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.
2. EXCLAMATION POINT!
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.