Keep Calm And Kerri On: “How Rude.”
Published: August 29th, 2022
By: Sun Columnist Kerri Green

Keep Calm and Kerri On: “How Rude.”

Dear Friends,

I like to think that I am a pretty hip mom.

I am down with technology, I keep up with what my kids are doing and what they are into in terms of music, movies, shows and trends.

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I listened to my older daughter when she said that it wasn’t cool to say “swag” anymore; “merch” was the correct term.

I learned the difference between “shipping” and “crunching” people, and I tried my hardest to be sympathetic when she was waiting for her high school boyfriend to give her a “prom-proposal”. Personally, I still don’t understand why you can’t just ask someone to prom, but apparently that isn’t how you do it any longer.

I get terms like “sick”, “ratchet”, and “hater” and I can even understand how platforms like Google and YouTube have replaced anything I thought I could teach my kids. When my youngest first had a locker at the high school I asked her if she needed help learning how to do the combination to open it; it can be tricky. She said with confidence, “No. I just watched a YouTube video on how to do it.” And she did. I am regularly told by my kids that they can figure anything out because there is a video to show them. So much for learnings things the hard way!

I was texting Grace yesterday about something and when she answered me, I texted back one word: “Good.” A few seconds later she texts me back “Are you mad at me”. What? Where did that come from? I texted her back: “Why would you think that?” a few seconds later “You used a period.”

“Who says using a period means you are mad?” I asked. “Everyone” she responded.

Floored by this, I did a quick online search and guess what? She was correct!

A study conducted by Binghamton University in 2018 found that the use of a period at the end of a sentence is perceived as “abrupt”. The study is quoted as saying, “To younger generations, using proper punctuation in a casual context like texting can give an impression of formality that borders on rudeness, as if the texter is not comfortable enough with the texting partner to relax …”

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According to this study, texting is the same as having a casual conversation with someone, so to use the “period” ends it with a finality that can be correlated to walking away while someone is speaking to you. You would never do that unless you were upset with them or mad in some way, so using a period is seen as the equivalent to that.

I am sorry. What?? (.)

My entire life I was taught the importance of grammar and communication skills. The proper way to open and close a letter, an email, a phone call and even when meeting someone in person for a meeting. Now, 40-something years later I am supposed to stop using a period (which is the proper way to end a sentence, by the way) because the younger generation finds it rude?

As a business professional, I find it rude when the younger generation sends a business email like they would send a text message. There is a serious lack to the formality of written communication, and I think it’s due to how much we use texting and instant messaging. But I understand the difference between casual and business and the younger generation does not. Now I sound like an old grump, but I can’t help it!

I think about ways I tried to show that I was upset when I was younger. Do you remember slamming a door or the phone when in a conversation? There was an art to it for sure and you made your point pretty clearly! The younger generation has no idea the thrill from slamming a phone down when you wanted to show you were upset. You can’t slam a cell phone; it doesn’t have the same effect. Man, you wanted to get someone to call you back right away or for them to know how upset you were, there was nothing like a good phone slam.

As a teenager I would often get into trouble for slamming my bedroom door. I would march up the stairs as loud as I could, march across the hall to my room, stomp in and slam the door shut! Not too hard, just hard enough for my parents to know that I was upset or disagreed with them.

Sometimes they let it go. Sometimes I would slam it harder than I intended (in the moment), and I would soon hear them as they followed me upstairs, open my door and give me a lecture that usually concluded with a threat about taking my door off the hinges if I ever did it again. To my recollection, that never actually happened, but they would forbid me from closing my door for a day or two at a time (other than to get dressed) because I slammed it.

So how do we combat this “rude” use of a period?

According to a January 2022 article of “Best Life”, you do it by ending your conversation with emojis. You should also break up your messages into shorter statements rather than long paragraphs.

Yes, you can use a period if you have multiple sentences, just don’t end it with a period. According to experts, each “bubble” of a text message is its own statement, so the punctuation is not necessary. By adding the punctuation to the message, you are adding a finality to it that is unnecessary, which is why it’s perceived as being angry, upset or even rude.

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How rude.

~ Kerri.