Saturday, July 01, 2006

Speaking vs writing

I was thinking today about how much easier I find talking on Messenger compared to speaking to someone in person. Obviously with my best friends and family then there's no problem, but with everyone else it's just so much easier to write things down and give yourself time to think. I used to be very shy and incapable of making small talk with anyone, and I'm thankful that that's no longer the case, but I do still find it hard to think of conversation starters, which doesn't seem to be a problem online. With Messenger there are no awkward silences - if someone doesn't reply you assume they're looking at a website or chatting to someone else, and you don't know that it's just because they're searching for a response. Similarly, if you're in a face-to-face conversation and you say something totally silly you can't take it back, whereas if you're typing and you realise what you're saying is stupid as you go along, you can delete it before pressing enter. I remember one conversation with someone where I said so many utterly dim things that made me sound like a total idiot, and I sat there feeling worse and worse, knowing that if I was typing this just wouldn't be happening.

Apart from the awkwardness/stupidity issues, there's also the way that you can come across as a different person when you're online. I find that I adopt quite a different conversational style when I'm typing, and I can project the person I want to be rather than the person that I seem to be when I'm having a real conversation. I haven't yet worked out which of these people is the real me - I suppose your automatic responses in person should be a more accurate indicator of who you are, but I know that I'm someone who has to think about things before I can decide what I really feel, so maybe the person I am when I'm online is more like the person I actually am in my head, with all the doziness etc that I usually display in quantity filtered out. I've had quite witty conversations in the past over Messenger just because I've been able to think about my responses without the pressure of having to reply instantly/display the right body language/worry about what the other person's expressions etc are saying about the way they're thinking about me, and I've wished afterwards that I was able to be so quick/clever/interesting when I'm actually speaking to people. Obviously I wouldn't want the whole world to go electronic and people to never talk to each other again, but I do wish I could learn to be the intelligent, considered and amusing me in person rather than the dozy girl who screws up a lot that I increasingly seem to be. I wonder how this can be achieved!

EDIT: I feel I should record that I've just watched the most inspiring display of tennis from a British player that I can remember. Andy Murray has just demolished Andy Roddick in straight sets, in quite brilliant fashion. That boy has steel in his soul. What a star!


Em said...

So true. I think you're not the only one who feels that way...As far as which version of you is "real," I'd like to throw out the possibility of them both being the real you. I'm very much the person that everybody sees in public and I'm very much the person that sits behind my computer--sometimes the two are the same, but more often than not I find myself much less censored behind the computer...It'd be interesting to find out if other people are the same way?

Juicy said...

I always say that practice makes perfect and the more you just randomly chat to people the more you'll find you have to say. I'm the other extreme and talk far too much (although a lot of it is complete bollocks). It think that you don't need to worry too much about trying to sound fantastic when you're talking to your friends becasuse we all love you just the way you are.
x x