I’m questioning how else I may be inadvertently offending someone…

This is a half-joking, half-serious post, but I’d appreciate your thoughts and input on this!

Recently I ran into a situation where I had inadvertently offended someone by using an exclamation mark on a door sign.

She asked me why I was yelling at the people who would see the sign.

I was puzzled and asked her what she meant. She said by adding the exclamation point letting people know an employee had moved downstairs, I was yelling at people.

I had never heard of this before. I knew that using all caps is considered yelling, but needed to Google this to see if it’s a new thing I hadn’t heard of. Apparently, some people DO feel offended when an exclamation point is used, because it makes them feel yelled at. (I checked in with another Executive Assistant, and she reassured me it wasn’t really a thing.)

Have you heard this?

Needless to say, I printed out a new sign, minus the exclamation point, as I have no desire to offend anyone, especially over a punctuation mark.

I also took my white correction ribbon to other signs I have letting people know “I’ll be back in 5 minutes.” or “Out for lunch.” All periods, no more exclamation points.

I have vowed to only use the exclamation mark in extremely urgent situations. (I may not be able to live up to that proclamation, for I had already responded to emails wherein I had used the mark.)

While periods may seem to be boring or even sad to me, I will endeavor to use those only and not risk inadvertently offending others.

I’m a cheerful person who seeks to share my good mood with others, so I’m saddened that my trusty exclamation point has been questioned and interpreted as I’m yelling.

I realize that my posts are peppered with exclamation points, and maybe offend some people.

I hope you will accept my heartfelt apology if you felt I was yelling at you.

In my defense, I thought I was joyfully sharing information with you, in an exciting kind of way.

Do you think I need to tone down my exclamation points? Should I remove them from previous posts?

That experience has gotten me questioning my existence: how else may I have been inadvertently offending people, and those around me have been too polite to let me know?

I hope you’ll drop me a line! 😉

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29 thoughts on “I’m questioning how else I may be inadvertently offending someone…

  1. What an absolutely bizarre thing to get offended by… I don’t know if the person is aware of this but exclamation points are not just for yelling- you can use them for multiple other reasons like to shows enthusiasm or excitement. I love them! And I think you should keep using them! If someone is offended by exclamation points that is their problem not yours.


    1. LOL! I totally agree! Turns out there was probably more going on with that situation than I knew at that time! Yes, it was her interpretation of the whole thing, and I’ve since been able to see that!

      The whole experience did show me how much I do love that punctuation mark, and I’m not ready to do away with it at any time! I have adjusted my use of it however, with emails to her, so I’m not inadvertently setting her teeth on edge! That as much change as I wish to make though!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha yeah I love using exclamation marks too so I definitely don’t think doing away with them would be a good idea! Yup just don’t use them when she’s involved but otherwise keep using them!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I use the exclamation point at the end to exaggerate a point such as if something is ridiculous and/or humorous.

    Never see as shouting unless in caps!

    (I am aware I overuse exclamation points!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No one I’ve spoken with in person or online see exclamation points as shouting, but we all agree they’re overused and we’re usually the culprits! That conversation made me realize how much I love them and how often I share that love! 😜 I do appreciate your support!


    1. Lol! I love it! Though not with THAT PERSON! Only on a day I have another job lined up or if I’ve just won the lotto and I want to be free of that person! 🤪


    1. I totally agree with you! I use it for emphasis and I may be guilty of overuse at times, when I’m passionate about what I’m sharing! ☺️☺️


  3. Stop yelling at me!! 😂 I do think exclamation points are overused, in general. I am guilty of doing the same. We are all just so excited! People, in general, are also easily offended. I think it made sense to remove the exclamation point from your door announcement, but I would not consider doing the same with previous posts.


    1. Thank you Michelle! LOL! I’m happy I did change the sign, for there’s no point in keeping something up which offends someone, even if it seems like a small matter. It was no big deal to do that.

      I was surprised how it made me question my punctuation mark usage, and if I was turning people off with it. I tend to use them when I feel passionately about what I’m writing, and probably do overuse them, according to grammar rules, but when I saw how despondent I felt at the possibility of not being able to use them, I realized that my connection to them is emotional, and if I don’t use them I would feel seriously restricted! That whole experience made me realize how much of myself I pour into my writing, and changing how I punctuate would make me feel quite limited in my freedom to express myself. Funny how a small squiggle can have such a strong effect!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve noticed that several bloggers use exclamation points when praising a post. I’ve interpreted it as an unwritten “Yay” and never as someone shouting at me. As a result, I also started using the exclamation point. Remember the fable of the man and his donkey? We cannot please everyone all of the time.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m smiling at your words! I’ve always interpreted them as a means to express excitement and passion for a thought! I felt muzzled at the thought of not being able to express those emotions through a simple punctuation mark. My daughter encouraged me to just continue to be myself! I don’t want to promote a world where we can’t share our passions about our thoughts! I’m interested to hear how another person’s use of the exclamation point encouraged you to start using it! Hooray!!! 😎😊

      Liked by 2 people

  5. What an interesting post! I love exclamation points! Sometimes when I write a comment and every sentence ends with an exclamation point I think that perhaps my enthusiasm might be overboard but I’ve never thought about it as yelling. What I love about this post is that after the remark you went and researched the question. So wonderfully you to take in experience, be thoughtful and learn and then teach from that moment. Amazing, Tamara!!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. I was a daydreamer in school and bored with some of the reading we were required to do, but when I saw exclamation points used I’d perk up and pay attention! It meant that something interesting was happening and I wanted to find out!

        That kind of stuck with me throughout the years!

        Also, having been a daydreamer meant I probably hadn’t heard the teacher when she explained correct usage of the punctuation mark, and my interpretation seemed more interesting! Lol!

        Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for your wonderful support! I know it seems silly for someone to get upset about a punctuation mark, but honestly I was truly upset about not being able to freely use my favorite one, for fear that I might offend someone. I tried writing without them for a few days and everything felt flat. I felt I needed to look it up to see if it was a general sentiment or if it was something that was just felt by a few. My daughter helped me with that, too thankfully! While that person put an ear worm in my head, I did realize how even a seemingly insignificant thing can derail us and we need to do some inner work!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh my goodness! Can people find more things by which to be offended? Really? I love the exclamation point and I refuse to rid my life of it! I have never heard that it was interpreted as yelling at someone and I will continue to use it judiciously! To heck with the haters! Find another punctuation mark to hate! How about the semicolon? I use that too; though I seem to be one of the only people who do! Maybe the period is next. Perhaps the comma, as we wouldn’t want anyone to pause to catch their breath! Maybe we should just forget all punctuation I was an English major and I assure you this woman is not

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Lol! I appreciate your reassurance! I was seriously bummed out at the thought of not being able to use exclamation points to show my feelings in what I write.

      Liked by 2 people

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