I didn’t always used to like using them. In fact, exclamation points used to bother me. They were absurdly upbeat and could take a serious response and change the entire tone of it, not necessarily for the worse, but definitely for a tone that to me would feel trivial. When I would use them, I used to feature the points for short stories I wrote and for the characters in said stories that were easily excitable and filler characters if you will.
Well, I’ve had a change of heart over the last couple of years and now use exclamation points all the time. Here’s what led to my overnight punctuation obsession.
Peer Pressure (The Good Kind)
I have a very good friend who uses exclamation points all the time. When we text back and forth, her replies to me generally have about 56+ points after every sentence. At first this irritated the shit out of me. Who could be so excited about such little things? Were all of these moments in life so incredible and great that they warranted such an over the top response?
I know- I sound like a jackass. A soulless, stoic, cold shell of a person who is just a stone’s throw away from robbing Tiny Tim of his crutches.
Her excitement over the smallest of events was infectious. She’s the only friend I have who uses exclamation points so liberally and in doing so, leaves a lovely bit of her personality behind in every message she writes. I can practically hear her in my head saying her replies out loud and it’s a great little snippet of imagery. They say we’re friends with people who have character traits that we wish we had so I started to slowly adopt the use of exclamation points into my everyday life. This was a couple of years ago. Today, you can see my little punctuation points dot the ending of many sentences I write. Here! Here! And here!
They’re a Friendly and Enthusiastic Bunch
On any given day, you can find me laughing about some ridiculous video clip I watched on YouTube, waving my hands in the air to describe my favorite sandwich, or telling some wacko story about a dream I had last night/somebody I ran into that’s nothing but gossipy/arguing about an article I’m working on. I myself am not as strange and unusual as Lydia Deetz from Beatlejuice described herself to be, but I am more entertaining and lively than I initially come off appearing to be. And because my initial first impression tends to be very prim and proper, conveying this portion of myself, the fun side, is harder than it looks. The best way to let that persona shine through? A point or two can and should be added to emails/letters/text messages/blog posts. All the exclamation points!!!!!!!
I email with a lot of PR people and affiliates throughout the course of my day. In said emails, I like to maintain a level of professionalism (greeting and signatures are always a must). That being said, I like to greet everyone with an exclamation point trailing after their name. In real life, if I meet someone new I’ll say hi! like that not like hi. The latter sounds depressing and uninterested already. So why should email be any different? It’s still a first impression and one that you’ll always be able to maintain a copy of. I have had many people tell me that they were excited to meet with me because of my emails where I sounded so friendly and nice. This makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside and also makes me glad that even though they don’t yet know me, their opinion of me is already being held in high regard. It makes the exclamation points worth it- and me happy that I use them.