Monday, March 9, 2015

are we toning it down?

lately i've been doing some thinking about the way we all communicate. yeah, that's a fairly broad topic, no? but further, i've been taking note of emails, tone, tweets... and i've noticed some things. primarily, these interactions take place between women - and, well, as a woman, i wanted to share my observations.

i think we're all guilty of it. you know what i'm talking about.

i'm talking about changing your tone and grammar online. it's a tricky firepit to dance around - after all, we're living in an age of misinterpreted text messages and "he didn't include a smiley face. does he like me?" being a legitimate question among friends at the dinner table.

language is powerful. bold, stunning helvetica glaring at you from your iphone 6 screen can feel as if it holds the weight of a ton of bricks. what we say to one another matters, as well as how we say it, and that, my friends, is an indisputable fact. but y'all, let's just say that in a lot of my correspondences (i am 110% guilty as charged, trust me) everything feels a bit... sugarcoated.

we worry that we come across as harsh or demanding if we don't use enough exclamation points or emojis. in email, we merely make suggestions instead of asking for what we want, for fear of coming across a certain way. we insert words where they don't belong - "i just thought that maybe..." replaces the confident "i thought". unnecessary apologies and explanations litter your gmail inbox like the plague.

i'm catching my own bias here. i'm trying to think of ways to eliminate the "justs" and the "maybes" and exclamation points and still come across as warm, sincere and inviting - and my first thought is, "but i don't want people to think i sound like a bitch." but further, is it necessary to be buttery warm and inviting 24/7? who is really like that?

maybe the focus should be on cutting down the verbal clutter. don't change your words, just eliminate them. trim up your interactions to make them succinct, passionate and wholly you - minus unwarranted punctuation. we can compliment, encourage, express and ask, or even demand, without dripping it sugar, and convey the impression of a competent, friendly person. it's not about being rude, it's about being confident in your wants, needs and ideas. they're good enough. don't feel you have to frame them with emojis for them to be valid.

what do you think? are you mindful of how you communicate online?


  1. I am soooo guilty of this. I'm always reminding myself that I don't need to add an emoji or a "haha" to the end of everything just to make sure it comes across the way I want it to. It just what happens when I over think things. Great post!

    1. We're all guilty of it. I'm not entirely sure where it came from -- but I think being aware of it is the first step. I know I think about it constantly when writing emails or anything online. I'm not kidding, I just went back & deleted a smiley face from this comment. I typed it without even thinking. ZOMG.

  2. I think sometimes we forget that our words have impact online. The internet is so flooded with stuff. But in reality it can all come back to you.

    1. Absolutely. It's so easy to type a passive aggressive tweet or laden your emails with superlatives without really considering what it means.

  3. Ooh, I love this. I am so guilty of sugar coating everything, just to make sure I am not offensive at all! And most of the time what I have to say wouldn't be offensive anyway, I always fear the worse. I am definitely gonna work on that this week!


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