I just got yet another email that doesn’t have one.

In fact, I’d venture to say that many of the email and even more formal letters that I get via email don’t have them.

Whatever happened to the salutation?

In case you don’t know … which would totally prove my point … a salutation is something we all learned about in middle school English.  If you didn’t learn it by high school, something was terribly wrong.  I’m hoping they still teach this in school today, but apparently not, because so few people seem to be using them.

I recall being taught that whenever you write a letter to someone, you start by saying, “Dear John Doe” or “Dear Sir or Madam” or “Dear Miss Smith.”

Those are of course, the more formal applications of salutations.  They’re still very much in use in the professional world, which they damn well should be.  If the American Cancer Society is asking me for a monetary donation, they’d better start their donation letter to me by saying …

“Dear Mr. Corbin…” 

It’s proper, respectful and something that everyone should expect to receive, but also be willing to write to anyone … whether money or a favor is involved or not.

But given the relatively new informality of our digital age, we’re a lot more casual these days.  “Hello Mike,” “Hi Michael,” “Hey Bob!” or even, “What’s Up Susan?” are all perfectly acceptable and well received.

The problem is that whenever we write email and letters to even people we know very well, we don’t include a salutation … AT ALL.  I don’t have nearly enough fingers and toes to count the times this has happened to me.

Call me crazy or tight-assed, but I believe that everyone deserves a salutation.  I don’t care if you’re President of the United States or a homeless person on the street; if I’m emailing you a message, I’m going to start it out by saying, “Dear Mr. President” or “Dear Mr. Jones” or “Hi John,” at the very least.

It’s the decent thing to do.  We are human beings, not animals.  Even dogs and cats have names.  Some of them even go by “Mr.” this or “Miss.” that.

Have we become so lazy or inconsiderate that we simply cannot muster up the energy and time length of a single heartbeat to start an email by saying …

“Hello Jessica,” or “Hi Bruce” ???

So much of the email I get these days just begins with a blanket message and no acknowledgement from the sender that yes, they are indeed addressing me.  I’m not talking about spam either.  I’m talking about email that’s coming from educated people who should know better.

I just think that this new practice of not including salutations in email and even some so-called formal letters has gotten way out of hand. 

And by the way, I’m FAR from being “Mr. Manners,” which is precisely my point.  I am not an expert on etiquette and even I know that failing to properly address someone at the beginning of a letter is just plain wrong.

Don’t you work hard every day?  Don’t you treat people the way you in turn want to be treated?  Don’t you deserve … at the very least … a salutation and the beginning of an email that you receive?  This should especially be the case when the sender wants something of you.

If you’re sending me an email and you’re asking me for something, the least I deserve is a …

“Hello Michael,”

I don’t know.  Am I wrong?

Believe me, I love being casual and laid back.  It’s the way I am most of the time outside of work.  I’m even often casual at work.  However, I think that we’re often casual to the point of neglect and dare I say, disrespect.  This is not good.

I think we need to add a bit more formality to our casual tone these days.  It’s not good to be too formal OR too casual.  Like most things, we need balance.

The next time you get an email that doesn’t properly greet you, ask yourself…

“Do I deserve better than this?”  Of course you do.




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