June 30, 2015 Leave a comment
Caution: I’m going to go on a little bit of a rant here, but I’ll try to keep it toned down.
One of my most hated expressions in the English language is “I hope all is well”. Closely followed by “warm regards” and “best wishes”.
Why? They reek of insincerity.
If you’re writing an email to someone, it isn’t very hard to dig into your memory bank (or Google) to find out what they are up to and ask a sincere question or make a statement about a recent event in their life. “How was X?” “Hope you had a good time at Y” “Nice win against Z team” etc.
But most people go with “I hope all is well”.
I hope all is well? First off, there are grammatical issues with the removal of the word “that” from the phrase. Secondly, what is all? Do you really hope that everything in my life is going well? Do you hope that I paid my electric bill on time? That my dog had a successful visit to the vet? That my new diet is helping me lose weight? Highly unlikely. You probably don’t hope that bad things befall me, but I’m not sure that you hope and/or care about my personal life on an intimate level.
The double whammy is then closing an email with “warm regards” or “best wishes”. I’m curious…how warm are your regards? Did you put them in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes? Or did you just toast them for a few? At least they didn’t come straight out of the freezer. And regarding your wishes, most people don’t have worst wishes – those are called nightmares.
To me, few things in life are more off-putting than insincerity. Either care or don’t, but don’t fake it.