Death by Abbreviations


“Consider yourself lucky if he has managed to send you a comprehensible four-lined email with the words ‘love’ ‘happy’ ‘feeling’ and ‘you’ in it. Consider it a miracle if he has managed to avoid acronyms and use proper grammar and punctuations (or lack thereof).”

Those are the words of wisdom from my co-worker who was hovering around my desk as I gasped from the shock of having received a disconcerting email from a male FRIEND. Several thoughts should have run through your head at this point, 1. Did I punch the quid-nunc coworker in the face for breach of privacy? 2. Who is this male friend and are we seeing each other? 3. Did he use those four words in a four-lined email?
The answer to all of the above is NO.

My quid-nunc coworker is exactly that, inquisitive and gossipy but harmless for the most part. While reading someone’s email over their shoulders (uninvited) and then passing a comment in reference to said email is unacceptable by all standards, I have sort of accepted quid-nunc for the way she is. I do not let her little quips bother me anymore. I also think the annoyance from her lack of respect for my personal space was softened by the blow I received from the email and a little bit from her comment. I didn’t know where to start. Why is he trying to ruin our friendship by saying these things? Why do men always misinterpret caring because you’re my friend with caring because I want to be with you? Was it true? Should we be happy that the man (in this case, it was not the right man however) has made an effort to express himself albeit in an email with four-lines? Can we no longer hope for that one fellar who is going to write you poems and prose on a nice crisp sheet of paper and mail it to you old school style?

My romantic heart refuses to fall for emails or worse, text messages that read something like this, ‘wat u up to?’ ‘i wld luv 2 take u out sumtime’, and don’t even get me started on abbreviations like ‘c u’ ‘b4’ ‘2day’ etc. Here is a pointer guys, it really does not take that much more time or effort to have to type out today as ‘to-day’ as opposed to ‘2day’. The fraction of a microsecond saved is not worth the other person feeling like your message was not meaningful. The meaningfulness of the message often gets lost in the process of trying to decipher the cryptic abbreviation filled message, especially for the intelligent people like me who would much rather not partake in the butchering of the English language which we owe a lot of respect to considering it has helped us communicate beyond our borders for centuries. That being said, I thought it was a little sad that my friendship with this new male friend (he was someone I met very recently) would have to come to an end. ‘Death by abbreviations’ is what I called it when mutual friends ask why we do not speak to each other now. Of course my friends roll their eyes at me because they think my peculiar ‘uncompromisable qualities in a man’ such as proper English speaking/writing skills are just ridiculous.

I hope quid-nunc wasn’t right in pointing out that we need to be happy that a man would even send us an email with those affectionate words. I have always been the girlfriend who writes letters. I like giving hand-written letters before he travels (or I travel without him), on his birthday, just because, etc. And even though there have been times I have wished I could get some of these letters back (knowing these deeply personal notes exist makes you feel a bit uncomfortable when the relationship ends), I do not regret them and I certainly will not stop writing them in the future. The least he can do is write me a well-composed email that goes beyond four-lines and excludes text messaging language. I don’t think I am asking for the moon here, or am I?


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