Is anybody well in 2020? I doubt it.
I know I’m not, and my colleagues inside and outside of my company probably aren’t either. For example, for everyone living on the West Coast, outside looks like Mars. Meanwhile, inside, there’s the usual news about Covid-19, more Black people being shot by the police, and the volatile protests in response — it’s a constant loop of depression. Everything is raggedy, and I’m only using that word because it makes me laugh. I need all the laughs I can get these days.
So why do we insist on fixing our fingers to type “I hope you’re well” when we reach out to colleagues? I’ve asked myself this question since March. “I hope you’re well” is not the best we can do in the end times. Or is it?
The answer is no. It’s a hollow nicety we write because we don’t want the person receiving the email to think we’re rude — it’s like saying “please” before we ask a person for money they owe us.
If I could be the chief etiquette officer, I’d encourage everyone to maintain the decorum of the opening email greeting. But instead of everyone acting like 2020 isn’t 2020, I’d encourage people to greet others with honesty and use what renowned career coach Kim Scott refers to as “radical candor,” a style of communication that is direct, albeit empathetic.
“I hope you’re well” is not the best we can do in the end times. Or is it?
Below is a list of email greetings buried deep in the depths of my drafts folder. I hope one day I have the temerity to keep it this real and push send.
I hope this email finds you well because I’ve been taking L’s all day, and I just need one of us to win.
I hope this email finds you well. If it does, then you should have no problem getting right back to me.
I hope this email is better than all the other emails you’ve received today because it’s taken me all day to figure out what I should write, and this is the best I could come up with.
I hope this email is not being read at a gender-reveal party. I hope this email is not being read by anyone who would throw a gender-reveal party. If so, I don’t have much to say to you.
I hope this email has the best news you’ve received all day, but I’m telling you now, there’s nothing special about it, just a quick update.
I hope this email finds you, period, because the way 2020 is set up, you never know.
R.I.P. Chadwick Boseman. Wakanda forever! 🙅🏾♂️ That’s really all I wanted to say.
I hope this email finds you, and I hope your response finds me because I’m lost out here.
I hope this email is as easy for you to respond to as it was for me to send. I literally put no thought or emotion into it. Pretty much been on autopilot all month.
I hope this email finds you because if it does, that means you’re still alive. With the double danger of police brutality and Covid-19, we should appreciate the little things in life, like, say, an unnecessary work email, amirite? 🙏🏾
I hope this email finds you not listening to Tory Lanez.
I hope you read this entire email because there’s a lot going on. But I’d understand if you don’t. Hell, I’ve got a folder full of starred emails I’ve been putting off since last Tuesday.
If you’re reading this, it’s too late. KIDDING! I’m just a big Drake fan and have always wanted to use that phrase ironically. Anyway, I hope this email finds you well.
I hope this email finds you better than well. I want it to find you as great as you can possibly be.
I hope this email serves as a reminder that Black Lives [still] Matter.
I hope this email finds… actually, forget it. Please respond to the questions below so I can get my boss the hell off my back.
I hope this email finds you and not your kids, who should be distance learning but instead figured out how to hack into your inbox by watching YouTube videos all day. Hey kid, stop reading this.
I hope this email finds you wearing a mask.
I hope this email finds you all caught up on Power and still praying on Tariq’s downfall.
I hope this email doesn’t bounce back because you’re no longer at the company.
I hope you’re doing well in spite of 2020 being absolute trash.