How many of us have read texts from friends reading things like “Yes.” or “Thank you.” and thought they were being a tad rude, even though they’re usually total sweethearts in person? Well, there’s a reason for that. The way we use punctuation in texts actually has an effect on how people are viewing our personality, and science has proven it.
According to a recent study published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior (Via ELLE), people who include full stops in their texts are considered less sincere than those who stray from punctuation. Time to rethink your texting behaviour, hey?
The research was conducted with 126 college students at Binghamton University who were recruited to read a mix of texts or handwritten notes. The exchange included one person inviting another to an event and then receiving a one-word response in return like “Okay”, “Sure”, “Yeah” and “Yup”. Some had full stops after the word, others didn’t.
Those responses with full stops were rated as less sincere than ones without them by the participants, which shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise for anyone who’s read a full stop as being dry, rude, fed up or uninterested. Interestingly, handwritten messages didn’t have the same reaction to the full stop. Yep, this is a 21st century thing.
“Texting is lacking many of the social cues used in actual face-to-face conversations,” lead researcher Celia Kin said in a statement. “Thus, it makes sense that texters rely on what they have available to them — emoticons, deliberate misspellings that mimic speech sounds and, according to our data, punctuation.”
That being said, a followup study showed that exclamation marks come across as more sincere, so don’t disregard punctuation altogether.