Want to tell someone you love them? Send them an email.
A new study from Indiana University found that it’s better for people to unveil their romantic feelings in an email opposed to any other medium because it allows people to convey all their thoughts simply and it allows the recipient to think over the message, the study said.
“The bottom line is that email is much better when you want to convey some information that you want someone to think about,” Alan R. Dennis, one the study’s authors, said in a press release.
Dennis and co-author Taylor Wells, who both surveyed 72 college-aged people, found those who sent their romantic feelings in an email were better at conveying their emotions through strong and thoughtful language, the study said. The email writers were also more emotionally interested when they sent their feelings through email.
“When writing romantic emails, senders consciously or subconsciously added more positive content to their messages, perhaps to compensate for the medium’s inability to convey vocal tone,” the researchers wrote in the study.
The other added benefit of email for the romantic: it allows people to edit and rework their romantic feelings, whereas a voicemail is “a single take, and it can be sent or discarded and re-recorded, but not edited,” the researchers wrote. “Thus senders engage with email messages longer and may think about the task more deeply than when leaving voicemails. This extra processing may increase arousal.”
Still, the researchers were quick to assure people that face-to-face conversation is the best method for relaying a message to someone, especially if it’s timely.
“If something isn’t really clear and you want to make sure that everyone has the same understanding of what something means, that’s best done in phone calls, face-to-face meetings or video conferencing,” Dennis said in a press release. “You have different cues, and it’s also synchronous discussion, as opposed to email, where time goes by before the receiver gets to it.”
This study is a reminder of how technology has influenced our language and habits. The Internet has influenced our language in many ways, including the creation of new languages, like “txt speak,” or when letters aren’t fully written (i.e., “BRB” or “G2G”), according to BBC.
Similarly, social media has changed the way people talk to each other, too, according to Oxford Dictionaries. Social media tends to encourage informal conversation and speech. This has also led to the proliferation of new words, like “on fleek,” which got its start on and was made popular by social media.
In recent years, emojis have also influenced the way people speak to each other. WIRED’s Nick Stockton wrote in June of this year that emojis are less trendy slang and more their own language. In fact, he said that emojis are more evidence that technology has created new ways for people to speak to each other.
Emojis, like texts, emails and voicemails before them, add another layer to the English language and may continue to do so for years to come, Stockton wrote.
“They might also be changing written English,” Stockton wrote. “No, not changing in a way that means the language is abandoning the alphabet and regressing back to ideograms — simple glyphs, symbols and pictures. Languages change all the time, and that’s OK. It’s evolution.”
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Herb Scribner is a writer for Deseret News National. Send him an email at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @herbscribner.