Short on Texting and Talking (like a Stoic)
I recently tried to befriend a likeable young couple and recruit them as buddies for my hobby (always in demand). Didn’t work out. I talked too much, projected too much ego, listened too little and validated what they said too little as well. A pity, they work in a demanding profession and would have had something to say that might widen my horizon.
In short, I did not behave and especially talk (which is mostly listen, actually) befitting a Stoic. In my defense: we met at an event for a tightly knit professional group and I was the only person not a member. But no matter how much fish out of the water, fail I did. They might have rejected me anyways, but I am not happy with myself, which matters more. This shows that however well-intentioned and nice you are, presentation matters. Decisively. Rightly understood, presentation is not manipulating people, but getting the truth you say across correctly. It is something worth practicing.
I sent them (as we had agreed upon) a helpful text on future events, like the one we had met at, but that did not turn things around. Channels matter too. No matter how much I wish for it, I am not part of the letter writing culture previous centuries enjoyed. And neither are the recipients.
Ironic, because writing letters puts food on the table for 19 years now. And this leads me to overestimate my ability to write personal letters. No matter how good I may be, modern texting (this includes e-mail!) is and will always be a bad way to communicate that easily leads to miscommunication. I tend to forget this lesson and type away cocksure of myself. This has done damage and may one day come back to haunt me. A wise, Stoic if you will, policy for you and me would be to leave what cannot be said face to face (with body language and voice in support) unsaid.
[Photo by Mike Powell on Unsplash]