Write v. Speak

I was about to say something horrible to my brother, then remembered that I was unable to take it back if it didn’t land. Then, I got thinking about saying the wrong things in general, and the potential repercussions of words. I think I can confidently say that I prefer the written word over speaking.

When you say something stupid or offensive, you have maybe a quick moment to course correct. If you absolutely meant what you said, but had the wrong tone, you may have alienated everyone around you. Sometimes, the words that leave your mouth is knee-jerk and the consequence is greater than the intended.

Compare that to the written word. Everything is potentially methodical and, at least, kind of looked over. Mistakes can occur: I remember back in High School I had a “moment” with a friend and she said “I feel like a slut” in a text message. Me, trusting autocorrect like a moron, replied with “you should” instead of “you shouldn’t”. I have apologised profusely for the oversight for years, and in the even she is reading this, please allow me to apologise again. It was one of those moments when I wish that you could delete messages. The damage would have been done, regardless. I didn’t even notice the mistake until she called me out on the seemingly brash and stupid reply.

(This anecdote is horribly simplified for narrative purposes. My embarrassment is true, though.)

Minus that one situation where I was just a degenerate, I always feel like written words are easier to explain if there is some sort of ambiguity. The situation described above devolved due to my ignorance and my attempts to course correct seeming disingenuous. There have been other situations with people I would never meet where text was the only option for the situation. Those exchanges devolved due to an inability to convey the proper emotion in the written word.

In conclusion: I acknowledge that both the written and spoken word is privy to misinterpretation. In text, you are able to either delete stupid or explain further the actual intent. Spoken displays trust in, not only what words you choose, but the listeners ability to comprehend your tone. With the relinquishing of power comes the potential for misunderstanding.

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