I am always hesitant to start with a word like Dear, because I think it means too much to be thrown around.
Dear is warm and lustrous, a shiny badge of honor that envelopes the soul.
How can I say it? If I started every email I wrote with Dear, my actions would make me a liar. You are not dear to me, I think about you rarely. It may be foolish or naive, but there are some things in my life that I would like to save.
Dear is emotional nearness in spite of physical distance. It is when eyes meet from opposite sides of the room, and you understand, without a single word being said.
Maybe centuries ago, when ink was a luxury and quills dominated the market for stationary, we used Dear, because we wrote letters to people who deserved the title. Today, when I slap it onto a note, using no more than a second of energy, I feel dishonest.
Dear is for those who have earned the trust the word implies. Dear is intimate and delicate, prone to breaking from overuse.