What Grinds Our Gears: Email formalities

It’s time to stop the excessive and unproductive use of email etiquette

We really don’t need to bother with all of this bullshit. ILLUSTRATION: Kitty Cheung / The Peak

by Nancy La, Peak Associate

To Whom It May Concern,

I hope this email finds you well. I am writing to propose the elimination of formalities in everyday correspondence via electronic mail. 

Allow me to preface this argument by acknowledging that email formalities have their own benefits, such as creating an atmosphere of professionalism and a general feeling of respect for the recipient. My proposal pertains to the perversion of incredibly trivial email etiquette. Formalities to the point where I am triple proof-reading an email with a peer and editing said email to death. Or, contemplating whether I should place an exclamation point to show that I am, in fact, a cheery human being and not an emotionless robot! But would the other person think that I am too cheery and therefore think that I am intellectually inferior? 

The only solution seems to be spacing out my exclamation every two sentences so that I do not come off too strong. This entire process takes approximately 1520 minutes, not including the peer editing part! 

So what would be a better alternative to such an exhausting procedure? I suggest the removal of the expectation that every single email must have all the grammar, formatting, and vocabulary of a stuffy academic in their 60s. Maybe we can even sprinkle in an emoji or two. A picture is worth a thousand words and ultimately we are trying to save time here, people. 

Thank you for your time!


Nancy La