteen MySpace pages? Do you like to mock the conservative right and manners in general? Then this sign-off is the one for you. In a nutshell, it communicates that you’re not taking this sign-off thing too seriously, and lightens the mood substantially for whatever letter you just wrote. Often, the best uses of this sign-off, are after you’ve demanded someone pay you money, announced a law suit you’ll be enacting against the letter receiver, or to your old boss whom you just reamed in the letter.
Sincere regards should only be used when addressing individuals you met during a session of Congress, foreign individuals who hail from the UK and people you met in the library. Educated people. This of course, should not be confused with…
…which should never be used for anyone born outside the United States. Sincerest regards should only be used in the most sincerest of situations, to the most sincerest of people, and that doesn’t include Brits, Guatemalans or American Indians (who technically were here before us and so they really weren’t ever Americans).
Aah, warm regards. This, my friends, is gold. For if you are feeling that “feeling” for someone and you want to subtly tell them how much you care for them, sending them warm regards is the way to go. If you are hoping they’ll love you, already deep in love, or assuming love is on the way — by sending warm regards you’ll quickly send out the vibe that warmth is what you’re looking for…and warmth is what you’ll get.
But warmest regards must be used carefully. Never to be used seriously, warmest regards should only be used when sending sarcastic letters to consumer assistance personnel from big companies who have screwed you. Or to anyone whom you are mad at. Or to that funeral home who misplaced your Uncle Ferry’s body. This is the lowest of the lows. This is the only passive agressive sign-off in the regards-family. Use it with care.
Fondest regards is the most sincere of the non-sincerest regards in that you’re basically telling someone that you would like to send them fond regards, harkening back to a time when regards were fond, and less sincere. Fondest regards also can be tweaked to be used as “fond regards” — they’re one in the same. You’re fond of regards, so too should the person receiving the fond regards, and everyone should be fond of the regards. There’s a lot of fondness here, and sometimes too much for WFME (in our opinion), but if you’ve gotta be fond about something then here you are.
Sending “my regards” is the only way to really not send regards at all in the first place. See, since you’re not categorizing your regards with an adjective (i.e. kindest, warmest, fondest) — but you’re just calling them “my regards” you’re basically telling someone that since they’re your own regards, you’re not giving them out to anyone. You’re being possessive and those regards you’ve got in your pocket aren’t goin’ anywhere, fellah. By using this regard, you’re basically telling someone they can go suck it. Which sometimes, is the way to go.
Are you a minimalist? If so, “regards” is going to be your favorite choice out of them all. Are you a person who has a tough time sharing their emotions with others? Prefer to be a blank slate and not let anyone really know how you’re feeling? Then just send plain ‘ol boring, unemotional regards and no one will ever know what you’re thinking. But shame on you, you unfeeling, overly-complicated hermit.
Last, and probably least — is the “contractually-required regards” — often used in letters that are being written to notify a certain party that (per a previously signed contract) they must give up something, pay something, revert something, require something, return something, sign something, notarize something or contractually mediate something. It’s more of an all-business regard, but some of us are business people, so what can I say?
We here at WFME hope this helps you when you’re sending those regards.