Submitted by Hairy Scot on July 18, 2014

When did contacting someone become reaching out?

I have recently received a number of emails where the phrase “Thank you for reaching out to ___” is used instead of what I would expect to be the normal expression “Thank you for contacting ___”.

These emails are from companies in the USA.

Is “reaching out” now the in vogue expression for the simple act of contacting someone?

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'Reaching out' is one of those naff, feely-touchy phrases that companies have started to use to show they CARE.

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@HS Thank you for reaching out to us in your hour of need. As you now know, we operate an outreach program for those whom the modern vernacular has left feeling bewildered, betrayed and benighted.

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Beat you to it HS - http://painintheenglish.com/case/5118 - apparently it's quite common in something close to your ex-line of business - tech companies.

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@WW
"Beat you to it HS"
Indeed.
I should have performed a more diligent search.

I never heard that particular phrase during my time in the IT business, although I do agree that area of business has always been a wellspring of management speak.
The phrase in question first assaulted my ears during an episode of a TV series entitled "Crisis" where it was used in the context of FBI personnel requesting information from various parties.
However it was it's appearance in the recent emails which drove me to raise the issue on PITE.

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Apologies for the errant apostrophe in my previous post.

Dyske, can we please have an edit function?

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I was hearing 'reaching out' on US TV shows such as NYPD Blue 20 years ago. The cops would use it to describe the process of contacting someone with whom they'd previously had no relationship or trying to re-establish a rapport with someone who was now more distant or estranged. It was usually used in the context of getting help or assistance.

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@Phil Woodford - that sounds pretty much like this definition from Oxford Dictionaries Online:

"(chiefly North American) Seek to establish communication with someone, with the aim of offering or obtaining assistance or cooperation:

"his style was to reach out all the time, especially to members of his own party anyone in need of assistance should reach out to the authorities as soon as possible" '

Admittedly this is slightly different from the meaning I'm used to, but what both Hairy Scot and I have noticed is that 'reach out' is being used to simply mean 'contact' as in these examples form various tech sites:

‘If you would like any other suggestions or need help with transitioning your current Google Reader RSS feeds, please reach out to a Library’

‘Wired has also reached out to Google for additional comment.’

‘If you want to follow up, feel free to reach out to me by phone.’

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