Better at writing than talking

Some of my best friends on Facebook are people I don’t know that well in real life. They are mainly the parents of children in my younger son’s class. We comment on each other’s statuses, ‘like’ photos and make each other laugh. They are nice people with a good sense of humour. But when I see them in the playground we don’t always chat.

My friend says this means they aren’t real friends. They are fake. Because you can hide behind writing. Because it isn’t the real you.

But I disagree. Because if that’s true, then I’m the same. I’m fake. I’m hiding behind my writing.

Well I’m not. And nor are my Facebook friends from school. They are nice people. And so am I.

I find writing easier than talking. I can say what I like and people have the option of whether they ‘listen’ or not. I don’t feel awkward. I am funnier when I write than when I’m talk. That doesn’t make me fake. I’m not hiding behind anything. I’m not pretending to be something I’m not.

I’m just a little bit shy.

And I guess some of these other parents are too.

With one person, I will talk all day. I will hardly pause for breath. I love chatting.

But with two or more people (with the notable exceptions of my fabulous colleagues and my very oldest friends) I feel awkward. I go quiet. I don’t like to butt in. I can’t just join a group and start talking. So I don’t.

I pick up my daughter first. As I live near the school, I tend to get there just before the bell – I’m not going to get stuck in traffic and I don’t have to worry about parking. The people I get on with are already talking to someone else. A more confident person would probably just join in. But I don’t. I’d rather stand on my own as a conscious decision than stand with a group and be ignored or be unable to join in.

Once I’ve got my daughter, I wander round to my younger son’s classroom, where all my Facebook friends are waiting. In groups. Chatting.

I smile. I may say hello. But I don’t join in.

They are still my friends on Facebook. I even meet some of them for a book group. I’m sure they know that I’m not unfriendly. I bet they understand because maybe they’re a bit like me too.

What do you think? Does being better at writing than talking make me or anyone else a fake?

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. No, I am exactly the same – although my ‘live’ friends will probably tell you that I can talk for England! And that is true, of my closest friends. However, I believe that I communicate better in writing and I find it much easier to express myself/feelings in writing than face to face. Maybe that’s a ‘cop out’ but you’ll probably find that I’m more ‘real’ in writing than in the real world.

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  2. Glad it’s not just me! I can say things in writing that I wouldn’t say out loud – I’m happy for people to know them, I just don’t find it easy to say them. I think I will find a sympathetic audience in the blogging world!
    Thank you for taking the time to comment, I really appreciate it.

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  3. I am the same hun. We are just shy but lovely people. x

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  4. I’m with you! It is probably another reason why we blog. And it isn’t like you aren’t interacting with them. I don’t like it when people look at your facebook stuff etc but never respond. Then out of the blue when you are talking to them, know everything about you.

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  5. Ditto. I have made not a single friend at school gates! Am shy, but once you get to know me I am loud. I think I am just like my blog- once I know someone well enough to speak up!!

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  6. Hhhmm, interesting thought. No, I don’t think you are fake. I’m not on Facebook so can’t comment on that aspect of your blog post.

    I do think that people who blog and tweet in their real names are more likely to be ‘real’, in the sense that they won’t tell lies or say horrible things about others. I like and appreciate that honesty.

    I write and talk for Africa 🙂

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  7. I have to buck the trend I’m afraid I’m just as gobby in the playground as I am on the blog or facebook. I am fairly popular (giant head alert) but equally there are some they may be scared of my ranty side. I have had a ‘debate’ on a couple of things and will speak my mind. Especially people who moan but do fuck all to help with the school etc. It does go quiet if I get all lefty with people others love it. xx

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  8. I totally agree! Sometimes I realise I have friends on Facebook that I literally have not spoken to in person for YEARS. At that point I launch a friend cull. 🙂 I think in the respect of blogging it’s different though… you’re building a network of followers rather than friends, even if they do overlap sometimes! :))) x

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  9. I completely understand, I would much rather send a letter or e-mail, where I can express exactly what I mean and edit it before I send it, rather than make a phone call.

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  10. I have to say, I’m the same in my writing as in real life – at least I think of myself that way. I’m not shy, often talk too much and too loudly and have a habit of laughing too much. I can also be over-emotional, am prone to weeping and get shouty when I’m tired. All of these traits are reflected in my Twitter feed, my Facebook updates and my blog. That said, I don’t think anyone who enjoys writing and is happier with expressing themselves with written words rather than spoken ones is a fake. It’s just another form of communication isn’t it?

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  11. Thank you very much for your comments, everyone! I really appreciate your thoughts.
    It looks like we have a lot in common on the whole. I do have the loud, shouty side, but I keep it in check most of the time because I don’t know what people will think of me. It’s not appropriate for a school governors’ meeting or waiting outside my daughter’s ballet class, so I just stay quiet! I admire people who can express themselves out loud without fear whatever the situation.
    Even though we are all a bit different, I’m glad no-one thinks I’m a fake for preferring the written word.

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  12. Brilliant post! I am quite shy and agree that the social media thing is great for me as it gives me a lot of confidence.

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  13. Thanks very much 🙂 You can be the person you know you are inside (sorry if that sounds a bit crap, but you know what I mean!).

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  14. I don’t think you hide behind your writing. You are open and honest. When other friends are already talking I completely understand the desire to not butt in, whether they are facebook friends or real life friends.

    I do think that writing allows us to express our views which can sometimes throw us open to critism or provoke debate (like my post today did, taking me somewhat by surprise).

    Sometimes there is a chance people will say more online than they would face to face. But (within reason) I enjoy that freedom. It encourages honesty. Sometimes a little bit of protection by the internet allows us to express ourself more freely. 🙂

    Great post Sarah. 😀

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  15. Thanks very much, YMR :)I agree, it’s easier to say things online than in real life, but you are being more honest rather than less. Thank you very much for commenting.

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  16. I agree, I am genuine in my writing just as I am genuine in life – but I’m not always as confident or fluent with some groups of people. Conversations with these people on Facebook are easier. And that’s fine. Great piece.

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  17. I don’t think it’s fake at all. I often find it a lot easier to say something online than face-to-face. I think it can sometimes be easier to say how you feel in a forum where you can be anonymous. So in a lot of ways, your online persona can be more real than your real life one! 🙂 Great post.

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  18. I know how you feel. I’m a little shy at times too. I like how I can think about my words before writing. I think I am less inhibited with a keyboard than face to face. Surely that means I’m more fake face to face?!

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  19. I’m so shy with people I don’t know too much,I think this is because I’m shy and always say the wrong things at the wrong time,if I speak to people I don’t know on the internet to well we have time to come back with our answers :)I don’t think its fake because if I didn’t want to speck to someone I wouldn’t speak to them on fb,thanks for linking up with us at welcome to the weekend hop…

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  20. I’m lucky enough to be confident and be able to join groups and talk to people don’t know. I’m also quite good at drawing the shy people in as I spot them and go over and speak to them.
    Facebook is an excellent place to get to know people too – like me with my new school mums group.
    My only concern is that sometimes the written word I have chosen has been read with a completely different tone to which I intended and has totally backfired on me 🙁 with terrible consequences. As a result I always read and re read my words and try to avoid any ambiguousness

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  21. Thank you all for your comments, I really appreciate them. I admire all you people who are the same in real life as you are online. I am too, but only with certain people I feel 100% confident with.
    I agree with you ladies who say that your online persona is often more real than your ‘real life’ one – that’s how I feel too!
    Good point, Mari, about checking what you’ve written – it’s easy to misinterpret the subleties of language, especially humour, when you don’t know your audience. I don’t think anything has backfired on me yet!

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