Practicing my speaking skills

Source: Clipartix

My communication is moving from verbal to electronic and I love it. (Does that make me antisocial?) No awkward silences and quick to the point messages.

Phone calls drag out. You call about one thing and before you know it, you are covering a lot of territory. Some of it is rugged terrain and should not be covered on a phone. There are potholes of misunderstanding along the way that will threaten the best of friendships. There are no verbal cues to see and sometimes words fly out of your mouth without the ability to edit as you can when typing.

Getting together in person is great but not always feasible. Matching schedules can be daunting. “I’m available three weeks from next August!” Still, it is the preferred way to keep a connection no matter how difficult it is. It’s hard to hug through an email. An emoji just isn’t the same.

On-line purchasing has contributed too. It replaces a lot of social interaction. Sometimes it’s for efficiency but often it’s to avoid real shopping. Can’t remember the last time I went shopping with a girlfriend. (The beloved husband doesn’t count. That shopping takes place in places like The Home Depot and I can’t find a shoe department there.)

I prefer emails as my first choice. I can text but that takes dexterity and patience. Both are in short supply here. I am willing to organize events as long as there are no phone calls involved. All email. Easy peasy. Clearly I love passive methods of communication. The kind that can be deleted easily.

All this happened after I retired. I just love the peace and quiet (except for the occasional cat barf).

My conundrum is that one of my old friends (tenure and age) doesn’t email. She lives about an hour away. She doesn’t have a computer (and she’s not THAT old). She will text but that’s a hard way to have a serious communication. After months of nothingness I gave in and called her on the telly. I got her message machine. She called me back and got my message machine.  This isn’t going to work. I am going to “write her a letter.” (That means type one on my computer, print it out and snail mail it.) In several months to a year, I may get a response. (Just like they did in the 1800’s!)

As I’m composing my epic, I wonder if I’m losing my ability to verbalize. Maybe I did so much of that when I worked, that I’m a quart low. For sure I was over-peopled.

I’m not a true people person. Too many, too long creep me out. They are like ice cream. A scoop here or there is good but a lot will give me diarrhea! I need my alone time to recover. It’s been almost eight years of retirement and I haven’t fully recovered yet! Soon!

In the meantime I will practice speaking in front of my mirror to keep my basic skills working.

70 thoughts on “Practicing my speaking skills

  1. I can relate, but it only works for you because you are good at expressing yourself in writing. I always thought the chance of misunderstandings is higher in texts and FB comments, etc. – but that is probably because a lot of people write very poorly . . .

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    • Having worked in human resources, I understand the power of written words (and hidden messages that weren’t meant to be there). For anything “preachy” I try to hold off a few days. Sometimes I decide it’s not worth the effort and sometimes I call instead but there are times I send the email. I especially hate FB for that. People are rude. You can disagree and be polite but that’s not taught anymore. If I don’t agree with someone, I typically scroll on by but I’ve seen raging rants that were uncalled for.

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  2. Pingback: Random 5 for June 9 – Friendship, eccentricity, haircuts, desserts, internet | Views and Mews by Coffee Kat

    • (Sorry just found your comment) I found that not being a people person worked to my advantage. I don’t hate people but I take them for who they are. I never got sucked into sad stories (true or false). It’s a lot like law. You have the rules and apply them. You don’t manipulate them because you like some people. That’s where the cries of the unfairness happen. Also, I truly believed that I represented both the company and the employees. Happy employees make a company successful so I made sure the rules were appropriate and employee-friendly. If we had to do something unpopular, I made sure employees understand why. My motto was “err on the side of kindness.”

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  3. I think more and more of my friends fall into your camp, Kate. I’m somewhere in between. I still have out of state friends and family I phone. I also write letters. But even my 87 year old mother and I text, so I guess I celebrate the fact that we have so many options. The point of it all should be, however, that whatever is best for you is exactly as it should be. We get to choose. Keep talking to the cats, just for practice. 🙂

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  4. I don’t even know how to text – I have a flip phone and it takes too long. I mentioned this to a fellow walker at the Park and she set my phone to be able to talk and it texts. Not sure I like it and when I call my landline a couple of times a month from the cellphone so I can discharge the battery then charge it again, I press “redial” and the phone recites my phone number and tells me how many minutes I have left (over 500 and I must reduce them to roll-over in July). It’s all too much sometimes. I like my peace and quiet.

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      • I hear you – I have not heard from the computer tech who is coming by the house to fix my problem. In the 8+ years of working from home, I suddenly cannot enter the company site. He spent three hours yesterday, by taking control of my computer, and could not find the problem. He believes Comcast has somehow put the office on a blacklist and I can’t access it. He could remote in, as can my boss. Lovely! And he is finally bringing the Windows 10 laptop with him. I watched a beginners tutorial. No thanks – I don’t need all those bells and whistles on my computer – I love my Windows 7 laptop – I am not impressed and not happy right now. Meanwhile my boss goes out of town Sunday morning for a week and is fretting about getting the bills out, so likely I am working Saturday. Technology is sometimes for the birds.

