Words have always been my Achilles heel. Whatever has happened, if you are a consummate talker, I’m liable to let it go. This may not sound like a problem, and I don’t think it was back in the day, but the world has moved on, doncha know, and it’s different now.
Back in the day, a crush who flirted with another person could make it all better with a few flowery lines. Someone who didn’t immediately strike me as “must have” material could increase their points with a well written note, or a poem (or by riding up on a motorcycle).
The problem now is that so many initial meetings happen online…where all you have are a few pictures and lots of words. Words that people can spend time on, writing and rewriting. Words that people can take from other people, even(!).
And that’s not even the worst, the worst is when you decide to move beyond email, to texting. Now there are even more words, and they’re there, super close, in your hand, in your pocket. With chirps and bells that alert you to their arrival. With the immediate gratification that pings the reward center of your brain.
Unlike your high school crush passing a note between classes, these words can come at any time, with no warning. And some of y’all are really good at it, at quick, catchy phrases, at emoji and shorthand.
And then? The in-person meeting. And all those words, wasted. They open their mouths and they have that Berkeley voice one I associate with weakness). Or it’s squeaky and too high. Or gravely and too low. Or maybe it’s full of “cool” and “awesome” and not much else.
Maybe you managed one phone call before meeting, so you know their voice sounds nice, but it turns out that in person, they can’t actually participate in an interesting conversation. Or they spend all their time checking their phone, which you liked when you were getting that immediate gratification, but now is just annoying.
My least favorite, but oft repeated scenario is the one where a week or more of seemingly endless texts have passed between us, but the in-person meeting falls flat. All that time and energy, gone.
I know it drives people crazy when I push for a in-person meeting right away. Even the older crowd (I’m using this term liberally, like, any one over 35) seem to want to connect in these tiny, bite sized bits a million times before meeting. Not me. I want to know you up front and personal right away. Just because we have unlimited texting doesn’t mean we need to do unlimited texting.
Use your words wisely, folks.