January 22, 2013

By Gabrielle. Hugs and Kisses by Kimberly Chorney.

If you’ve ever received an email from me, it most likely ended with kisses, Gabrielle. Whether you’re a woman or a man or even Oliver Jeffers. I’ve never thought of my closing as unprofessional, childish, or uniquely feminine until a friend sent me a link to this article all about the sisterhood of xoxo And then I thought a little harder, questioning my standard happy closing. In fact, I started furrowing my brows at my usually casual but still happy greeting — Hi, your-name-here! — and the way I soften requests without even knowing it with a grinning, winking emoticon or my oft-used Hooray!

Humph. I can’t stop sending Hoorays!

I’m so interested: How do you begin and end your notes? Do you xoxo? Would you ever xoxo professionally? Have you ever been on the receiving end of an xoxo or similar closing and thought it strange or inappropriate? I always love your stories.


P.S. — I’m especially thinking about this as I make final preparations for Alt Summit — a conference where professional guidelines for bloggers is the THE topic of conversation.

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{ 59 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Shannon { A Mom's Year } January 22, 2013 at 7:39 am

I think xoxo is very sweet, although I suppose I would have been surprised to get one in a really serious business letter or e-mail. I’m a HUGE emoticon user–your word “soften” is a good description of why I like it. I tend to end casual e-mails with “take care” and hand-written letters with “warmest wishes” or something along those lines.

I’ve always thought of blogs as being very personal, so when you say “kisses” it just seems like you’re fond of all of us. Which is why we keep coming back!


2 connie January 22, 2013 at 7:43 am

Professionally, I end with “Please contact me with any further questions. Sincerely, (my full formal name here).” Casually, it depends. Most of the time it’s either “talk to you soon – (whatever nickname he/she calls me)” or with family it’s “Love, Me.”

I confess that professionally speaking, I think it would be bizarre to get an email closed with something of that nature. But I work in the education field as a photographer, so there’s a tight lid with regards to propriety to one another in all communication (We have to go through online courses every year about professionalism in the workplace, so that kind of quashes all talk of that nature right out of you!). :)


3 Angela DeMuro January 22, 2013 at 7:49 am

Hmmm, this is an interesting topic.
I always begin with “Hi” like I am greeting an old friend..or a soon to be new one:) Ah see instant smiley face. It seems to have become habit.
And yes I do always end a note or email with xoxox or a :) or a hug.
Like I am right there with you saying my good bye and letting you know I cannot wait until we talk again.
I guess this could seem unprofessional. And I am sure it does to many. But it also makes some people feel happy and warm. and those are really the ones I would rather stay in touch with or do business with anyway:) (see again smiley)
In Happiness,
Angela :) HUGS XOXO


4 Angela January 22, 2013 at 7:58 am

With new clients, I always start with Dear Mr./Ms. and end Sincerely, . With clients with whom I have a relationship, I’ll start with Hi and end with Thanks.

I work with a lot people in other countries and the first time I received an email that ended with “Bisous” I was concerned. Was my coworker hitting on me?!? Eventually my boss explained that it (or its even more familiar Biz) are common closings for casual emails among friends. Even so, I could never imagine ending even a casual business email with anything so familiar. Just not my style.

(And don’t even get me started on the “faire la bise” thing. Oh la la!)


5 Ann January 22, 2013 at 8:01 am

For most people, I use “Best,” and for close friends, just “A.” Guess I’m a bit of a minimalist when it comes to closings!


6 Liz January 22, 2013 at 8:08 am

I usually sign work with “thanks” or if it’s an email to someone I am not friendly with I will use “regards” followed up with my email signature. I work in an industry that is mostly male, so anything cutesy from me would be creepy.

But, sometimes when writing friends with a good sense of humor, I will sign “hugs and kittens, Liz”


7 Stella January 22, 2013 at 8:08 am

I end informal stuff with xoxo to my English speaking friends/family. For formal stuff, as work related things etc I would never end with “xoxo” to me its just too casual and something I would only write to someone that I would actually like to kiss/hug :) so not so much someone at the bank/doctors/etc.


