It’s so easy to thoughtlessly shoot off a text or email in a digital world. But we can’t see the others face, their anger, their tears or misunderstanding so we have no real sense of how we are affecting them. Our vindictiveness may tempt us to go further than we would if our empathy engaged someone in person. Moreover, it takes far more courage to speak to a persons face then to type out text.
The meaning of our words change in different situations. If a man runs around a burning building at 2 am shouting “fire” he is trying to save lives. If the same man puts on an officers uniform and stands behind a firing squad and yells “fire” it means something entirely different.
It may sometimes be impossible to avoid fighting in text or it may even be preferable, in a special case, to a direct confrontation. But such an argument is something to avoid if possible and certainly shouldn’t be done blithely. We don’t know the other persons environment. They may be in the midst of some difficulty or they may be driving. The circumstances matter and we cannot adapt to the circumstances if we don’t know anything about them. We may need to cultivate patients to wait untill a better time to speak our mind and who knows, maybe we will find a better way to say what we need to say.
By Todd Vickers