Why women email and text the way they do
The truest thing I’ve read today:
A male friend with a new job in a mostly female workplace confessed a problem: “My co-workers think I’m rude in e-mails. They say I’m short with them.” He then showed me a one-word e-mail: “Thanks.” He was literally being short with them. “Add vowels,” I instructed, drawing from a vast knowledge of girls-night-out e-mail chains. Thaaanks! The extra letters acknowledge that, though his message may only require six letters, his care is worth at least eight. And short utterances can look lonely on a big, blank screen; extra letters fill the void and sound friendlier in your head.
Female “word elongation” is the topic of an Atlantic article and an academic study this week. “When people talk, they use intonation in a number of varied and subtle ways,” a linguist told the Atlantic‘s Jen Doll. “There’s a lot of emotional nuance that can be conveyed that you can’t do in writing.” Accordingly, I have identified five types of keystroke repetition, each of which contains countless nuanced variations.
This also tracks men’s tendency to be less emotive in face-to-face interactions and other settings. Men’s voices are more stable, and they use fewer verbal intonations and facial expressions.