8 Danielle January 22, 2013 at 8:14 am

Oh my goodness, I write “xoxo” ALL THE TIME. It’s at the top of my blog header, and definitely at the closing of my casual emails. My formal/professional emails usually end with “Kind Regards,” or “Best,”.

I fully appreciated your emails with “Kisses,” in the closing. You made our conversation feel familiar and friendly… and quite French, I might add. Who doesn’t like that?


9 marie January 22, 2013 at 8:17 am

We just had a similar conversation last night ! About how the German language is so much more complicated in such things than English – last name use for example is often a must. And I admitted I prefer writing professional mails in the morning so I can start with ‘good morning Mr…’. And therefor sort of avoid the conflict. At least that’s what I try to convince myself of.

On the semi professional more personal base I love to start with ‘hallo bonjour’ and count on the charming French to through in some style.

The ending is a problem with no fix term found yet. But the xx I use for family and friends only.


10 Barchbo January 22, 2013 at 8:23 am

Professionally, I end with “Thanks”, “Best”, “Warm Regards”, or “Sincerely,” depending on the nature of the email and my relationship with its recipient.
Personally, I most commonly end with “Cheers!” but use “Love”, “XOXO”, or other endearments with family and friends.

I have noticed that you end emails with “kisses” and always thought it quite continental. Now you are continental! :)


11 Helen January 22, 2013 at 8:25 am

I have been on the receiving end of your kisses. I have to admit, the first time you sent me kisses, I was surprised. But then I got kisses from other bloggers. And sometimes I send one myself now – but only one. And not always.

As women dominate the internet, as our blogs change perceptions of motherhood, as our work is taken seriously and seen as important – we influence those around us, we leave our mark, we soften the lines between going to work and staying at home, we change images of professionalism.

Yea us! x


12 Corrie Anne January 22, 2013 at 8:42 am

My friends and I don’t really sign our rapid fire emails to each other. I’m always very formal with my work emails — I’m self-employed as a piano teacher so I like to be very professional with students and their parents.


13 Heather January 22, 2013 at 8:49 am

Professionally, I end all my emails with “Thanks/Thank you, Heather”. I also have signatures I sign with, depending on to whom the email is. Usually I’m asking for something :). I once had to change the cover letter of a proposal my firm was submitting from “Truly Yours” to “Sincerely”. The Truly Yours felt really creepy coming from us being sent to strangers looking at our firm to do design work. Who knows how long that ending had been on our form cover letter….it’s kind of scary to think about to be honest.

But, to people who comment on my blog or friends and family, sometimes it’s a simple “H”….sometimes Love, Me (really just to my husband). I even do the more casual ending for paper clients of mine (not related to architecture). I feel like the age/gender/occupation/relation to me of the recipient all have an affect on how I respond.

I’ve never really thought about it before, but I kind of like that you sign the same way no matter what. I think it shows more of your personality…but I’m not sure I could do it :).


14 marian January 22, 2013 at 8:50 am

As I see the women in the Spanish ward after ours greet each other with a beso (kiss) and lots of love I think perhaps we stoic Anglo Saxons (who only show affection for dogs, horses and small children) are silently, virtually reaching out for more ways to show we really do love and appreciate the love and support we receive from each other.


15 Dani January 24, 2013 at 1:26 pm

I open professional emails/letters with “Dear So and so” or “To Whom It May Concern,” and I close them with “Thanks,” “Sincerely,” “Yours Truly,” “Gratefully,” etc.

I open personal emails with “Hey!!!,” Hi!!!,” “So and so!!!!, ” and I close said emails with “x” or “xx” for family and good friends, “un beso,” “un besito,” or “un abrazo” for close Spanish speaking friends or “Later” for other people or friends who are not into affection


16 Dani January 24, 2013 at 1:27 pm

I do think many of us are starved for affection.


17 Megan M. January 22, 2013 at 8:56 am

I always end professional or serious correspondence with “Sincerely” and have never thought of using anything different.

