It’s A Funny Old World: Caro­line Buchanan

Woman's Weekly (UK) - - Come On In! -

Irent out a hol­i­day cot­tage and over the years I have be­come pretty hot at spot­ting who to avoid and who will be fine.

I’ve learnt the hard way, though, and now I know there are clues to be found in emails.

Nat­u­rally, I only want lovely peo­ple to stay at my cot­tage – peo­ple who are will­ing to have a won­der­ful time in the beau­ti­ful area of West Dorset; who will not up­set my neigh­bours and who will look af­ter my home as if it is their own.

In the main I have been very lucky, al­though there have been a few rogues along the way. Like the lot who rented it out one Christ­mas and then wanted their money back be­cause all of them were al­ler­gic to dog hairs. Funny that, con­sid­er­ing that they didn’t com­plain un­til the end of their week and I didn’t have a dog at the time.

Gen­er­ally speak­ing, emails can tell you whether a per­son is warm or cold, funny or pompous, as­sertive or de­mand­ing, con­sid­er­ate or ar­ro­gant, givers or tak­ers and so much more. Of course, this is not an ex­act sci­ence, but once you’re aware of how much an email can re­veal, you will have a much clearer idea whether or not it’s worth do­ing busi­ness with the sender.

I am in­stantly sus­pi­cious of peo­ple who sign their emails ‘best’. I don’t know why, but to me it seems a cold and lazy sign-off. They’re not wish­ing you the best at all – they re­ally couldn’t give a damn. For years I’ve been sign­ing my busi­ness emails ‘Warm wishes, Caro­line’. It seems a lot more real than the im­per­sonal ‘Best wishes’. When I’m feel­ing well dis­posed to­wards the sender, I up the ante and re­ply ‘warm­est wishes’ – and I mean it.

Nat­u­rally, in our per­sonal lives the peo­ple we know and love get the ‘lots of love and hugs’ sort of sign-off, al­though that can get a bit com­pet­i­tive. For ex­am­ple, ‘huge love and big fat hugs back to you’ or ‘mil­lions and tril­lions of kisses’. But at least you know that it’s all done with heart.

Now I re­alise we have to make al­lowances for the dif­fer­ence be­tween SHE-mails and HE-mails. I’ve not stud­ied man-to-man emails, but I guess they con­cen­trate on the prac­ti­cal ar­range­ments of the ex­change. Woman-to-woman emails are quite likely to have a few feel­ings thrown into the mix.

Man-to-woman and woman-toman, busi­ness or plea­sure, I bet you a zil­lion pings you could pin­point the sex of the sender. By the way, the first birth­day card my ex-hus­band gave me was signed ‘Best wishes’ fol­lowed by his full name – he had then vis­i­bly crossed out his sur­name. We were liv­ing to­gether so it was dis­turb­ing to say the least! I should have seen the writ­ing on the wall then.

To re­turn to my cot­tage, the cus­tomers who are wel­comed back with open arms nearly al­ways write a thank-you email in re­sponse to mine, say­ing I hope they had a lovely time. The ones who don’t bother I prob­a­bly won’t hear from again, un­less they have a com­plaint. They’ll be on their email then at the speed of light. For­tu­nately, these are few and far be­tween – and hope­fully I re­spond ap­pro­pri­ately.

Warm­est wishes to you all!

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