Converse with care


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “It’s a Text, Text, Text, Text World.”

How do you communicate differently online than in person, if at all? How do you communicate emotion and intent in a purely written medium?

Having found myself in a bit of a writing slump lately, I was glad when this prompt caught my attention and the writer in me got interested.

This is something I have been thinking about a lot lately.  In my job, I am constantly reliant upon emails and IM’s to get my point across, and convey my intent appropriately.  This is much more difficult than it seems.

In person, we have many ways to communicate.  We not only have the voice, coupled with the tone of that voice; but we can observe body language, we can touch, and the eyes alone express volumes.  When we try to say the same thing online, we have words and punctuation and some pretty cool emoticons.  If we are technically adept, we can even add a sound bite or an image. but it’s just not the same.

When I was a teenager and our most valued way of communicating from afar was the telephone, I remember those calls from a boyfriend.  You know, the ones where you were glad the phone had a very long cord and you could go hide around the corner from your parents and siblings? I remember wishing I could see the person on the other end of the line so I would really know what they were thinking.  Again, it goes back to the eyes! The windows to our soul!

Great writers can place me right in the center of the conversation, where I feel as though all of my senses are alive and I am in the room with the characters and a part of the conversation myself.  They are describing every detail though, of each individual, to give me the sense of their expressions, emotions, body language and even their innermost thoughts.

Try as I might, I find myself misunderstood on occasion when I correspond via email and text; having to explain myself over again, or explain my intent.  This depends a lot on the recipient and how they receive what has been written.  You have to consider personalities as well, because some people take things wrong, no matter how much care you take in the crafting of your expressions.

There is a time and place for everything and we, as human beings, have to judge what is most appropriate for not only ourselves but for others.  My mother in law is going to prefer a good old fashioned conversation or phone call from one of her grandchildren.  My husband’s “I love you” texts make my mornings, but I know I’ll get the hug later.  A beautifully written letter from a friend is priceless and something you can keep forever, but that isn’t the form of communicating I am going to chose in a crisis.

The failure lies in our choices.  Sometimes, we get too busy and instead of taking the time to make someone know we love them, we cop out and shoot them an email or text.   We hide behind electronics so that we don’t have to deal with real issues.  We need to put some thought into the way we communicate and make changes where necessary.

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.  George Bernard Shaw


  1. well put.

  2. Chili Jess says:


  3. Very well thought out response to the prompt, well done! 🙂

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