Any personal handwritten note from me ends with a “heart, Meg/an” where I literally draw a heart, add a comma, and sign my name. Meg is for super close friends and family. I use xoxo’s a lot when I’m chatting with my best friend, but nowhere else.

And I definitely use emoticons because I don’t want anyone to think I’m being harsh if I am not. :)


18 Summer January 22, 2013 at 8:56 am

I work in construction. As a woman in a male dominated field I really try to not be girly or overly emotional. It helps people to remember that they are working with an equal, not a girl. But outside my industry I find it strange that XOXO would be appropriate or acceptable. I suppose that I believe professional still needs to be professional – good grammar (!!!), courtesy, respect and well, professionalism. We don’t have to deaden everything to quick and cute, formality still has a place, doesn’t it?


19 Jenny January 22, 2013 at 9:11 am

I end my emails with “Blessings sweet friend”. My blog is personal, so I feel a personal connection with those who choose to follow along with my simple (but grateful for) journey.
I received an email from you shortly after I started blogging and your response felt personal. And that my sweet friend :) is how I prefer life to be -> Simple, personal, and filled with joy and gratitude.


20 Shannon { A Mom's Year } January 22, 2013 at 9:27 am

I was thinking some more about letter closings as I went about my day and remembered this: When I worked at Special Olympics Intl, our boss, Mrs. Shriver, would sign some of her letters with “Bunny Hugs.” I always thought that was such a sweet touch for such a powerful woman!


21 The New Diplomat's Wife January 22, 2013 at 9:31 am

i think it all depends…professionally, i always sign “regards” or “best” (and if really annoyed, “Please advise” – ha!) but for acquaintances, “cheers”, and for friends, “xoxo” since i would probably give them kisses in real life when departing them. like helen i was a little surprised when i received your kisses the first time, but now come to expect it ;) – and it’s a nice friendly touch, helps to make a person behind a computer transaction, especially when the recipient already “knows” you a bit from your blog, a little more real…


22 bdaiss January 22, 2013 at 9:33 am

Like others, I think it depends on your profession/industry. I find it completely natural from you (and other bloggers) because I think of this less as a “business” than as a two way communication between friends. Strange…it is definitely a business, but it’s also very informal. Most of my coworkers would not share that level of detail of their personal lives with me. The few I’ve become more friendly with do get emoticons and {hugs} now and again. Family and friends are smothered in emoticons and sometimes xoxo at the end. But most of the time endings are just B. I’m just lazy that way. : ) In fact, that’s how I often end my work emails as well, at least to those I work with on a regular basis. If it’s to someone above me or someone I don’t know, then they get a Thanks in there too.

Interesting food for thought this fine Tuesday morning!


23 edie January 22, 2013 at 9:34 am

I love your ‘kisses’ Gabrielle – It tells me you are a warm, friendly individual….
I end my e-mails with xoe, or xoxoedie…to my family and girlfriends but do worry that I will type that in and send it off to a male business acquaintance!



24 Heather January 22, 2013 at 9:50 am

Hi, I like to use “All the Best” to close my informal to semi formal correspondence, I feel it is positive and well wishing but less grandma-y than love you or xoxo,

All the Best,



25 Katie January 22, 2013 at 9:53 am

I hate “hugs,” “kisses,” even sometimes “dearest readers.” I am not an affectionate person and don’t read blogs for intimacy. But I don’t hate Gabby. I just might stay out of arms reach in person to avoid a hug!
I am learning that a smiley face after sarcasm or a joke is a must.


26 KellliO January 22, 2013 at 9:57 am

When I started my first real job out of college, I stressed over how I should sign off professionally. I’ve enjoyed picking things up from those around me. I think Warm regards is my favorite, but I usually use Best.

It is still strange to me when coworkers don’t sign their name. It feels too blunt. I always worry that I come off as demanding, like I’m speaking without a smile. I think that’s a worry I have in person, too.

I like the kisses, as I read so regularly that we feel like old friends! I used to sign nearly all my emails to friends and family with Love, K, but after I got married I started to feel strange about throwing it around.


