False starts


Have you noticed a new trend in the way people are beginning their work emails? “I hope you are well”, they write. Or, ominously, “I hope all is well”. Or anxiously, “I do hope this finds you well”.

Well, it doesn’t. It finds me quite unwell. Why is the writer worrying about me? Do they know something I don’t? Is this a coded reminder to go for that check-up? A roundabout way of telling me I look terrible?

Then, in the next line, they’re on to something else, never to mention my health again. Aha. The penny drops. They don’t really care at all. It’s just a bit of waffle, a form of scene-setter to replace “Thank you for your email” or “Ben suggested I contact you.”

So why do I find it annoying? Because it’s cheesy, fake and irrelevant, and sets the wrong tone for a professional exchange.

I’m thinking of taking it literally next time: “Kind of you to ask, and no, I’m not. The doctors are pessimistic, and I’ve added you to the group email for my daily medical bulletin.”

Will that discourage the offenders? Or should I pick my battles?