How To
5 min read

How To Write Perfect Personal Email Subject Lines - With Examples

Reem Abouemera
November 20, 2022


There's no denying that personal emails are important. They help us stay in touch with friends, family, and colleagues. Not just that, but personal emails can also be a great way to build relationships and foster connections.

But with so many emails flooding our inboxes every day, it can be hard to make yours stand out. That's why it's essential to craft a clever, attention-grabbing subject line that will encourage your recipient to open your email. Your email will only be as successful as its subject line, so it's worth taking the time to make it great!

In this article, we'll share with you best practices for writing personal email subject lines, as well as some examples to inspire your own.

Best practices when writing a personal email subject line

If you want your subject line to hook your recipient and encourage them to open your email, make sure to tick these boxes!

Be direct

Your subject line should be direct and to the point. Be clear about what your email is about from the get-go, so your recipient knows what they can expect.

This also goes for any attachments you might be sending – make sure to mention them in the subject line!

Make it short

Quite related to the previous point, your subject line should be as short as possible. Remember, people are scanning their inboxes quickly, so you want to make sure your subject line is easy to read and understand.

A good rule of thumb is to keep it under 60 characters. That's the equivalent of around 7-9 words.

Be specific

When it comes to personal emails, specificity is key. Your recipient should be able to understand what your email is about without even opening it.

You can achieve this by being clear and concise in your subject line. For example, if you're emailing a friend to catch up, you might write “Catching up over coffee?” or “Grabbing a drink this week?”

On the other hand, if you're emailing someone to ask for a favor, make sure to be specific about what you're asking for. For example, “Can you proofread my resume?” or “Do you have any recommendations for a good accountant?”

Use numbers

People love numbers! They make your subject line easy to scan and understand, which is perfect for busy inboxes.

If you're sharing a list of things in your email – like ideas, tips, or resources – mention it in the subject line. For example, “10 personal email subject lines that get attention.”

You can also use numbers to give your email a sense of urgency. For example, “Last chance: only 3 spots left for the workshop!”

Add on value

Your personal email subject line should also add value for your recipient. In other words, it should be worth their time to read.

One way to do this is by sharing something exclusive or insider information. For example, “You're invited: VIP opening of the new store.”

Another way to add value is by offering a solution to a problem your recipient might be facing. For example, “Remembering birthdays made easy: 3 free resources.”

This can apply even if you're just sharing a quick resource with a friend!

Personal email subject line examples

Now that you know the best practices for writing personal email subject lines, it's time to get inspired! Check out these examples to get your creative juices flowing.

For catching up

  • Catching up over coffee?
  • Grabbing a drink this week?
  • Lunch next week?
  • Dinner on Thursday?
  • Let's catch up!

For college application

  • Following up on my application (application number)
  • Inquiry about my application (application number)
  • Admission decision follow-up (application number)
  • Application question (application number)
  • Status update request (application number)

For thanking someone

  • Thank you for your help!
  • Thanks for the referral!
  • Thank you, from the bottom of my heart
  • Wanted to say thanks!
  • You're amazing, thank you!

For Christmas

  • Merry Christmas, <name>!  
  • Wishing you a Merry Christmas, <name>! 
  • Sending you holiday cheer!
  • Jingle bells and holiday wishes!
  • Christmas spirit and lots of love!

For holiday

  • Wishing you a happy holiday season!
  • Happy holidays!
  • Season's greetings!
  • All the best this holiday season!
  • Warmest wishes this holiday season!

For help

  • Quick question about <topic> 
  • Need your help with <topic> 
  • Asking for a quick favor
  • Can I pick your brain about <topic>? 
  • Could I get your advice on <topic>? 

To stay in touch

  • Just wanted to say hi!
  • Thinking about you!
  • Hope you're doing well!
  • Let's catch up soon!
  • Long time no chat!

For inviting someone to a party

  • You're invited: my birthday party!
  • Come celebrate with me!
  • Party at my place!
  • Can't wait to see you at my birthday bash!
  • Bring your dancing shoes to my party!

For meeting request

  • Can we meet to discuss <topic>? 
  • When might be a good time for a meeting?
  • I'll be in town next week. Can we meet up?
  • Is there a time we can jump on a call this week?
  • Meeting SOS! Can we chat?

For asking for advice

  • Not sure what to do about <topic> – can I get your opinion?
  • Could I get your advice on <topic>? 
  • I need some help with <topic> 
  • Wanted to run something by you – is now a good time?
  • Can I pick your brain about <topic>? 

For reconnecting

  • It's been too long!
  • Long time no chat!
  • I miss you!
  • Thinking about you lately!
  • I was just thinking about you the other day!

With emojis

  • Just wanted to say hi 😊
  • 😱Big news–can't wait to tell you all about it!
  • You're invited: 🎉 my birthday party!
  • 🎶 Christmas spirit and lots of love!
  • 🙏 Thanks for the referral!

Mistakes to avoid when sending a personal email

It's all easy enough in theory, but when it comes to actually writing and sending a personal email, there are a few mistakes you'll want to avoid.

Sending it to the wrong person

One of the worst things that can happen when sending a personal email is accidentally hitting 'reply all' instead of just 'reply.' It's an easy mistake to make, but it can cause a lot of embarrassment (not to mention wasted time).

Worse yet, choosing the wrong recipient in the first place is an even bigger faux pas. So, be extra careful when typing in addresses – especially if you're sending to more than one person, or if you know that you have similar contacts in your address book.

In all cases, always take a moment to double-check the recipients before you hit send to avoid any potential embarrassment.

Being too formal or rude

We've all been on the receiving end of an overly formal email. You know, the ones where every sentence is stiff and formal, or the emails that are so brief they barely even qualify as an email.

On the other hand, you also don't want to come across as too casual or rude in your personal email. After all, you are trying to build or maintain a relationship with this person.

So, what's the happy medium?

When in doubt, err on the side of being slightly more formal than you would normally be in an email to a friend or family member. This will help ensure that your email comes across as respectful and well-thought-out.

Not including a thank you at the end!

A simple thank you at the end of your email can go a long way. It shows that you appreciate the time the person took to read and respond to your email. Plus, it's just good manners.

Make sure to thank the person for their time, whether you're asking for advice, requesting a meeting, or just catching up.

Bonus Tip: If you're asking for favors or advice, be sure to let the person know in advance how much you appreciate their help. This will show that you're polite and grateful, and may make them more likely to say 'yes' when you ask for a favor.

Using all CAPS in an email

Using all caps in an email is the digital equivalent of shouting. It's seen as rude and can come across as aggressive or angry.

So, unless you're trying to make a point or emphasize something, avoid using all caps in your personal email. Instead, use proper grammar and punctuation to get your point across.


Personal email is a great way to stay in touch with friends and family, but it's important to remember that there's a right and wrong way to go about it. Follow the best practice tips above, and you'll be sure to make a good impression.

Happy emailing!

P.S.: If you feel like you still need some help with your personal email etiquette, let help you write better email subject lines!

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