Advice

Tell Me If You Think This Is Weird: Are Exclamation Points Too Girly For Guys?

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We all have our quirks. But sometimes you’re not sure if your behavior is quirky-normal, quirky-cute, or just plain weird. We’re here to help — send us a question and we’ll tell you, as honestly as we possibly can, whether or not we think (whatever it is) is weird. (See all “Is This Weird? posts here.) Today’s topic: Are exclamation points too girly for guys?

David writes:

Ok, I know this isn’t strictly about dating, but I’m curious to hear what people think about this.

I had a female boss at work whom I totally respected: She was professional, smart, and to-the-point. This is going to sound weird, but one thing I always admired about her was her use of exclamation points in emails: It made boring memos seem casual and informal, which is actually nice in a field as dry as mine.

I’ve often tried to recreate this in my own emails, especially for non-work related issues. If I’m sending an email to friends, I want to use an informal tone and put them at ease. The problem is, whenever I try to use exclamation points, it just seems too…girly!

For example, look at this email I sent a few of my friends, inviting them to a party at my apartment:

Hey guys,
Having a party Thursday night, you should stop by. We’ll have beer and alcohol, but feel free to bring any mixers. Bring whoever.
Hope you can make it.
David

That’s fine, but it sounds so…dry. Detached. But look what happens when I add in exclamation marks to the same text:

Hey guys!
Having a party Thursday night, you should stop by! We’ll have beer and alcohol, but feel free to bring any mixers. Bring whoever!
Hope you can make it!
David

See? That’s just so effeminate, I would never write to my guy friends like this. I know it sounds old-fashioned but sadly, I don’t think guys can get away with using exclamation marks.

We Say: Oh, David. We really want to disagree with you. In theory and in principle, we disagree with you! But then we looked at emails from our bosses, Aaron and Brian, and couldn’t help but notice: They never, ever, ever use exclamation points. And we can’t imagine them ever using them. So you may have a point, here.

What do you think? Can guys get away with using exclamation points without sounding too girly?

UPDATE: One of my friends, without having read this article, literally just sent me the following gChat:
Cal: Ugh, he finally wrote back but ended like, every sentence in an exclamation mark.
Cal: Not interested.

Guess the verdict is in, guys….

[see all Is This Weird posts here]