Ever wonder how you should sign a letter? Maybe you’re writing a delightful thank you card and are drawing a blank on how to sign off? In this Parade article, Mindpath Health’s Kiana Shelton, LCSW, provides 15 ways to end a card and why it’s important to do so.
“That could’ve been an email” is a common refrain for meetings we wish didn’t happen. Digital communication via email, Slack, text, social media messengers and more has become the norm these days, replacing face-to-face interactions and handwritten notes.
That’s only increased the appeal of cards.
“Sending a card, such as a postcard or holiday card, although considered old-fashioned in the digital age, remains a cherished gesture due to its personal and tangible nature,” says Luke Allen, PhD a licensed psychologist. “It carries a sense of thoughtfulness and effort that can make the recipient feel valued and remembered.
Though the body of the card may be the focus, signing the card with the proper ending is arguably more important than sealing the envelope.
“The end of a card can leave a lasting impression on the recipient,” says Kiana Shelton, LCSW, a licensed clinical social worker with Mindpath Health.
Have all the emails you’ve sent over the last three decades have you confused about the how to sign a card? Mental health providers who are pros at helping people navigate relationships are here to end the confusion.
The first thing to consider when signing a card
The most important factor to remember is the intent of the card.
“The words you use to end a card can evoke emotion as well as express intention toward a response,” says Natalie Bernstein, PhD, a licensed psychologist. “If you respond in a way that suggests caring and affection, you may be hoping for a response. If you are offering sympathy or expressing gratitude, you may not expect a response from the recipient.”
The best way to sign a card
Warmly. Dr. Allen loves using the word “warmly” to end cards because it—get this—conveys warmth and sincerity.
14 other great ways to end a card
1. With gratitude
Dr. Allen says this phrase is perfect for cards designed to express appreciation, namely thank you cards. However, Shelton says the phrase doesn’t need to be limited to thank-you notes.
“It is a great and versatile ending that works well for various situations and relationships,” Shelton says. “It’s a closing that can easily bridge your card’s connection, tone and sentiment and relationship with the recipient. It is both thoughtful and sincere.”
For example, you may use “with gratitude” in a holiday or birthday card because you’re thankful to know the recipient.
This one is an old standby and perfect to end a card with as long as it’s sincere. It’s kind but not overly mushy.
Dr. Allen says this phrase is great for cards addressed to close friends and family because it expresses “affection and warmth.”
4. Yours truly
This phrase is a bit less personal but remains common for good reason.
“[It’s] a classic formal closing suitable for professional relationships,” Dr. Allen says.
5. With appreciation
Shelton loves this phrase as an alternative to “with gratitude.”
“It’s an excellent expression for showing thanks,” she says.
This happy phrase pops up in chummy emails and also plays well in handwritten cards.
“This is an ideal closing for more celebratory cards and messages,” Shelton says.
7. Your friend
You may have used this when writing to pen pals in grade school. It still works.
“It’s an inclusive and friendly sign-off,” Dr. Allen says.
8. Thinking of you
This phrase can comfort someone going through a hard time, such as illness or the death of a loved one.
“It conveys ongoing care and concern for the recipient,” Dr. Allen says.
Shelton also loves it.
“This lets them know they are not alone,” she says.
9. Take good care
Dr. Bernstein appreciates the neutrality of this phrase.
10. Hope to hear from you soon
Emails often solicit replies. Handwritten cards aren’t always a one-way street, either,
“‘Hope to hear from you soon’…[invites] a response as the sender states that he/she/they are interested in a reply,” Dr. Bernstein says.
11. Hugs and kisses
Shelton says this colloquial ending is best for friends and family.
12. Until we meet again
Dr. Allen suggests ending a card with this phrase if you’re sending it to someone you recently said goodbye to but plan to see again.
13. Wishing you well
Shelton says the phrase ‘wishing you well” shows goodwill and is appropriate for many occasions and recipients, from thank you cards to farewell notes when leaving a job.
This classic way to end a note can feel stuffy. However, when used correctly, it’s perfectly appropriate.
“This ending would be appropriate for an acquaintance, boss or coworker,” Dr. Bernstein says.
The Worst Way to End a Card
“Cards need to have a sense of closure,” Dr. Bernstein says. “Otherwise, the recipient may not understand the motivation or desire of the sender. One of the worst ways to end a card is to not offer an ending at all.”
And whatever you do, don’t forget to sign the card.
“While you may think that since your name is on the envelope, it’s obvious it still lacks a personal touch,” Shelton says.