I know how it feels to dish out affection and not receive it back with loved ones, family and best friends – I’ve also sent a text to someone by mistake with a ‘x’ or a ‘xx’ (or a slightly-unhinged ‘Xx’), but in response received nothing but a kiss-less abyss. Or even worse, a full stop. And when I receive one from you at the end of a work email, especially when accompanied by an innocent, excited exclamation mark, I feel like you’ve offered up your heart to me and I’ve thrown it aside. Perhaps I have – but as long we’re in the office/work environment and not the local eatery, nothing is going to change. Sorry. Because I never, ever send kisses to my colleagues, clients, bosses, or anyone I’m emailing in relation to work.
Women are more often expected to be super-friendly at work And while it might sound like a harsh rule, I bet I can convert you to having it too. Forget the whole workplace thing for a second, and ask yourself this: Have you ever had to think twice about sending kisses, or how many kisses to send, at the end of a text? Ever? If it’s someone you’ve started dating recently, the answer is easy. Perhaps you’ve consulted your best friends on whether sending two kisses to them is too keen, or whether your romantic interest sending two themselves is too keen. And if they’ve suddenly stopped sending them? Perhaps they’re losing interest. Texting is enough of a minefield already.
This also transfers to your social life more generally, though at lesser extremes – perhaps you’ve received no kisses from someone you usually receive one from and are wondering what’s up with them, or sent three kisses by mistake and worried that you’ve come off as too full on. And if you’ve sent kisses to some people, but not others, how have people read that? Could someone perceive it as flirting? Perhaps you don’t think about these things at all, and that my writing and editing sentences for a living has made me paranoid. But I doubt it. Fact is, a single kiss can say a lot – or at the very least the option of doing so gives you something extra to deliberate about for a split second. The fewer choices there are to make at work – including outfits – the better.
And in the wise words of Kimberly ‘Sweet Brown’ Wilkins, ain’t nobody got time for that. If you care about your career and have a load of work to do every day, the last thing you want to waste time doing is thinking – even for that split second – about how to sign off an email. Research has also revealed that we label women almost exclusively as having Resting Bitch Face (RBF) as opposed to men as we’re more likely to perceive women’s neutral expressions as expressing anger and contempt. In other words, being exceptionally smiley and friendly is perceived as ‘normal mode’ for women, in the same way that signing off our emails with kisses and exclamation marks isn’t seen as unusual at all.
And while being a warm person isn’t a bad thing, having our cheeks aching from smiling all of the time to avoid being perceived as cold or distant is. Being assertive is sometimes perceived as cold. Because as anyone not constantly being happy tends to be, I can’t manage that level of happiness all the time. Similarly, sending kisses all of the time would set a standard that if I decided to break even once, I’d risk looking cold. And spending all of my time at work making other people feel comfortable and agreed with? It’s not exactly career bolstering. There are more important things to think about when emailing someone.
So for me, I’d rather skip a choice that doesn’t have to be there in the first place – instead of mixing it up between kisses, my name and whatnot, I sign off every email with a simple ‘Best wishes with my name…..simple! And if I do choose to be friendly, it’ll be when I want to be, rather than it being the default. So perhaps one day – if you’re lucky – you’ll even get an exclamation mark from me.