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          • That’s good to hear Kate – I was overwhelmed looking at the “easy” tutorial. I have to have our accounting system on the old computer since we can’t migrate our stuff to the new computer as the software is 15+ years old. I’ve still not heard from Ron and we are in between storms so I hope he gets here soon. I had Vista … my desktop computer and I no longer use it, but it is hooked up to my mode/router, etc. I had to get it as XP was being phased out. I hope our computer guy reached out to friends to ask if they know what is wrong in case the blacklist idea doesn’t fly.

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  5. What a great post. I am old enough to retire but still working (sigh) but from home. So I understand all of your points. I had to ponder your friend who lives an hour away without a computer–but a voicemail. That would be a tough one for me.

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  6. I struggle with this quite a bit. Too many of the people in my life use text messages as a way to avoid, at least that’s how I see it. So I try to connect with them on the phone as much as possible. A sister of mine only likes texting, but I finally got her to send e-mail instead. At least with email you can process thoughts and write with some level of cogency. I guess there are no right or wrong ways to communicate, only personal preferences. – Marty

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  7. This is soooo funny . Exactly true. Years ago I used to snort at friends/family that lived way out on a ranch or rural area who said that they did so because they were tired of people – now, a little dog walk chat or driveway talks while each stopped for a minute – that’s enough. Maybe as you say, a quart low from overuse when working. Texts, emails, blogs, and we’ve even started a few postcards flying back and forth – that is getting more and more comfortable for communication. Love that cat poster!

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  8. Haha. “It was very peopley.” Haha. Love it.
    I enjoy being around people, but I couldn’t take it all the time. I need a balance of both. When I’m around people to much, I get cranky. On the other hand, when I haven’t been around people in a while, I get cranky.
    I’ve often been called, “Goldilocks.” 😉

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  9. I love your comparison of a telephone conversation to rugged terrain. So very apt.

    Technology human contact and me? Pretty much the same as you – I hope that longevity study cited by AutumnAshbough can generalize to online community.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I’m much better on paper. (or, as in this case, in pixels.)

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  10. Well, I am so not a solitary person! As little dialog as you might have with your spouse, when you no longer can have that dialog, even the smallest nod, you realize how meaningful it is. I don’t like to text. My thumbs are not text savvy! I don’t mind email at all as a form of communication, but unfortunately you are at the mercy of an “unknown server” and as much as you would like it to be somewhat of a conversation, often there are great lags. So, other then the actual “landline” phone my preferred communication is Facebook messenger. One can use a true keyboard, have a real-time conversation and never have to even get dressed up! Thanks Mark Z!

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    • I prefer self checkout because I’m fast. Sometimes you get a slow checker and I feel like I have to crank them up! Well, except when I have a full cart. Then it’s faster with a checker and me bagging.

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  11. I hope you solve the non communication problem with your friend. I have an old friend who rarely answers snail mail and is sporadic with email. The best way to connect is by phone but then we go on for hours….and literally hmmm ours.

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    • She can go on and on too. Some of the time it’s repetitive and I’m banging my head against the wall. Mostly, despite the fact that she goes no where, can’t drive or even walk much, she never answers the phone. She ends up returning calls well after 10 p.m. when I don’t answer anymore.

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  12. Sometimes human interactions give me a boost. I read recently that, after taking smoking, drinking, and exercise into account, a lengthy longevity study concluded that those people who had daily human interaction with their community lived the longest. We’re talking a simple, “hi!” to the neighbor you see when walking the dog, or the local barista.

    I guess you’re hardwired for that exact amount and you will live forever, Kate!

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  13. At one time not very long ago I whined about getting texted and me having to text and said that I want to HEAR that person I am talking to so there are no misunderstandings, things left hanging. Now I don’t care if I ever have a phone conversation again. Texting is fine, email is preferred. I love having a party in the comment section of someone’s blog!
    Seeing people I truly care about and several new friends we have met, I love getting together for wine and food and laughing till we cry. We were late to the tech stuff but we embrace it now.
    Kate, there are so many good words, thoughts. and wonderful bits of humor in this post I may have to read it several times today… tomorrow, every day! Definitely going to read it to ShortsSandalsNoSocks!

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  14. I’m glad to be out of retail and other people stuff after 30 some years of it too. It’s nice to have a job with critters who mostly don’t need to talk with me!

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  15. I prefer email, or the handwritten letter. Phone calls cost money, not that I ring anyone on the landline unless it’s business and is more secure than a mobile. I text occasionally though as it’s cheaper than a call, and our mobiles are PAYG, not contracted. I still have £13 of my last £20 top up from April. On a tight budget, we have to make things work for us, especially as we are again under the possibility of our income being reduced.
    I’m a people person though, like to socialise with other dog owners, shoppers and cashiers, but that’s always on a short timeframe, so maybe that’s why it works for me.

