This is what you should be saying instead
Look back over the last few emails you wrote. How many started of with ‘I hope you’re well’.
We’ll take a guess and say probably the majority. Because since emails replaced letters, ‘I hope you’re well’ became the standardised opening for all digital correspondence. But the truth is an email isn’t a letter – it’s an efficient method of digital communication and all your empty pleasantries are just polluting it.
It’s time this changed according to an article in the New York Magazine, which argues that ‘I hope you’re well’ is over and we need to stop writing it NOW.
The reason? It’s totally insincere.
Think about it. In reality, how often do you actually write ‘I hope you’re well’ to your loved ones i.e. the people you actually do really want to be well? Probably never. The phrase is nothing more than a formalised politeness and most of the time, it’s completely meaningless and totally insincere.
Ok, so you might not wish your recipient ill, but surely it’s time to stop filling your emails with fluff?
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So here are a few things we reckon you should be writing instead.
1.How are you?
We know what you’re saying – it’s basically the same thing. But at least it’s asking a question. This way it shows that you’re actually (vaguely) interested in the person and how they are doing making it marginally more sincere than ‘I hope you’re well’. Let’s just hope it doesn’t solicit a lengthy response. No one wants that…
2.A personalised question
Making the effort to include a personalised question really does show that you care a bit more than the last person who emailed ‘I hope you’re well’ just like everybody else. It also goes a long way to prove you haven’t just copied and pasted your message from another email.
It’s probably best not to go too deep and personal (this is an exchange via email after all) but a quick question asking after the new job/partner/kids will go down better than the usual empty exchange. Unless of course you don’t really know them, which just makes you look creepy.
And by nothing we mean, nothing as an intro. No questions asking after their health or wellbeing at all – just a simple email that cuts straight to the point.
Sure, some people might think you’re rude. But the majority will either a) not notice or b) appreciate you not wasting their time. Job done.