Talking Hard, Writing Easy

In case you hadn’t noticed, I’ve been in a ranty mood the past few days. And while these rants were cathartic, that has not been their only purpose.

As a rule, I don’t talk about my beliefs much. I am naturally introverted, and tend to keep to myself. I am also, as I’ve said in the past, somewhat too niche for my own good. This generally results in an impulse to not “rock the boat,” as it were. To keep my thoughts to myself, smiling and nodding along with whatever happens to come my way.

That’s not to say I don’t have my own thoughts. I do, as evidence by my last few posts. But I am reluctant to express these directly, especially in face-to-face situations. When I can see someone, I worry too much about offending them. I find myself paying especial attention to body language and tone of voice, making efforts to shift my conversational style (and topic) in a way that they will respond well to. I also tend to get overwhelmed by personalities stronger than mine. I would much rather let a comment or philosophy I disagree with slide by than instigate a conflict.

The spontaneity of face-to-face conversation also gets to me; I like to be able to take my time formulating my thoughts, ensuring that what I say is as precise and accurate as possible. If I tried to do so in conversation, the dialog would grind to a halt, to say nothing of the insecurity borne by lacking access to proper sources (unless one achieves Batman-like levels of preparedness).

I am also surprisingly adept at playing devil’s advocate, to such a point that I can often think of ways to refute my own point before I make it. Having done so, however, I am reluctant to actually make the point. If you think of a conversation as a game of chess, I possess the ability to think a few moves ahead, but the exponential expansion of point-counterpoint is hard to keep under control.

That all being said, the written format of blogging provides several advantages. Even though I am blogging under my own name, the fact that I am posting on the Internet conveys some semblance of anonymity: I can say things I would never say in a face-to-face conversation. I can take all the time I need to choose words and make points, both when writing the initial post and when responding to any comments or critiques. In short, I can account for a fair number of my shortcomings.

I also like to think that in some ways writing offers less chance of accidental offense. True, written communication lacks the nuance of body language and intonation an actual conversation does (there I go, countering my own argument!), but one has the ultimate ability to decide whether or not to read, or whether or not to skip certain articles.

Not that I hope any of you skipped what I have written over the past few days. I feel better after having done so, in effect taking the chance to may some thoughts that I usually keep to myself more widely known. While avoiding conflict is to be commended, after a certain point it becomes exhausting. People can assume things about you that are nowhere near true, just because you didn’t have the strength to disagree.

So this has been me attempting to strengthen those muscles. For those of you who have continued to read, thank you. If you have any questions about what I have written, please feel free to comment or email me privately. I hope you enjoyed this insight into my thoughts, and I hope to continue to give you a better view.

It’s probably going to be quite a ride.