We’ve all done it.
It’s an average day in the office and you need to send an email to someone, really anyone; a client, you’re boss, a co-worker, anyone.
You open a new email and without even thinking you start your email by typing “I hope you’re well” before launching into the reason you’re emailing.
Why? You don’t really care. You would never in a million years use the phrase ‘I hope you’re well’ with anyone you actually cared about. Can you imagine telling you’re mother you hope she’s well? No, of course not.
In a piece for New York magazine, writer Dayna Evans explains that the phrase “I hope you’re well” is incredibly insincere and need to be stopped once and for all.
Listen to the folks at The Well on removing niceties from your emails, and other life hacks. Post continues after audio…
Evans argues that the phrase is so overused that our brains already skip over it when reading an email, so there’s really no point in including it in the first place.
Emails were once completely matter of fact messages that got directly to the point, but as they became peoples main form of written correspondence the pleasantries of the hand written letter weaselled their way into commonplace.
Those pleasantries have become so expected that it’s strange not to receive them.
“Many people believe there is no need for bland benedictions and expressions in our email correspondence, especially at work, but there is also a hard-to-place feeling of hurt that comes from being on the receiving end of a one-line email with no thanks, no greeting, and no sign off,” writes Evans.
But, if we’re all using phrases without any meaning, what’s the point of saying them at all.
Last year, writer Rebecca Greenfield wrote a diatribe against the email sign off “Best” for Bloomberg. She wrote, “The problem with best is that it doesn’t signal anything at all.”
Similarly, Evans says, “‘I hope you’re well’ is a scourge on email correspondence, a hollow greeting that has come to mean nothing.”
The words are completely empty.
“It’s like if you sat down for a delicious dinner of spaghetti and meatballs but before getting to eat, you forced yourself to take a shot of Soylent first,” Evans explains. “Why would anyone do that? Just get right to the good part.”
Thankfully Evans took it upon herself to provide “two foolproof alternatives.”