I was reading something the other day that reminded me of a problem I have. I have an issue with expressing myself to people verbally. It’s plagued me since middle school. Put a paper and pen in front of me; I can write whatever needs to be said, and clearly. Except, oddly enough, on the good ol’ Twittahs. More often than not however, face to face communication makes me think too much. It’s fueled by two hindering traits: having a non-confrontational (NC) nature, and being an introvert.
Depending on the subject matter of a conversation, I know I can be non-confrontational. Especially over the last few years of marriage, I’ve had to get out of that. I used to write my wife letters concerning issues I had, just to avoid an argument. This was one of the times I learned that verbal is better than written. Generally, this is true for all close relationships.
I’m lead to believe that the NC demeanor is a byproduct of being an introvert. I’m really a contrast in terms. Those closest to me might consider me very extroverted. That’s after they get to know me though. In general, I’m not big on being around too many people. That is, unless I can blend into the crowd. This is the main reason I stopped clubbing after 2 years. So yeah, the introvert in me finds it easier to write than talk at times.
It’s not like I’m trying to find the best way to frame a statement. My mind figuratively runs a million miles a minute when talking to folks. I can’t seem to slow it down either. I calculate much in the seconds and moments that a conversation is taking place. Body language, tone, past conversations about the topic, my past experiences with a topic all run through my mind. Too much thinking trips me up.
But oh, the pen and the paper. They are the equalizer of my communicating existence. If given the time to respond in this manner, I get to the gist of what I want to say. A great wordsmith I am not. The message always comes through loud and clear though. There is time for me to slow down and organize my thoughts. I can say what needs to be said without any outside noise affecting the outcome. It may not work for some, but it does for me.
Plus, I can have my points ready if further discussion is needed. In a way, I feel empowered by knowing that I succintly expressed myself to someone else in the written word. It feels natural. All communication can’t work like this all the time, but even a quarter of the time and I find I’m so much more effective. Even with this, I still know I have to do better.
How long will it take? Who knows. I’ll say this though. As long as I’m clear in my meanings on various topics, I’ll continue to use the written word when my mind gets in the way of me speaking.