27 M.Frances January 22, 2013 at 10:03 am

LOVE this. I’m definitely a person who starts almost all emails with “Hi, Name!” and I never know how to end it, so I try to stick with something like “Talk to you soon!” or “Thanks!” and then my name. Lots of exclamation points in there. And I’m not a super exclaimer in verbal language. I just find email awkward. You don’t “sign off” at that end of a verbal conversation worrying whether it’s the correct level of professionalism. With my boss, I’d say, “ok, I’ll finish that and get back to you” and he’d probably say, “thank you.”

That said, I have to admit to not loving the “xoxo” sign off in personal email. Blog posts – it’s fine. But from someone who is not my nearest, dearest friend in a direct email to just me – that does feel awkward.


28 Dawn January 22, 2013 at 10:05 am

“Kisses” or “xoxox” would definitely be inappropriate in my workplace. I work in a big company and was surprised to read in the article that you mentioned that some women use those signatures professionally. It’s kind of funny that it’s traditional use anything — why aren’t people “allowed” to just put a name at the bottom? :)


29 geri justinger January 22, 2013 at 10:11 am

First of all I think someone should write an e-mail/electronic etiquette reference that should be be taught (Emily Post-ish) as I think there is a sincere lack of thought and effort put into MOST forms of e-communication.
I have two careers – one more professional (insurance – employed by another) and one more creative (recycled clothing design – my own company). I have chosen to end my own company’s correspondence with xo – I mostly deal with women – and I feel a real kinship with my customers and consider them friends – so I feel it’s appropriate for me and the positive (loving) image I want to portray. That said, I would NEVER do that in my other line of work as it would be viewed as inappropriate.


30 Melissa@Julia's Bookbag January 22, 2013 at 10:13 am

I’m a total overuser of exclamation points, smiley faces and hugs and kisses. Usually I sign off on emails with some combination of ALL OF THE ABOVE! :) xo (see?)


31 Dianna January 22, 2013 at 10:13 am

Have you ever seen the movie “I Don’t Know How She Does It” with Sarah Jessica Parker? Funny scene about this very issue and the xoxo sign off. Work in the corporate world and would never do it.


32 Nicole January 22, 2013 at 10:30 am

I had no idea that xo was so widespread! I use it to close all family emails, and a lot of social media interaction. BUT, I don’t use it at work. That would be very weird in my professional world.

I have used it once, in an IM to my (female) boss, letting her know that I was picking my kids up from school and leaving work early (the day of the Newtown shooting). That was such a personal and emotional moment that an xo slipped out… but it was so strange that I noted it and was a little embarrassed about it afterward.

My “humph” is how the article points out that xo is so common for women, so common in social media, and then starts making points about using it in a professional setting. For me there is a clear divide between the two, and just because I use it personally doesn’t mean I would use it professionally. I think it was sloppy for the author to assume behavior would be the same in both worlds. It would be like saying that most women wear slippers at home, and then cautioning us not to wear them to a board meeting. Duh.

I love your “kisses” closing. It’s sweet, authentic, and kind. Don’t change.



33 Lauren January 22, 2013 at 10:38 am

I begin notes to family or friends with “Hey” or “Hi” and then their name. For a more formal email, I’d just begin with the recipient’s name. I use xoxo as a sign-off on emails to people I am close to all the time, but probably wouldn’t use it with someone I didn’t know well or in a professional setting. However, I’ve never received an email with a casual or personal sign-off that I felt offended by.


34 Grace@ Sense and Simplicity January 22, 2013 at 10:52 am

I work in education and I would never use xox at the end of an email and would be shocked if someone did. I never use it in my personal or blog correspondence, but think it is sweet when people do. I always sign off both professionally and at work with “cheers”.


35 Brandie January 22, 2013 at 11:18 am

I must confess to using xoxo too. I generally end business emails with warmest wishes and a heart by my name but now that i think of it that’s not really any more professional than hugs and kisses. Oh well, it’s me. i think you should do what’s authentic to you.


