Things people really hate in emails. Also, my mistake. And, 7 other things worth your time.

And now for something completely different. Or at least, opposite.

Recently, I wrote about a handful of studies suggesting “magic words” to use in emails that, statistically speaking, increase the likelihood that people will reply.

There was a small but noticeable improvement in response rates when people opened an email with a very brief greeting like “Hey” or “Hi,” and when they closed with, “Thanks in advance.

This prompted some robust debate among readers. And yet… I was looking through all the studies I have in my file o’ studies… and I came across a survey that dissents from the conclusions above. So, I thought I’d give this one equal time.

A company called Perkbox Insights surveyed 1,928 adults to find out what they loathe about the emails they get every day. Let me just pull out two highlights:

  • 28% hated the use of the word, “Hey” to open an email

  • 7% said they found the phrase “Thanks in advance” to be “grating.”

We all know these aren’t exactly double-blind studies published in peer-reviewed journals, but that’s striking. And let’s suspend our disbelief for a moment, and just take both of these at face value.

The fact that some number of people find something annoying doesn’t mean a majority don’t react.

I mean, if you live in the New York City area, you know the 1-877-KARS-4-KIDS commercials. They’re probably the most annoying ads in the history of advertising. But they must work, right?

Anyway, here are some of the other “annoying” phrases on the Perkbox list. As you’ll see, some are not controversial:

  • "Hope you're well" (6%)

  • "Per our conversation" (15%)

  • "Confirming receipt" (16%)

  • "As per my last email" (33%)

  • "To whom it may concern" (37%)

  • "Love" (57%)

  • Using "X," as in kisses (65%)

And the most universally despised email habit: ALL CAPS. (DON’T DO IT!)

Mistakes were made

Earlier this week, I wrote about Warren Buffett, and the Cameo app, and I asked people if anyone among us had ever had a near-death experience. People clicked the little “heart” icon on each story, and many emailed me directly.

But nobody commented. Literally, nobody. I wondered: Had I done something wrong?

Yes, in fact, I had. I accidentally turned off the commenting feature for this entire website. My apologies. They’re back on. You can comment on the original articles, or below here, or we can just call it a snafu and start over again Monday.

For what it’s worth, quite a few readers suggested the Netflix series, Surviving Death in response to the near-death question. I haven’t seen it yet.

7 other things worth your time

  • Op-ed: “Millions of American schoolchildren will soon have missed a year of in-person instruction, and we may have inflicted permanent damage on some of them, and on our country. … [W]e must right this wrong.” (NYT)

  • “A former U.S. Olympics gymnastics coach with ties to disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar killed himself Thursday, hours after being charged with turning his Michigan gym into a hub of human trafficking by coercing girls to train and then abusing them.” (AP)

  • “The Senate parliamentarian ruled on Thursday evening that a $15 minimum wage provision cannot stay in President Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus package.” That means Democrats can’t pass it with a simple majority. (Business Insider)

  • “Biden ordered an airstrike on facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups in eastern Syria on Thursday night in response to three separate rocket attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq, according to a Pentagon spokesperson.” This was Biden’s first known military action as president. (Politico)

  • The Manhattan district attorney collected millions of pages of former President Trump’s tax returns Thursday after the Supreme Court declined to protect the returns from prosecutors. (CNBC)

  • Lady Gaga's dog walker is in the hospital after he was shot and two of the pop star's French bulldogs were stolen Wednesday night in Hollywood. She’s put up a $500,000 reward “no questions asked” for the dogs’ return. Of course, with a shooting involved I assume somebody will be asking some questions. (LA Times via Yahoo)

  • Shockingly real Tom Cruise deepfakes are invading TikTok. You can read about them here, or just watch the one below.

Thanks for reading. Photo credit: Pixabay. I’ve written about this before on If you’re not yet a subscriber, please sign up for the daily email newsletter—with thousands and thousands of 5-star ratings from happy readers.

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