Have you noticed how many more exclamation points we’re all using these days? The phenomenon has reached contagion levels, especially at work. In fact it’s hard to get through an email chain without seeing several “Talk at 4:00p!” overuses. Our newfound addiction to exclamation points is leading to a new disorder called Exclamation Point Anxiety – let’s just call it EPA! for short.
The problem with EPA! cuts two ways. First, we’ve completely diluted the original purpose of exclamation points to show emotion. Since every other sentence now ends with an exclamation we’ve resorted to using emojis to give that extra umph to our statements. The other problem is the fallout from not giving your message recipient enough exclamation love. When the boss replies with an “Ok!” it just feels right, but “Ok” sounds like you’re about to get fired. As a result workers are literally becoming addicted to using and receiving exclamation points.
Sadly, there’s no real cure for EPA!. Yes, you can drop exclamation points cold turkey, but it’s not realistic to get an entire office cohort to go sans exclamation. I guess there could be worse things in the business world than using too many exclamation points. How about that fresh-faced millennial newhire who says “like” in every sentence, for starters? I guess that’s another topic for a different post . . .