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  16. It’s the weirdest thing, sometimes I can chat for an hour on the phone, and sometimes, even if it’s someone I know well, it’s like pulling teeth. Maybe the people I can easily chat with are my true friends, or maybe our speaking style clicks or SOMEthing.

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  17. “An emoji just isn’t the same.” ~> Wait! 😯 What?! 🙄

    I talk on the phone when necessary ~ e.g., when back & forth input from both sides advances the ball. Sometimes that type of exchange is tedious via e-mail I enjoy talking on the phone to our nieces and nephews to get a real sense of who they are and what they are doing. I also enjoy the occasional extended phone call with good friends (especially ones who make me laugh).

    But for more “mundane” communications, I prefer e-mails that can be read and acknowledged at the recipient’s convenience . . . because that way I have a record of what was said (which can be a real memory aid these days). 😛

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    • When there is a back and forth, definitely. Just not a long-winded exchange about nothing! I keep up with my nieces and nephews on FB. Fortunately they still do that (and I know it’s mostly for old people these days!).

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  18. “A scoop here or there is good but a lot will give me diarrhea!” 🤣🤣🤣

    Isn’t it ironic that in an age of instant communication when we should be ‘connecting’ more, we are actually avoiding real connection by hiding behind technology.

    Although I use technology extensively and consider myself reasonably techno-literate, there are times I just pick up the phone because it’s easier.

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    • There are some things that require a phone call with a personal touch. Bad news for one thing and seriously good news too. You don’t want to text someone that they’ll be a grandma! I hope we are doing more real communication because we forego the chitter-chatter when we email but maybe not.

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  19. I have never been a hugger so I don’t miss that. I do seem to be loosing the art of small talk. I had to apologise on Sunday when I was having coffee with some members of our walking group and I forgot to say any thing. I am sure I talk less to my daughter and husband who I live with than I used to as well.

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    • My husband is a non-talker. After being retired with him for the past years, I get like that too. I talk mostly to my cats who give me great conversations. I never was good at small talk. In fact, I hated it and would try to get to events near the end of the “cocktail hour” to avoid it. I have a relative who can’t stand quiet. She will ask inane questions to keep the conversation going. It’s exhausting.

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  20. We grew up in an age when a telephone saved us time from having to write letters to people we didn’t/couldn’t see in person. Having retired a year ago, I gave up taking phone calls by 100% and making them by 99% (only when necessary, and I “save them up” to do at one sitting). When I’m with my brother, we talk for days and never run out of things to talk about, but I now demand that voice conversations be interesting enough to engage me. I’m all for being anti-social!

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    • There are a few people I avoid on the phone because a call is an hour even if it continually do the “wrap up” things to get off. Other people I love talking to because it is interesting.

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  21. I’m not a big phone person either. I do have an old friend who lives in another state who likes to talk on the phone. I know when she calls it will be at least a 2 hour conversation, so I dust and do other cleaning as we chat.

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  22. I’ve been retired since 2000 and if not for friends and what few family I have, I’d be a hermit I’m sure…..a “non-verbal” one! I am not a texter in fact I still have a flip phone with no fancy capabilities. I much prefer email and my blog and speaking on the phone with the speaking on the phone thing being the bottom of the pile. I had years of HAVING to be a people person so this NOT HAVING TO BE is preferred – anti-social? No not at all – just like what I like and at my age I’m probably not going to change (again).

    Hugs, Pam

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    • Sounds familiar! Phones are my bottom of the heep too! I do have the right amount of social interaction to make me happy. Had dinner with girlfriends last night and I enjoyed myself. I just don’t need to do that every day.

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  23. I have that one friend too (they are a couple, actually) who doesn’t like using technology. They want to be kept up to date with my life but don’t do social media or – gasp!!! – read my blog. Email is hit or miss as is texting, with them. I try to deal with this with grace as I remember (not that long ago) when it was snail mail or phone calls or dealing with people in person but under my breath I mutter “luddites!” when I get frustrated by the extra steps involved contacting and catching up with them. No doubt they’ll have the last laugh at the coming apocalypse… 😉

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    • It is frustrating. She was and still is a great friend. We’ve been through a lot together and I don’t feel I support her as much as I should. I have tried to get her to buy a computer or even a Kindle with internet/email capacity but she won’t do it. Unfortunately even if I send her a letter it will take months if not a year until I hear back from her. I hope she is pursuing a change in living arrangements to make her life easier.

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      • This couple has the tech (computer, cell phone) but it still takes them 3 weeks to answer a text or email. Which might as well be a year, in today’s world of instant communication. Sometimes people are afraid/overwhelmed to have to learn something new – do you think that is the case with your friend?

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        • I’m sure it is. She said that she doesn’t understand how a computer works. I told she doesn’t need to know the mechanics just how to use it. She’s a smart person who was a professional writer back in the days of manual typewriters. I do have friends who don’t answer or acknowledge an email so I don’t know if they got it. As you say Luddites!

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