Frankly My Dear…You're Not

Frankly  My Dear

Just read a blog post written by a real estate agent, suggesting everyone should start all of their emails with “Dear”. I don’t think I have ever received an email starting off “Dear Ardell”. Maybe it’s because I am not “a Dear”.

Text messaging and emailing with my clients (mostly email) is our primary form of communication. Have I really been doing it incorrectly all this time? Is an email supposed to look like a formal letter, and am I really supposed to call everyone “Dear”?

If I do have to use a salutation, it might be more like “Yo Joe!” or “Hey Hilde!” Are salutations really appropriate for email communications?

Aren’t emails more like “interoffice memos” where you jump in and get right to the point? Is that rude? Or is it rude to call someone Dear…who isn’t MY Dear? or even Dear at all…

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ARDELL is a Managing Broker with Better Properties METRO King County. ARDELL was named one of the Most Influential Real Estate Bloggers in the U.S. by Inman News and has 33+ years experience in Real Estate up and down both Coasts, representing both buyers and sellers of homes in Seattle and on The Eastside. email: cell: 206-910-1000

40 thoughts on “Frankly My Dear…You're Not

  1. The only time I receive an email addressed “Dear” it usually from another country saying “Dear Sirs, I’m related to a wealthy person and would like to deposits large sums of money if I could only have your bank account #…”.

    In my opinion, there is a fine line between formal/casual with email. It totally depends on who you are writing to and what the nature of the email is about. If I’m contacting someone regarding a mortgage, I might say “Hello Mr Jones” if we have never had contact before and he was referred from his agent.

    I also tend to follow the tone of who’s emailing me. If you were sending a message that said, “Hey Rhonda”, I might respond “Yo ARDELL”. But if you sent a message just stating “Rhonda…” or just diving right in…. Although, I do like to mention the person’s name, as in conversation.

    You know, I could have shortened this comment…a light bulb just went off…email is more like “conversation” than formal letter or memo IMHO.

  2. Dear Ardell, =)…jk

    I used to use “Dear” all the time but really agree with your view of it. It is supposed to be “proper” but frankly, I think it’s dumb. I hate saying words just because I am “supposed to” even when they carry no meaning.

    I use the “hello” comment quite often that Rhonda referred to. Also, you will rarely even see me say “Sincerely” or some other formal closing. Many times though I close with a “Thanks” or “Thank You” at the end.

    And Rhonda…you get those emails from long lost family members too???? I thought I was the only one who inherited all that money or was offered a family business in the middle of Russia. Now I feel so robbed!

  3. Samuel,

    One of my things is that I always mean what I say. When people do get a compliment from me, or a link to their site, or anything I say or do, they know I really mean it. So saying anything just to “be nice” is just not my style. Nor do I appreciate it when people talk AT me instead of being REAL.

    That said, I sometimes use “Best regards,” or simply Best, as a closing phrase, but only if I really mean it 🙂

  4. What you say “in closing” could be a whole other post!

    BTW, when my husband calls me Dear or if I call him Dear, it usually means one of us is in trouble or we’re short on time (if we’re calling or emailing during work hours).

    If he says, “yes, Dear”…I reply “don’t you call me Dear!” 😉

  5. Dearest Ardell:

    I use “Dear” quiet a bit when emailing my advisors, professors. I think it will kind of depend on the person and it it is a formal letter or a friendly one, etc.

    Quick Updates, etc = No.
    Asking for advice = Maybe if I do not know the person well
    First introductions = More than likely
    Responses: Nope, you should be calling me Dear in return!

  6. Hm, I think in email I would say “Hi So-and-so,” but in a letter or something more formal, I’d say “Dear so-and-so.”

    Email is more informal, in fact so much so you have to be a bit careful with it.

    This whole question reminds me of the first year after my husband and I got married. We spent Christmas with his family and were “roasted.” Part of the roast was that my husband got marital advice from his uncles, the gist of which was that he should get really good at saying “yes dear” a lot. The point was illustrated with the gift of a stuffed deer wearing a shirt that says “yes” on it. It’s the Yes Deer. He still has it! 🙂

  7. Hi Ardell,

    I often use “Hi” or “Hello” as a salutation in emails, blog comment boxes, and texts. “Dear” is reserved for any kind of written business communication that is more formal.

    For example, if an agent is communicating with a bank via email in regards to a home seller’s short sale, I would alway recommend using more formal language.

    There are also cultural, geographical, socio-economic, and other factors to consider. As Derek points out, if an agent’s client is a high level academic, “Dear” is most likely the norm for a first-time piece of communication, especially if the agent and client do not know each other very well.

    Our clients will teach us everything we need to know about how to work with them.

  8. Jillayne:

    At times, I like to joke around with my baseball players and have them to address me as Master or Sir Shogun.

    As a coach I am one of only a small handful of catching coaches. Most coaches deal with several positions but I deal mostly with the catchers only and help out here and there. It’s basically in my contract, if I have to coach another position, I’m quitting and you’re still going to pay me!

    But even then with the catchers, I still don’t teach. I let them teach themselves and I just stand and quiz them. The thought being is if they can teach themselves, they know it! I have a few former catchers whom I worked with earlier in my career who are now returning as coaches and they being former catchers tend to like to work with the catchers so I am kind of gromming them at the same time. I give them the younger catchers and basically talk with the older ones guiding them along the way.

    With having former players to come back and coach, I let them do most of the hands on teaching so we joke around that they are more or less like domain leaders while I being the official catching coach am the shogun!

  9. Dear Ardell,

    I enjoyed this post immensely. I’ve been know to use the salutations of “Yo” and “Hey!” as well. “READ THIS NOW!” works too sometimes.

    Dear is weird.


  10. Reminds me of that old “Young Ones” sitcom from England in which the five lads of the house were writing an angry letter to their landlord at whom they were mad.

    They considered starting the letter with “dear” and after much debate settled on “Darling Fascist Bully Boy.”

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