Talking vs. Writing

What is a better form of communication: talking or writing? For me, talking is inferior and inefficient compared to writing. Writing gives you time to pause, reflect, consider, and then express exactly what you feel. Some may say that talking to someone face to face is the only way to really know another person fully—to get a sense of their true self. While that may be true for some people, that is not the case for me. 

When talking in person, I do not express my true self. Shyness and anxiety prevents me from communicating effectively. I stumble over my words and find it difficult to think. When writing, however, I don’t have that problem. I have the time to construct my thoughts exactly as I want them.

You may say that’s not the real me because it is edited—that I can fabricate my thoughts while writing to make myself look better. That may be true, but 1) You can do the same thing while speaking, and 2) I don’t (or try not to) do that. It’s up to the individual writer to express themselves as honestly as possible. Editing my writing brings my thoughts closer, not further from truth.

Of course, written communication loses the subtleties of eye contact, tone, vocal cues, and visual gestures, which can lead to miscommunication. Sarcasm can be mistaken for sincerity. But for people like me who are not comfortable speaking, the visual and vocal signals we give off can cause miscommunication as well. People may mistake our shyness and anxiety as antagonism toward them when nothing of the like was intended. At least a writer has the opportunity to edit their thoughts to be as clear as possible to avoid potential misinterpretation.

Many people assume the true character of a person is based solely on what they say and do. But that is not the whole story. The true character of a person is what they think, inside their heads—their consciousness. No person can know the true inner self of another person. Short of some futuristic Neuralink-type mind-to-mind transfer, the best approximation we currently have of another consciousness is based on their words and actions. Some people, like me, more accurately reflect their true inner self indirectly through the written word than directly through the spoken word.

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