Teresa Garratty: What we miss when we email, text or message people

Posted on March 10, 2017

The pen is mightier than the sword and when you’re deaf that can sometimes be a big problem…

I grew up hearing and became deaf at 18 so I have a fairly good use of both spoken and written English but I tend to write more than I speak. Blame it on nerves, social anxiety or just a general hatred of the human race but emailing, texting, messaging etc is probably my main communication method.

And with today’s plethora of social media sites, it’s so easy to connect with people even if you can’t hear. Great right?


I’ve recently become painfully aware of just how damaging the written word can be. I’ve cocked up in such a catastrophic way that future generations will refer to any such similar events as “a Teresa”.

I won’t go into detail, not just because it’s monumentally embarrassing for me, but there are others involved who are probably trying to forget the whole horrific incident ever occurred (or they simply don’t give a sh*t, either way no. Just no.)

I will however say this; Be careful how you read and write.

Sounds so simple doesn’t! You write something, they read it and respond. You then read that and blah blah blah…

But written conversations can take a dark turn before you’ve even realised it…

I’ve always thought I was quite gifted when it comes to figuring people out. I used sit quietly at school, watching people, thinking about what made them tick, wondering who to befriend and who to avoid like the plague.

This does not work with written conversations. DO NOT DO IT! You will eventually, pull a “Teresa”.

You see, when we email, text or message people we miss a vital ingredient that helps shape human relationships. What might that be? Here’s a clue. It plays a huge part in BSL too.

When we write/read we can’t see all those little signifiers that help shape the outcome of human interaction. There’s no body language to detect, no facial expressions to use as a guide. Is this person so at ease with you that they sit close enough to be touching? Or are they at the opposite side of the room with their arms folded tightly across their chest?

You just don’t know, and it’s things like this that can cause a dramatic shift in reality. The conversation that you thought you were having, turns into something completely different and when you’re on the end where the wires are crossed…well, brace for impact.

Technology somewhat makes up for it with the use of emojis, memes and GIFs but there’s still so much room for doubt and uncertainty…

Now can you imagine also throwing in the fact that written English isn’t everyone’s first language..?

It’s just too terrible to contemplate.

The only thing left to do is chalk it all up as a life lesson and pray to whatever deity is up there that it please for the love of all that is sacred, doesn’t happen again!

I’m going back to my cave now to avoid all human interaction, forever. Send messages at your own risk!

Read more of Teresa’s posts (with cartoons!) by clicking here.

Teresa is a freelance film maker, photographer and full time cynic. At school, she was voted “Most likely to end up in a lunatic asylum”, a fate which has thus far been avoided. Her pet hates are telephones, intercoms and all living things.

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