“Abraços” (or “hugs”) is the way that many people sign off not a personal, but a professional e-mail in Brazil. This alone speaks volumes about not only the work culture, but also the way that Brazilians interact – to spell it out, work environments are more relaxed and as a whole, Brazilians are incredibly friendly and warm.
I, for one, am a huge fan of the “abraços” and I only wish that we could adopt the same signature in English. It helps to explain why Brazilians see Americans (and often just anglophones in general) as very cold and distant…
In anglophone (and even in French) culture, this would just not fly. For all anglophones out there, can you imagine signing off an e-mail, “Hugs,” to your boss or potential employer? That’s how it works in Brazil. In English, the most you will get is a “Best” or, if you are on more relaxed/closer terms with the person, “Cheers”. Sounds incredibly cold compared to virtual hugs, doesn’t it?
The other day, I e-mailed my resume to a company in Brazil, and someone who works for the company, who has never met me before, kindly sent me an e-mail back telling me that there are no openings at the moment, but that he would register my data for future reference. He then signed the e-mail with the common Brazilian signature, “Abraços”. That is the kind of work environment that I want to be in. 🙂
Sometimes, in very formal (and strictly professional) e-mails, people will write “Atenciosamente” (equivalent to our “sincerely”) – but more often than not, the person will write “Abraços” – especially if you have already met him or her or had an interview.
Funnily enough, “Abraços” is actually the more distant way of signing an e-mail. If you are on personal terms with the person, you will generally get nothing less than “Beijos” (“kisses”) – this applies to vocal conversation as well. So if you are saying goodbye to someone on the phone, even if you have just met that person, you will almost always end the call with “Beijos”. Same goes for text messages.
I say that we (anglophones) jump on this bandwagon and adopt the “beijos” and “abraços” to the English language – and end that work e-mail on the right note !