Not coming across like an unfeeling so-and-so on a forum

Does anyone here have issues with their approach to written communication and a 'matter of fact' view of the world causing people to think they don't have feelings for other people?

  • I would agree, yet the Title and SubText of this Thread mention too many other disparate Topics all in one go... (unfeeling, forum, written-communication, and matter-of-fact.)

    ...All in all, that would amount to a 'Yes', then, it seems... (!)

  • The written word has always been my preferred means of communication because it's the only way in which I can 'speak' without interruption and get my message across, having first of all researched my facts, marshaled my thoughts and formulated (I hope) a cogent and coherent account or story.  People have often told me, on other forums I've used over the years, that I come across as aloof and high-minded.  Perhaps this is because, in writing, I have complete control.  Also... importantly, I think... I can't be seen.  Anonymity is crucial to me in this respect.  I don't know why, exactly - but possibly because, in some ways, a 'truer' me comes out in writing; I'm always afraid that the actual flesh-and-blood me is something much less than.  I don't have to wear masks to make up for my deficiencies when I'm writing.  Unless you want to argue that anonymity in itself is a mask.  Writing, generally, is done at a distance - as a form of communication.  And it demands the total attention of the recipient.  This is something I can rarely command in conversation.

    Also, in writing, I can make use of rhetorical devices that most often desert me in the to and fro of actual conversation: figurative language, allusion, ambiguity, etc.  People are often shocked - possibly disappointed - when they meet me after having read my writing.  For a few years, I published fiction and poetry on a writers' website.  The organisation which ran it used to have quarterly meetings in London, where site users could get together for readings.  I went a few times.  People were often, I think, surprised when they met me to find this nervous, shy, hesitant wallflower.  It didn't seem to add up.  And then, when I got up and read out a story or poem, things changed.  The spotlight was on me and me alone.  And I was delivering my words, which I'd thought long and hard about and crafted.  It was like a transformation.  I'd then come back to the table and I could tell sometimes that people were either puzzled or surprised.  It was like they were seeing two different people: the private one and the public one.  Except that the usual ideas about these things were reversed.  The private one was the one that had been up at the microphone.  The public one was the one hiding back in the corner.

    Perhaps I do come across as... well, not so much unfeeling (I hope), but logical and matter-of-fact in writing.  Perhaps, too, I come across as aloof and high-minded, as others have said.  Maybe that's partly because the word is the only real weapon I have at my disposal.  It isn't a bad weapon to have, really.  I've spoken at great length on other posts about my relationship with my sister-in-law.  She's, among other things, a narcissist.  She's controlling, manipulative, devious.  In conversations, she's always dominant - even in large groups.  She's forthright and uncompromising in her views and ways of expressing them.  A disagreement over something is never just that.  If you disagree with her, you declare war on her.  You attack her Achille's Heel, which is her deep-seated (obvious to everyone except her) insecurity.  She always reduces me to rubble in such situations.  She knows exactly how to pull my strings, to wrong-foot me, to put me - blabbering and incoherent - into submission.  In our few written exchanges, though - usually following a spat which has led to a period of non-communication - I get my own back.  I hold the upper hand.  I have the fluency, the arguments, the facts.  She has no defence that way.  And she's often said, on such occasions, 'I'm never quite sure how to take your meaning.'  Because I can dress up an insult as a compliment, a put-down as a plaudit, etc.  In writing, she fears me greatly.  In person, I'm easily bested.

  • I sometimes have this yes, both written and in person, I can have a matter of fact view, I'm very fact based. Also one of those subtle communication things that I struggle with, is often people don't actually want honesty, they are asking a question, but want you to lie to make them feel better, I often fall down on that.

  • The written word has always been my preferred means of communication because it's the only way in which I can 'speak' without interruption and get my message across, having first of all researched my facts, marshaled my thoughts and formulated (I hope) a cogent and coherent account or story. 

    That describes me to a tee too Tom! When face to face particularly if I have to deal with something difficult I either go to pieces or am too over the top and upset people, I'm much better thinking my words out slowly and delivering them in written form.

  • Yes, though moreso with verbal interaction with people.  I find written communication easier to cope with as I can spend time re-reading it and editing it.  I find that I edit it depending on who the audience is, based on previous interactions with similar people and learning what things I am 'meant' to say.  So I do sometimes try to work out if it seems a little too 'matter of fact' for some groups of people.  This process takes too long in a verbal conversation as I have to try and process what someone says, think of my initial response, stop myself from saying it and then try to work out what would be 'more acceptable' to the person I'm talking to.

    This edited version appears to help other people see that I do care about others.

    If I were writing as me without the edits though it would be 'matter-of-fact'.  That does seem to make people think that I don't care about them, even though I do.  It's very difficult trying to work out what other people think is a way of expressing that you care about them.  

    I also find that other people have trouble accepting that the things that I say really are what I mean.  I get frustrated with people who decide that something I have said means something else.  This is particularly frustrating when other people place value judgements on something that I haven't.  A classic example would be someone asking what I think of someone in a particular outfit, i.e. does a person's bum look fat in a particular pair of trousers.  My initial response would be 'define looking fat', simply because I think it's a subjective question and I wouldn't be able to answer it without knowing what the definition of 'looking fat' is.  I also don't particularly care about what another person's bum looks like in a particular pair of trousers, that really is for them to decide for themselves.  However, the comment 'define looking fat' is sometimes taken as some kind of joke or insult and seems to be suggestive that I am saying that they are fat, which I'm not.  I've had similar issues with other comments where people make an assumption about a response because they have placed a value on it that I haven't.  I have started stating that to people ("you've placed a value judgement on what I said which I haven't, which means you've jumped to an incorrect conclusion") but it just seems to confuse them and they assume that I'm trying to get out of offending them.

    So yes, being 'matter of fact' does seem to get me into all sorts of unintended trouble.

  • Yes - I have been described as cold, blunt and lacking in empathy for the feelings of others, when really I have only highlighted the obvious and facts of a situation.  This has resulted in me losing friends in the past through either completely misreading a situation or responding in a manner which others have found to be deeply insulting.  To this day, I still don't know why I have fallen out with some individuals as a result of miscommunication.  It would be so much easier if people would just be honest and tell me what I have apparently done wrong, so I can at least learn from it if nothing else!