What you say says a lot

Categories: Life, Relationships, Science & Tech
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It was 5.5 years ago yesterday that Brett first contacted me. I, wanting to appear aloof rather than desperate and needy, didn’t reply until 5.5 years ago tomorrow. And it worked! We then talked about shoes, soy sauce, and computer languages for the next week.

Yesterday dictionary.com had a blog post about what your email style says about your personality. I particularly like how they started the post:

Like a first impression, the emails we send allow the recipient to judge us solely based on our choice of tone, punctuation and writing ability. We may come across as educated or illiterate, happy or disgruntled โ€“ itโ€™s all in the delivery.

Brett wasn’t the only guy to contact me through that particular site. But he was pretty much the only one I judged worthy of my time. And it was based almost solely on his use of capitalization, punctuation, and spelling – he used them, others didn’t.

One guy in particular got upset with me when I judged him based on his lack of punctuation and capitalization. He seemed offended that I determined from his email that he was lazy and not that intelligent. How lazy do you have to be to not move your finger ever so slightly over to push the shift key or a period? If he didn’t know how to type, what else didn’t he know how to do? (His profile picture was also of his abs, which also says a lot about the type of guy he was.)

More and more in our world, what you write on the internet, either in blog posts or in emails, is the first impression people have of you. And since it is possible to “think before you speak” in this electronic world, it isn’t hard to do a little more thinking. I often sit on important emails for a day before sending them. That way I can make sure they are saying what I need them to say.

I don’t receive emails from guys asking me out any more, but I have received some rather interesting professional emails in the last year. I got one that not only was just a text-speak reply, but it was a misused text-speak. “Txt” means “text” not “thanks.” Another email included six question marks after one sentence and two exclamation marks after another. I had no idea where that hostility was coming from and was not sure I wanted to work with that person if that was what they were like. Emails from students that use full sentences with proper capitalization and punctuation get faster responses than the ones who can’t be bothered.

I’m less likely, in fact I don’t, read blogs that don’t use capitalization and punctuation correctly. If they have centered everything or are constantly changing font sizes I don’t read them. I read for content not cuteness, and if the content is difficult to read I have other things to do with my time.

All that’s to say, I’m very glad Brett knows how to use a shift key and where the period is on the keyboard. It gave the impression that he was smart and that he cared. And it’s made all the difference in our lives.

Edit: Also see where I said almost the exact same thing last year. I should read my blog more often: First Impressions – Electronically

14 shared thoughts about What you say says a lot

  1. michelle.mdc says:

    Whew! I’m glad Brett does know how to punctuate. We’d all be much worse off otherwise. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Denice says:

      I am very grateful that Brett impressed you. Look what we would have missed if you had not been impressed……

  2. michelle.mdc says:

    (Wait a minute, did I post that last comment correctly….) :silly:

  3. Mom says:

    I guess it’s a good thing Mothers can’t be defriended. I make mistakes with all that stuff all the time. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

  4. Brett says:


    • Giggles says:

      How can I be sure you weren’t using the caps lock key? Ask any of my former elementary students, the caps lock key is strictly forbidden. :lisa:

  5. canofjam says:

    AMEN and AMEN! I DESPISE the use of “lol” in professional emails (I hate it anyway and avoid it at all costs, but will forgive it in text messages and personal emails)…

    I think I’ve gotten the same “text-ese” emails from the same department person as you. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Giggle

    I have a patron who has no idea how to compose an email and uses incomplete sentences, CAPS LOCK, and inordinate amounts of punctuation. How hard is it to write as you speak? I know how she speaks in person and it sounds nothing like that. However, as you said, if that’s how we get to know someone first, in writing, then poorly constructed messages can be problematic. Text speak is only okay in text messages and sometimes in chats, and never from my dad who I’m convinced uses it when he’s trying to sound “cool”. Even then, I’m still more impressed with proper spelling. More than once, I had to ask Shawn to interpret something he said in “text-ese”.

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