Hey! Hope you’re well and that the week is going smoothly. Just wanted to check in and remind everyone that if you’re struggling to write a tough message, exclamation marks are a great resource!
As Amelia Tait reminds us in her recent New Statesman piece, women use exclamation points at a rate higher than men. This is partially because of something called “emotional constraint” — because of institutional sexism, women have less room to appear unenthusiastic than men do. In fact, simply using a period instead of an exclamation point is far more likely to put off the recipient if the sender is not a man. Just wanted to let you know!
On the flip-side, women also risk using too many smiley faces, niceties, and exclamations, thus appearing “unprofessional.” I might be wrong, but we can’t have that!!!
So what are the poor non-men among us to do? Well, let’s try using just one email-ism per message, shall we? Or not. Totally up to you!
Here are some examples!
Scenario 1: You need to set a meeting with your boss.
Nice! A meeting. To make sure your boss knows the meeting will be fun, but not too fun, but still a little bit fun without being overly fun, try adding an exclamation point. And since nothing is more exciting than your first meeting, consider implying that you have never had a meeting before.
Hi [your boss’s name], (Note: Don’t put an exclamation point here! It’s excessive and you will be fired!)
Have time to chat Friday at 3pm to go over payroll? Would love to meet! Let me know where to find the room we usually have meetings in!
All the best,
Scenario 2: Your name has been misspelled on the company “About Us” page.
Bummer. It would be cool if your name was spelled correctly so that your clients can contact you, but you don’t want to make anyone feel mad or bad in any way!!!!!! That’s where words like “sorry” and “apologies” come in — the recipient will vaguely know there is a real issue, but your regret will also seep through the screen. A win-win!
Hi [mistake maker],
Apologies, but it appears that my name might be misspelled on our new About Us page. My name is actually Samantha, not Tamantha, so my email address is not firstname.lastname@example.org. Let me know if this can be fixed — so sorry to bug. No rush!
Stay cool this weekend!
Scenario 3: Each day, your coworker Branch takes your lunch bag from the break room fridge, crosses off your name with a single thin line, and writes his own name on the bag. Then, he eats your turkey sandwich.
Branch, who makes 15 percent more money than you do in the same position, has brazenly stolen your lunch every day for three years. Remember, though: as a woman in the workplace, you cannot let on that you feel any way but “in on the joke” about Branch’s blatant theft. Keep it casual! You’re not that worried.
Hey Branch! (Note: use an exclamation point here because you gotta be chill.)
Noticed you’ve been writing “Property of Branch” on my lunch every day! Just wanted to pick your brain and ask if you could bring lunch from your own house from now on. No worries if not — just let me know!
Hope you’re having a great week,
Scenario 4: Your intern, Chad, will not stop watering the office ferns with orange Fanta. Chad tells everyone who comes through the office — including board members — that it “gives the plants more energy.”
Chad’s a f*cking idiot, but he’s the VP’s son, so your options are limited. Let this 19-year-old adult man know you care by filling your email with exclamation points! You don’t want to seem unprofessional by asking him not to murder dozens of plants, do you?
Hope you’re having a great week at your internship! We’re so glad to have you here, and your work — especially that big, big pyramid of Oreos you built on Thursday — has been so wonderful.
Just wanted to check in about the office plants! We love that you’ve been pouring liters of soda onto their roots while screaming “Drink up, babies,” but next week, would you be able to switch to water? The watering can is on your desk.
No worries if not — just thought I’d toss in an idea! Let me know, and no rush. 🙂
All the best! Let me know if you have any questions. 🙂
Thanks for reading Mashable Humor: original comedy every day. Or most days. We’re people, just like you, and we’re trying our best.