Receiving a message lacking exclamation marks, Emojis and other exuberant punctuation has become a sign of passive-aggressive anger.
You know what I mean, that three-word text message ending with the “dreaded” period. We’ve all received it and immediately questioned whether the relationship is in grave danger.
I don’t see the reasoning there. Periods have been the poster-child of punctuation since written language emerged.
Think back to when you learned how to compose a sentence. Did you learn how to use a question mark first? What about an exclamation mark?
No. You poked that sheet of triple-lined beginner’s paper with the tip of your pencil and called it a period.
Why now have we correlated being short with people with the use of the period? The culprits are overcompensation and the fear of assumptions.
If you think about it, what do we not want more, more, more of? Even when need becomes excessive want, we continually press on to reach those ever-growing American consumption rates.
It’s the same case with punctuation.
We want more and more and more, so when we put the very minimum, a period, we come off as an uptight, uninteresting grandparent. I mean, like who uses correct, like, grammar anyways?
Language is the most advanced it has ever been, yet we crave a weekly extension to our Emoji board, and we accessorize simple sentences with an excessive amount of exclamation points and question marks.
We overcompensate and butcher the English language for the fear of offending others. It’s interesting to me that so many people can have their sanity and confidence uprooted by a tiny, itty-bitty period.
I thought cursing people out was bad until I sent someone a simple sentence ending with a period ... sheesh.
In a world of social-media-absorbed robots, why have we shunned the one punctuation mark that is supposed to imply the least?
Questioning creates nerves. Exclamation implies anger or excitement.
Periods ... well, they only imply a statement being made. I would estimate that three-fourths of what we say are plain, simple statements that require a period.
Over analysis leads to skewed assumptions that cause more stress and worry in our lives — like we needed any more. Assuming the use of a period might rock your friend’s world or assuming the period that topped off the last text you received is a “bump in your friendship” is a waste of time and brain power.
And we’ve all heard what assuming does...
We fear the assumptions others might make, while at the same time, we constantly make assumptions on what hidden messages could be encrypted in “No, I can’t come to your house tonight, I’m busy. Sorry.”
People’s minds go bonkers when they receive that message, and the sincerity and underlying meaning is questioned.
There is a reason why some correlate passive-aggressiveness with spherical punctuation. It’s because it has been used, in the past, by the sender to relay a passive-aggressive message of anger, irritation or any other unpleasant emotion.
It circles right back to overcompensation. Current generations are accustomed to dressing everything to high-heaven with Emojis and excessive sporadic exclamations. Therefore, when one is attempting to relay a cold-shoulder vibe the period is the only punctuation with which we are left.
“Well, why not just leave the punctuation off to show no emotion,” I ask rhetorically.
No punctuation: normal and trendy.
Correct punctuation: ALERT, ALERT. You must have peed in the cereal of whomever sent you that message.
These habits haven’t been chained to iMessage, but have creeped their way into professional emails, official documents and some media.
Before long, people will no longer be able to tell the difference between your most recent Facebook rant and your resume.
It all starts with how you operate on a daily basis.
Whether you explode with insecurities after receiving a grammatical phrase through text or you accept that not everything has to be screamed or accessorized, you are creating habits and crafting your personal nature.
In the end, you decide whether a drop of ink makes you insecure.
Lily can be reached at intrigue@ThePlainsman.com