extended-family hike with my parents, my brother, my niece, C, and the kiddos
Yep, my weekend in two nutshells ;) (and I got some serious exercise on Saturday, because E sprinted along the path, trying to keep up with D and C -- and that lasted over 15 minutes; the rest of the time, she jogged)
I've always been the type of person who communicated best through letters. I remember, when I was a freshman in college, I got to know a girl (a senior in high school) who wanted to stay in touch. So we wrote letters. She spent her first year at college in IL, and we wrote throughout that year. When we finally met in person again (her sophomore and my junior college years), her first comment was that I was so different in person than I was on paper.
I could only agree. When I write things down to people, I have time to think about what I will say -- I can imagine the various implications. Basically, I can be wise and thoughtful (ha!). In person, I just react, and I'm not as good with thinking before I speak (though I've gotten a little better as I age, thank goodness).
It occurred to me recently, though, that there are probably people who are the opposite of me -- those who actually do better in person, who are able to think on their feet and react with more wisdom/thoughtfulness than they do when they write. For me, having a blog and being a part of internet discussions usually keeps me from putting my foot in my mouth. Especially if I'm emotional about something, I will try to find exactly the right words to express it -- whereas in person, I'm just a mess! (Truly -- when I'm very upset about something -- happy or sad -- I'll just cry. People have often thought they 'beat' me in an emotional argument/confrontation, when really, I just can't find the words and sit and cry...sigh.)
What does this have to do with online discussions? Probably not much ;) But it did remind me that we all react differently and with different levels of self-expression. Some of us, like me, can write their thoughts more clearly and tactfully; some of us speak with greater tact and self-control. When I read various blogs and online discussions, I've been trying to keep this in mind. Definitely that's part of why I don't get so emotional about online arguments -- I know that I'm only seeing a very tiny portion of what the writer is truly thinking/believing/trying to say.
Does this mean I never 'argue' online? I wish...no, I still have my moments. Sometimes people say things (and no, I won't bring up the last thing -- about 3 months ago -- which really annoyed me) that get under my skin, and I just have to respond (and not always with a ton of grace). But I do hope that I'm learning through the whole technological age how to think first -- meaning, I hope I can take what I've seen and done online to my 'in-person' reactions.
How about you? Do you think you're calmer/wiser/more thoughtful/etc online or in person?
Hope all the dads out there had a really great day!