Proofreading Service - Pain in the English
Proofreading Service - Pain in the English

Your Pain Is Our Pleasure

24-Hour Proofreading Service—We proofread your Google Docs or Microsoft Word files. We hate grammatical errors with passion. Learn More

Proofreading Service - Pain in the English
Proofreading Service - Pain in the English

Your Pain Is Our Pleasure

24-Hour Proofreading Service—We proofread your Google Docs or Microsoft Word files. We hate grammatical errors with passion. Learn More

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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Comments

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

Skeeter Lewis Jul-18-2014

13 votes   Permalink   Report Abuse

@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.

jayles the unwoven Jul-18-2014

18 votes   Permalink   Report Abuse

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.

Warsaw Will Jul-20-2014

1 vote   Permalink   Report Abuse

@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.

user106928 Jul-20-2014

5 votes   Permalink   Report Abuse

Apologies for the errant apostrophe in my previous post.

Dyske, can we please have an edit function?

user106928 Jul-20-2014

2 votes   Permalink   Report Abuse

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.

Phil Woodford Sep-01-2014

5 votes   Permalink   Report Abuse

@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.’

Warsaw Will Sep-03-2014

2 votes   Permalink   Report Abuse

Who ever started the expression Reach Out ( I WILL REACH OUT to you,) sbould be shot along with everyone that uses this stupid saying. I don't reach out to anyone. I call or contact you.

William pelow May-18-2017

69 votes   Permalink   Report Abuse

There are two legitimate uses of the phrase: offering help, and asking for help. I cringe when I see newscasters use it to mean "We went to the house and pounded on the door but nobody answered."

Norma Chase Jul-31-2017

9 votes   Permalink   Report Abuse

In plain English: "we want to appear as if we are better than you and could possibly help you with something but probably won't". It's an attempt at a corporate kiss-off and an attempt to feel more attractive than you and/or your organisation, and is common with arrogant small-time tech companies.

peter2 Sep-07-2017

17 votes   Permalink   Report Abuse

I am glad to read that I am not the only person annoyed by the current usage of this expression!

Patricia1 Sep-30-2017

44 votes   Permalink   Report Abuse

I am soooo fed up with being "reached out to" instead of being "contacted."
It is so false when an email arrives with phrases like "You reached out to us" or "I reached out to you."
First I received such phrases in emails from USA but now New Zealand seems to have cottoned-on to it too! It drives me batty!!

OB1NZ Apr-10-2018

20 votes   Permalink   Report Abuse

Saying, "reaching out" when you mean to say, "contact" or "ask" is inappropriate and irritating. It connotes that you are in trouble and need help so when companies or anyone else says to customers or to anyone else, "Thank you for reaching out" it comes off as condescending and implying you need help.
When someone with a drug problem reaches out they are doing so after a lot of indecision and are in serious need of help.
Same when a person with a mental problem "reaches out".
If one is about to fall off a cliff, and they reach out, that means they are reaching out with their hand for help. They are not contacting, they are reaching out. Conversely the same goes for when a customer is e-mailing, contacting or asking, they are "reaching out". Please stop using the phrase everywhere it is not appropriate.
Replying to below, YES the following is appropriate.
".. 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."

Bobtheaverageenglishguy Jun-12-2018

17 votes   Permalink   Report Abuse

I wanted to edit the message below but was unable to. I meant to write,
"Conversely the same goes for when a customer is e-mailing, contacting or asking, they are NOT "reaching out"!

Bobtheaverageenglishguy Jun-12-2018

6 votes   Permalink   Report Abuse

Political correctness was probably the mother of this, one of the dumbest phrases yet. The FBI is going to "reach out" to the second alleged witness in the Kavanaugh case? Reach out? That was the official announcement. From my many years of experience the FBI doesn't reach out. It interrogates, investigates, questions, digs, intimidates, et al. It never "reaches out."

Gonzo One Oct-02-2018

9 votes   Permalink   Report Abuse

The only people who can use the phrase "Reach Out" are the Four Tops https://youtu.be/qd6XkaKmqMM

When I receive a text or email or even snail mail with this (as Skeeter Lewi calls it) naff phrase, reply with the above.

It appears to be particularly endemic in communications from HR departments.

user107318 Oct-19-2018

6 votes   Permalink   Report Abuse

I am glad to see that others feel this is "bad form"

par

Rollins Jan-23-2019

5 votes   Permalink   Report Abuse

I blame it all on Lucy Liu and the Elementary tv series. She uses that term at least once in every episode.

Becket Feb-01-2019

0 vote   Permalink   Report Abuse

This phrase is on the top of my list of words & phrases that have infested the English language like a cancer (right up there with the quotative 'like').

whitelighter Mar-19-2019

6 votes   Permalink   Report Abuse

Thank you for publishing this comment page. It was sooooo
comforting to learn that I am not the only one who has become
thoroughly disgusted with the increasing over-use, not to mention
incorrect use of this phrase. A typical example was a call I received yesterday from the receptionist in a dental office who said "Nancy asked me to reach out to you to ask if they could change an appointment time." Why didn't she simply ask if it
would be possible to change the time?

pwin Apr-06-2019

6 votes   Permalink   Report Abuse

I am so glad that this obnoxious phrase is annoying to other people besides myself. I think it's creepy and I have started telling businesses that use it that I do NOT wish to be reached out to, and that if they can't simply contact me then I will take my business elsewhere.

mfmoore Apr-10-2019

8 votes   Permalink   Report Abuse

As far as I remember, this phrase comes from an American TV ad in the 70s promoting contacting loved ones via a phone call. It used the song 'Reach out and touch somebody's hand' as its theme and "reaching out" was its catchphrase.

Phil L Apr-13-2019

3 votes   Permalink   Report Abuse

It's bad, and getting worse. Recently, a work contact sent me a follow-up email with this phrase:"… I'm reaching back out…". As if the first "reach out" wasn't bad enough.

user107895 May-01-2019

4 votes   Permalink   Report Abuse

Whenever someone says they will reach out to me, I respond by saying: "I wish I had an arm that long."

hfminmi Jun-10-2019

1 vote   Permalink   Report Abuse

The ubuquitous "reach out" has become annoying to the max. Why can't one use the appropriate term for an action: call, contact, distribute, request, write, direct, ask, tell ..... Oh, wait, that would involve wasting a few seconds in reviewing and selectng the proper word!

user108013 Jun-16-2019

1 vote   Permalink   Report Abuse

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