36 Jen January 22, 2013 at 11:23 am

When I call a business and reach someone who was not raised speaking English, the overly professional language they are taught feels unctuous and patronizing. Maybe I just feel more comfortable with a more comfortable style of professionalism. ;-) (and yeah, emoticons are requisite!)
I don’t think I have to become Tabula Rasa when I step into my office. I am still the same human in my work as I am outside it, so why should I put on a veneer of professionalism? Just because I end an e-mail warmly, doesn’t mean I am less capable. Sometimes it can feel separatist to be so formal.


37 G at willowday January 22, 2013 at 11:50 am

I’m going to read this later. At first glance, this looked to interesting! The adorable photo caught my eye! So Sweet!!


38 G at willowday January 22, 2013 at 11:53 am

PS. I shouldn’t be multi tasking but although all of my french friends sign off with “bisous, gros bises and bises” none of them knew of the x’s and o’s!

(just as it took me yeeeears to understand when Swede’s signed off with “p + k’s” which are literally: kisses and hugs). I can’t wait to read the article to see if I’m even commenting to what everyone else is reading! Always, interesting reads here!


39 Ashley in MD January 22, 2013 at 12:00 pm

I agonize over how to begin and end e-mails in professional settings. I have no idea why I find it so stressful, but I do!
When I write to friends I typically just write “Hey,” or “Hi [Name],” and typically “Hello friends,” if I’m addressing a group. When I have to send something to supervisors or those I don’t know well, though, I freeze. I usually default to “Hello [Name],” as my greeting. I like to end with “Thanks,” and then my name if I can work in any reason at all to add a “thanks” to my e-mail. If it’s not a request of some sort, though, and thanks is inappropriate, then I never know what to do. In the academic circles I work in, “Best,” is used often (but so often that it feels cliche for me to use it, too). I will often just end the e-mail and then put my name without any sort of farewell sign-off.
I am guilty of over-using exclamation points in my correspondence. I am not a big fan of emoticons, though, and rarely use them, even when writing to close friends.


40 my honest answer January 22, 2013 at 12:02 pm

Inappropriate in a business setting, in my opinion. Friends and family, sure, and perhaps colleagues who’ve become friends? (I still wouldn’t). If someone sent kisses to me I wouldn’t be offended, but I might be a bit… embarrassed ? (if it was a guy)


41 Laura January 22, 2013 at 12:20 pm

Twenty years ago, I got a letter from an acquaintance that ended with “Cheers” and I’ve been using it ever since in written communication to my inner circle.


42 Diana January 22, 2013 at 12:49 pm

When I see “XOXO,” I see a European-style double kiss cheek in my head. I do not think it weird at all, except maybe if it were coming from my dentist or attorney. As for my personal valediction, for business and personal I tend to go with “cheers,” except when I need to be ultra-professional. Then it’s “Sincerely” or “Best regards.”


43 Yvonne January 22, 2013 at 12:49 pm

LOVE the xoxo – and use it everyday to friends – if someone is not yet in my circle I like ‘cheers’ or ‘best’ but if you get an xoxo from me you know I love you! If I get it from someone it’s the same – love letters!


44 Tiffany January 22, 2013 at 1:30 pm

I would find XOXO or Kisses, Hugs, etc. as very odd in a professional email. I can’t imagine what my clients would say or how they would react to that! I use “Best” (best regards shortened) for clients. That said, I think that’s totally fine for friends and family.


45 Pamela Balabuszko-Reay January 22, 2013 at 2:46 pm

I love it.
With all of the trouble in the world a little xoxoxoxoxoxo goes a long way.
So there,


46 Elizabeth T. January 22, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Kisses is very French, isn’t it – a la “bisous” or “bises”?

In past workplaces people tended to sign off with “bests” or “tx” (abbreviation of thanks). “Bests” may be derived from best wishes?


47 Heather Hamer January 22, 2013 at 4:28 pm

For some reason I always think that “warmest regards” or similar sound so insincere. “All the best” to me sounds kind of like “take a hike” (it’s probably just me). I use “Thanks!” because I haven’t settled on anything better! I do think that your kisses is really cute and friendly though!


