Millennials Are Killing Full Stops

Can we make 2019 the year that we do away with petty digital digs?

full stop messages

by Sofia Tindall |

'I'm fine.'

'Sounds good.'

'Ok.'

what do the above statements have in common?

In a world where the subtleties of our digital communications are everything, you'll know the real way to interpret these messages when they roll into your notifications are: I'm not fine, that doesn't sound good and I am most certainly NOT OK'. How do we know this? the Full Stop Of Doom.

According to a study in 2015 by Binghampton University which involved 26 students, the students perceived text messages ending in a full stop to be less sincere than the exact same message without a full stop.

Internet linguist Gretchen McCulloch told the BBC 'If you're a young person and you're sending a message to someone, the default way to break up your thoughts is to send each thought as a new message, because the minimum thing necessary to send is the message itself, anything additional you include can take on an additional interpretation.'

In roundabout terms, this confirms what we already know: that putting a full stop at at the end of a text message/Whatsapp/DM is a handy was of throwing shade at your recipient with the bonus of not having to explain why. The etiquette of modern messaging takes away the uncomfortable business of having a deserved conversation with the object of your annoyance or anger - why bother when you can throw out an 'Ok.' and they'll get the message loud and clear?

(Though I have to question it's efficiency: I recently received the full stop treatment after cancelling a date to have an early night and I felt less wounded by the incident, more faintly embarrassed for the other person).

Of course, before you go rushing off to check every notification in your inbox for the last hour, we know that there are more variables in which full stops can have different meanings. For example 'that's amazing.' (that's so amazing I have full-stop it with awe) 'why did you do that.' (your friend has texted her terrible ex but you still love her) or 'I just liked his post from 2011.' (I am shortly moving away and changing my name. It was nice knowing you)

As a texter who indiscriminately peppers her messages with emoji's, gifs, exclamation marks and kisses - yes: I've also used the full stop of doom. It feels good, doesn't it? Plus: it's a handy get-out clause for being annoyed while sidestepping the messy business of saying what you actually want to.

It's the equivalent of giving someone a pointed, dirty look rather than stating outright 'I can't believe you ditched our plans to make enchilada's and watch Aftersun to see your new boyfriend?'

However perhaps in the name of maturity, and not becoming slaves to the pitfalls of digital snubs we should do-away with the Full Stop of Doom altogether and just say what we think? With Tinder apparently causing us to have less sex: let's not make the full stops the reason we're not having more honest conversations.

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