I'm better at writing than talking

I've always considered myself a good conversationalist, outgoing, open kind of person willing to talk to anyone. But about a year ago when I started eHarmony (which I stayed on for about 6 months), I started talking to this guy who lives 1,100+ miles away and realized I didn't want to give him my number because I was terrified. Terrified that while we had great dialogue over email, my abilities to open up on the phone would mess up this spark.

One Friday he emailed me his number as he was going on a trip and said I could text him or call if I felt like it. I texted and we ended up finally talking. The conversations got better as time when on, but ultimately I realized my thoughts come out right on paper/web, but verbally I don't allow them to flow. When he finally stopped calling and writing a few months later, I was actually relieved. Relieved that I didn't have to attempt my first real relationship halfway across the country and through the phone lines, and that I could go back to figuring out what I was really looking for in life and love.

I'm thankful that things with Paul didn't work out. And that I tried something new, was uncomfortable in my words and able to move on to find a man who makes me truly happy. The trouble is, I find myself still at a loss for words, even when I know he doesn't care how imperfect they are. I find myself able to pour my thoughts out in our daily email or texting exchanges, but unable to say the words on the tip of my tongue when we're sitting face to face. I think there's some safety we writers find in sitting behind our words, in knowing that our writing speaks for itself so we don't have to.

Last night I went to an alumni event where I was talking with a recent grad who wants to write, but doesn't have a job yet. Write for magazines or newspapers or freelance. But she couldn't talk. Was embarrassed for herself. Everything in her body language, facial expressions and eye contact said it so. She reminded me of what I don't want to be. I don't want to be so scared of my own words that I keep them inside, hidden from all to see. Because the longer you keep them hidden, the harder it is to unveil your true self.

So for now, I use my writing as a way to instigate verbal conversations. As a way to start a discussion about trying to keep thing equal, about plans for the weekend and to tell him how much I care.

Does anyone else find this dichotomy of being able to pour your heart and soul out in an email, texting or on facebook, but not so much in person? Sometimes I wonder if it's part of a writer's nature. If it makes us better writers as a result? Maybe we keep things bottled up so we can pour them out onto a page. What do you think?


Anonymous said…
When the 'relationship' starts out through e-mail/flirty texts/facebook, etc, I'm definitely with you. It's so weird to transition from saying things behind a medium to saying them face-to-face. It's hard because so much communication is done through these crazy online things now!
It definitely takes me a little bit to be Really comfortable/open with somebody I like. If its just a friend its no biggie. Still workin on that one! gah

anywayy - I'm really glad that the across the country prospect didn't work for you, because its SO hard, and the "manfriend" sounds much better :)
KGreg said…
I totally agree, I'd rather email than talk any day. I've overcome it in class by writing out the key points I'd like to say in my notes before raising my hand, but in social situations I'm still pretty stuck.

Even though it's frustrating, just remember how lucky you are that you can write and write well!
Kerry said…
I struggle with this as well, but as I read your entry it occured to me that writing could just become part of your spectrum of communication. I often write to Joe when I have something important to say but can't seem to get out. I always thought it was because I suck at talking, but for some reason your post made me think that really we all communicate differently and there's nothing wrong with writing. In a way it's very sweet because the written word lasts longer than the spoken word.

Now, the issue of not being able to get out what you want to say when you're talking...that's another one. Somehow I see them as separate and still connected. I struggle with finding things to say to new people. Once I know people I don't shut up and I can think of lots of things, but with new folks in large groups....my mind is blank.
Amber said…
Hmm. That is a good point and a real thinker. I LOVE to talk and always have something to say, but I definitely don't think I always say things as eloquently as I do on paper!
magda said…
Absolutely. I'm much better in words on paper than out loud. Some of it is the time that writing gives me to think on what I'm saying, but not all of it is; more often than not, the words just come to me at the keyboard when they really don't in my mouth. I've found myself improving, now that I'm writing more; it's getting easier, and I'm sharing more, being more open on my feet. Still, it's a process.

I've always found, too, that I talk more easily with a pen in my hand. I wonder if that's connected, or just a subconscious way of keeping my fluttering hands under control?

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