Rachel Levy Lesser
4 min readSep 6, 2022

I can so clearly remember learning how to write a proper letter in third grade. I was instructed by my teacher to put my name and address in the upper right hand corner of the paper, the date below that, and then the recipient’s name and address on the left hand side below the date. The salutation was rather straight forward — write “Dear” whoever and then close with “Sincerely” my name.

For years I followed this format — when writing formal letters in any academic setting, cover letters when looking for jobs and then in professional emails. Start with Dear, end with Sincerely. Pretty simple, but to me at least that closing salutation felt well, not so sincere.

As email became the standard in professional communications, I found myself straying from “Sincerely” to “Best” and even sometimes “All the Best.” I cringe now to think about signing off as such. It reminds me of the “I hope this email finds you well” opening. It never felt quite right.

I must digress for a moment and revisit the days of my less formal handwritten letters and notes dating back to sleepaway camp and pen pal-ships. I signed those correspondences with what I thought was my very own personal signature, xoxo. I can’t recall where I first picked up this closing greeting. I do remember that a very cool older girl in camp taught me about S.W.A.K (sealed with a kiss) which was what I wrote on the back envelope of camp letters home to my parents. They loved this. My father still mentions the S.W.A.K. every once in a while and so too B.F.F. and of course xoxo.