We finally know why we get so freaked out when we get a text that ends with a period
Ah, texting, otherwise known as one of the most stressful ways to have a conversation basically ever. Thankfully, emojis (and Kimojis, because it’s 2016 and Kim K is our queen) have made it easier for us to express ourselves without leaving the person on the other end of the message totally baffled about how we meant to say that thing we said. But one thing continues to confuse us all: why it’s so effing terrifying to get a text that ends with a period.
Luckily, we finally have an answer.
Texting etiquette is still messy.
Despite texting basically owning our entire lives (and no, this is not another ~anti-millenials~ rant, because we’re all texting 24/7), we still don’t always know what we’re doing. There is no etiquette that works across the board, meaning that some of us are using exclamation points after literally every sentence to make sure everyone knows how happy we are…and then we seem sarcastic. So then we use a lot of emojis to express ourselves…and then we seem sarcastic. Basically, it’s messy business to communicate via phone screen.
But there are *some* rules.
It’s become totally cool to use no punctuation at all, or to use a bunch of commas to take the place of exclamation points or the dreaded period. It feels more natural to read something rambling, because, typically, we ramble when we’re having convos with people we trust and are close to. The closer our texting gets to mimicking our IRL dialogue, the more okay we feel about it.
So, then we have the period.
According to The Conversation, psychologist Danielle Gunraj tested the perception of one-sentence texts ending in periods. By a long shot, people were offended by these messages and found them insincere. A 2007 study found that when we’re writing longer texts, we use periods throughout to end our sentences, but we rarely (29 percent) use them to tie up the final sentences. Linguists Naomi Baron and Rich Ling explained that “the act of sending a message coincides with sentence-final punctuation.”
Basically, we already know a text is over because it was sent.
Gone are the days (for most of us, anyway) where we got a whole bunch of texts in a row because we had a character limit on our messages. We send long, long chunks of text, and when we hit send, we’re ending the message. Using a period seems like an unnecessary punch, and it reminds us of getting an email from our boss or an awkward greeting from a distant family member.
Long story short?
Skip the period at the end of the text unless you mean business. Otherwise, your friends will probably wonder if you hate them. And who wants that super-weird stress?