Today I want to compare our virtual world of emails, messages, chatting and texting to actual conversation.

Last Wednesday I talked a little about talking too much … or rather, about saying the wrong thing, often. Today I want to compare our virtual world of emails, messages, chatting and texting to actual conversation. There are some definite benefits to be noted, and at least one drawback to be acknowledged.

Take a letter …

The greatest benefit to typed communication is the ability to check it before I send it off. This doesn’t mean that checking it is something I’ll always remember to do, but it does mean that the opportunity is there. And with my anxiety, I sweat over what I’m typing, and often reword and rework every phrase and stanza.

What was I talking about?

Another big plus to writing my conversations is that I can look back when I forget what I was saying. So instead of stopping in mid soliloquy and asking in a dazed manner “What was I trying to tell you about?” I get to scroll back and read what I was saying. I get to appear like I’m not distracted by every little thing.

The comfort of knowing this reduces my stress levels and means that I may well not need to look back, just knowing that I can may save me from having to in some instances.

Backups are possible, try that with spoken words!

I also like that I can maintain an archive of my conversations and refer back to them later to see if I’m supposed to remember something. Big things like promising to pick someone up or to make an appointment or little things like agreeing to stand up for someone at their wedding are examples of possible commitments I may make and forget. It’s nice to be able to check up on myself that way.

Information overload

Of course, my computer is a little bogged down from saving every email I’ve received since the 1990’s, but it’s worth the peace of mind. Please note, however, that I don’t save them all, I’ve managed to convince myself that I don’t need every fake watch, online pharmacy, personal physical enhancement and purchased diploma email I’ve ever received.

At the beginning of this post I talked about the ability to edit my conversation. That’s the written communication equivalent of “think before you speak.” This gives me the chance to remove the inappropriate stuff before it becomes “the inappropriate stuff.” I like that, it has been my salvation on a number of occasions.

I don’t know that it makes any difference in reality, part of saying inappropriate things is that I don’t know they’ll be inappropriate ‘til they’re reacted to. If they go unsaid, all I know is that they won’t be reacted to, I still don’t know how they would have been received. Still, it often saves me a great deal of anxiety.

One last thing I would mention is that I can give my prose the benefit of time to be simmered down to its essence, have all the fat drained off and leave just the meat, so to speak.

A balanced perspective …

There is, however, a negative point to texting and typing, it’s very easy to misunderstand the written word when you don’t have the auditory cues of inflection to go by. And as an ADHDer, this is important. We already don’t always hear things correctly. And we don’t need additional opportunity for misunderstanding, we can misunderstand pretty darned well already. At least … I can.