What Your Text Punctuation Means About You in Relationship

The way you use an exclamation point can change your dating life.

Texting removes the vocal cues we once used to overanalyze if someone liked us. Now we have to look at 140 to 160 characters — and with less raw data to work with, our overanalyzing hits a whole different level of insanity. One key aspect of that insanity is reading way too much into every nuance of every text message, especially punctuation. So … here are the clues his/her punctuation choices are sending (and also the clues you’re sending right back).


Meaning: You don’t want to keep going back and forth all night.

In texting, you don’t have to end a sentence with any punctuation. It’s totally acceptable to just let it dangle. So using a period gives a certain air of finality to a statement. Compare:

I’m heading out to the party now.
I’m heading out to the party now

In the first one, the meaning is clear: we’ve had our back-and-forth over text, but I have plans, and they do not include continuing this conversation — period. In the second one, without the period, it feels much more open-ended — I’m heading out to the party now but who knows what I’m doing later, and you just might be part of it. Periods end things. Leaving one out keeps things open.


Meaning: Something between playful and desperate, depending on usage.

The exclamation point is the most valuable punctuation mark you have in your arsenal, but it’s also the most dangerous. When used properly, a single exclamation point can set a light tone, convey excitement, and even demonstrate interest. Compare:

Sounds good. Not sure if we’re going but I might see you at the party. If you leave, let me know
Sounds good. Not sure if we’re going but I might see you at the party. If you leave, let me know!

The person in the second example seems far, far more interested in getting together … and did it without changing a word.

It’s always better to play it cool than to play it like a 12-year-old writing YouTube comments.
But be careful. Exclamation points are the most abused piece of punctuation in our world today. When you start overusing exclamation points, you look like an amateur:

Sounds good! Not sure if we’re going but I might see you at the party! If you leave, let me know!

The first exclamation point is OK … the second is way too overeager … and the third is just flat-out desperate. And when in doubt, get rid of the exclamation point. It’s always better to play it cool than to play it like a 12-year-old writing YouTube comments.

Why it’s Not OK to Snoop Through Your Partner’s Phone

Girls, girls, girls. Trust me – snooping through your BF’s text messages is not okay!

A while ago, I wrote a post about why you shouldn’t look through your boyfriend’s phone based on my own snooping experiences (something I’m still embarrassed about). It’s been over a year since that post went up, but it still gets tons of comments from girls who say that looking through your boyfriend’s phone is totally okay – in fact, they encourage it.

Girls, girls, girls. Trust me – snooping through your BF’s text messages is not okay! Honestly, I don’t care what kind of explanations you give me, there is really no excuse for going through a phone that isn’t yours. Please, please, cut this behavior out and read the reasons why it’s a terrible idea. I think, eventually, you’ll realize that you need to stop doing it for good… and your relationships will only improve after that.

It Totally Betrays His Trust

Probably the biggest reason to not snoop through your BF’s phone is that it totally and completely betrays his trust. If your boyfriend leaves his phone around you when he’s not in the room, he obviously trusts you to be near his phone without getting sneaky. Trust is one of the most important qualities to have in a relationship. Going through his phone is rude and disrespectful. Which brings me to my next point…

You Wouldn’t Like It If He Did It To You

How would you feel if you found out your boyfriend was secretly looking through your phone, reading all of your private text messages and checking up on your phone history? You’d probably feel pretty violated, annoyed and hurt. I once had an ex look through my texts when we first started dating. When he told me he did, I was so hurt by his accusations that I was doing something I shouldn’t that I almost ended things. Treat others how you want to be treated, you know?

It’s Way Too Easy To Misinterpret Things

Text messages can be really hard to interpret because you’re just looking at words – you’re not seeing the person’s expression or hearing their voice. What you read could mean something totally different than it sounds. Also, you don’t know the context of every conversation because it’s not YOUR conversation. You don’t know if something is an inside joke or about something completely different than what you think. It’s way too easy to misinterpret things and freak out for no reason at all.

How to Win at Online Dating

Think back to your last three boyfriends. Are they all over 6 feet tall? Make six figures?

Have you ever watched a straight guy on Tinder? Seriously, it’s amazing. If they find a woman even the slightest bit attractive, they swipe right. I’m talkin’, “I wouldn’t say I’m into the Juggalo scene, but, her lips are kinda hot” swipe right kind of action. I don’t want to say their standards are low, but they are more…realistic.

And here’s the kicker. Those guys are doing it right.

Think back to your last three boyfriends. Are they all over 6 feet tall? Make six figures? Smoke less than a gram of weed a week?

My last serious boyfriend was shorter than me, the one before that had a child, and the one before that one was a virgin. I realize most people don’t put their number of sexual partners on their online dating profiles (the answer is 20, always 20), but the point is, NONE of these guys would have passed my self-imposed dating filters, because they are bullshit. I consider each of those relationships successful in their own right, but had I come across any of them online, they wouldn’t have made it past the damn matching stage.

Before you start whining, I’m not saying you shouldn’t have preferences. That would be insane. If you’re religious and need someone who’s also religious, or if you’re creative and know you’ll only jive with someone who gets that, fine, those are reasonable requirements. But dating online shouldn’t be a free pass to be a jerk and impose unreasonable expectations on other people.

For example, I know for a fact that men under 6 feet tall give the best head. Take a poll between your friends and you will see that this is an undeniable truth. And in general, the most “successful” guys I’ve dated turned out to be least generous. Again, I’m not advocating Bumble-ing with 22 year olds living off their parent’s credit cards, but instead of asking yourself, “When does he make VP at the company?” Ask, “Does he pay his rent? Have some sort of savings account? Have goals and aspirations?” Great. He gets a pass.

Acting Constructively During Textual Panic

So what do you do when waiting for a text that may never come?

Texting. At the dawn of its existence, it was called Short Messaging Service (SMS for short), and the first one ever sent was in 1992, from a 22-year-old engineer named Neil Papworth in the UK. It simply and benignly said, “Merry Christmas.” People wrote it off at first as another eccentric tech development that would never fly.

Oh how far we’ve come from Christmas 1992. Not only is texting a commonplace form of communication, it is an integral part of our daily connectivity. It has even become the bane of most people’s existence.

Can Texting Have Etiquette?

For me it’s hard to understand what is so difficult about texting etiquette; you receive a message, usually one or two sentences, you open it, and you reply. Done. So why is it a source of excessive stress for so many people I know?

Well nowadays, not only do people wish each other happy holidays through text, they’ll also express love, divulge gossip, break up, or send birth or death notifications. You can ruin lives with texts! Technology is amazing!

(For the purpose of this article, let’s agree that the term “texting” is synonymous with any kind of direct message via any social media platform, such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.)

I for one have a pretty strong philosophy about this. I like to be very organized about my communication. If I receive a text, I try to answer it immediately. If I receive a text warranting a more thoughtful response than usual, I leave that message unread so I know to get back to it later. Sure, some slip through the cracks on busy days, but it happens to the best of us and it’s never intentional. However, once in a while, there comes a text that I don’t leave unread, but I don’t reply instantly. It’s no coincidence that these texts usually come from former, current, or future romantic interests.