48 Cerise January 22, 2013 at 4:55 pm

My mother has always signed her personal letters xoxo. She will even put little smiley faces in the os. I usually put “hugs, Cerise.” Never was much for kisses. I don’t write many serious/professional emails/letters, but when I do they usually end with Thanks….cause it’s usually me asking for something.


49 Cherie January 22, 2013 at 5:07 pm

I use x and xo for personal texts and emails with female friends, not because it means love to me but because it is a sign of friendliness, even with acquaintances. Professionally I would never use it, it feels inappropriate. A bit like wearing a strapless top to work, out of place.


50 sarah January 22, 2013 at 5:12 pm

i don’t sign my name on my emails to friends, just put the S….the rest of the time, it’s usually thanks. but i have always thought your ending of kisses on your blog was so sweet and different and special. love it..


51 Anneliese January 22, 2013 at 7:49 pm

Having worked in male-heavy organizations I probably err on the business-side of things, even in my casual correspondence. I rarely use emoticons, insist on capitalizing the way I was taught in grammar school (seems just wrong and too self-deprecating to use “i” for instance), and save the “xoxo” (which I love!) for close family and friends. I do however wiggle around quite a bit when it comes to making requests or encouraging someone to complete their responsibility. Whatever formality to my writing I am still a bit of a softie and 20 years in “business” didn’t change that. I love the intimacy of your “kisses.” Plus it seems very genuine to me–I believe you do love your readers enough to kiss them!


52 Jennifer January 22, 2013 at 8:52 pm

I too struggled with how to close business emails on a happy, casual but respectful and, cheerful note. I’ve settled on “cheers”. I think it works in the widest variety of email audiences -groups and individuals (both known and unknown). I picked it up after living in South Africa for a few months, but that was 6 years ago and I’m still using it.


53 alli January 22, 2013 at 9:52 pm

this is funny! i have thought about that before, i have always ended my personal blog with ” xo ” but not my professional blog. one time i accidentally wrote “xo” in an email that i was sending to a client! luckily she just laughed about it. :)



54 Rosa @ FLUTTERFLUTTER January 22, 2013 at 10:44 pm

I love receiving xo’s, but the indecisive, overthinking part of me is too scared to send them in my own emails in case the person I’m sending them to isn’t as casual about it as I am. That’s a good question! (Love the pic too!)


55 Kohana January 23, 2013 at 12:05 am

Here in Australia, all my girlfriends sign their messages with XX which is “kiss kiss” but looks more racy to my American sensibilities. Funny the way crossing cultures can humor us!


56 sona January 23, 2013 at 10:11 am

If we have to think too much about our signatures, perhaps we are trying to portray something we are not. xoxox brings to mind high school girls with their often false sincerity and desire to be accepted. I love xoxxo from family and close friends but would seem ackward or pretentious from others. Great discussion.


57 Gina @ Oaxacaborn January 23, 2013 at 10:12 am

Having received an email from you containing both an enthusiastic “Hooray!” and “kisses”, I think it’s delightful and wonderfully YOU!


58 elz January 23, 2013 at 10:49 am

Please no! Using “friendly greetings” like hugs and kisses in a professional situation is wrong. By using such terms, you are devaluing any business points you wanted to make in the body of the communication. Own your profession. Be a professional. In correspondence with friends and family, absolutely. In correspondence with business contacts, vendors, etc?-NO. You are smarter than that.


59 Zoe - SlowMama February 20, 2014 at 8:45 am

I use xoxox or “love” for close friends and family. I use “warmly” or “warm regards” or “peace” with friendly acquaintances. And I use “sincerely yours” for business letters or professional correspondence where I know recipients are expecting formality. I never use “best” — for some reason it bugs me :-)

I used to hate emoticons and “soft touches,” but I’ve come to appreciate the need to convey tone in writing emails, comments, etc. Sometimes what I’m hearing in my head is not the way someone else is reading it.

I love your “kisses” and find them endearing and personal. You come across as a perfect blend of professional and personal and I think that’s hard to pull off.


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