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  • Jaspal Kahlon

Dear to Hi

For the first 8 years of my work life, I used ‘Dear’ to address my emails. I stopped using Dear in 2009. Dear was replaced by Hi. The reason for the change could be any or a combination of the reasons listed below:

a. ‘Dear’ sounds too personal to use it in the professional world. b. ‘Dear’ to a female recipient of my emails may make her suspicious about my mannerisms. c. I was trained at school to address formal (hand-written) letters using Dear. The letters that I wrote were to the school principal, my class teacher, parents, grandparents, friends, and brother/sister. I was not trained to write formal letters to customers, colleagues, seniors batchmates, bosses etc. d. ‘Dear’ sounds too submissive. For instance, a prospective customer addressed as ‘Dear’ may make me sound a weak negotiator for winning new business. e. ‘Dear’ is an irrational expression of my behavioral preferences. My behavioral preferences are: realistic, no-nonsense, and to the point. Using Dear makes me sound idealistic. f. It does not matter what is used – Hi or Dear. It is usually unnoticed. At least it does not elicit a comment from the recipient. g. ‘Hi’ is the best choice when addressing my fellow countrymen. Afterall, we are practical and pretty knowledgeable about our etiquette upbringing. But ‘Dear’ is better when writing to a foreigner. h. ‘Hi Sir/Madam,’ can still be used for seniors who expect you to address them with full respect.

When and Where will I use ‘Dear’ again? My parents do not access emails. I talk to them using ‘Ji’ frequently. My interaction with the spouse is too friendly and when we are just a few inches apart on the bed every night, ‘Dear’ will make it too formal to write an email, if at all we had to send one. My kids are still living with me and they also do not use emails. When they leave me for pursuing their careers, instant messaging apps will deter me from writing an email to them.

But, I do have a place where the word ‘Dear’ can be used freely. It’s my personal diary. I can be expressive while drafting my letters to anyone using ‘Dear’ since those drafts would remain drafts.

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