After learning about handwriting analysis, I must say that I kind of like the anonymity an electronic message gives you. Besides concealing your general personality traits, you also don’t have to admit that you are having the worst day of your life and crying while you write that “So happy to hear about your (fill in the blank)” email. You can also pretend to be someone else with the sterile, typewritten word. But, then again, it is really all about the words you choose. As my Mother used to caution me, some things are better left unsaid.
Whether in text, email, or letter, typed or handwritten, some things are better left unsaid. I have certainly sent texts and emails that I later wished I hadn’t sent. I have definitely SAID things I wish that I hadn’t. The faster the speed of the medium, email, text, and old-fashioned speaking, the more adversely it affects what you say.
You can’t unsay the handwritten, mailed word, but you can, not send it in the first place. I can honestly say that I have never hastily written a letter and rushed it to the mailbox! Nor have I tried to intercept a delivered letter after changing my mind. (I come from a very small town where I friend of mine actually stole back a letter after it had been delivered to the recipient’s house by a friendly mailman who thought that she lived there. Yes, this is a crime.) However, I have hastily sent or responded to emails and texts, only to push the send button and regret it almost immediately.
At my office, it is possible to recall a message. I think this is an absolutely ridiculous notion. Many a time I have read an incoming message, only to get a “recall” message moments later. Too late! I already read it! I can’t unread it.
There is something about pen to paper that commits the words more than electronic media does. The act of handwriting also commits the writer to what is being said in a way that truly makes you think before you “speak”. Sometimes just seeing something in our own handwriting jolts us so much, that it sparks an emotional response and causes us to rethink our words.
I think we are too quick to put down our thoughts in emails and texts. I know it can truly kill a relationship whether personal or professional. Electronic medium is designed for speed, but the human is not.
I decided to test some of this with my kids (ages W: 15 & A: 13). I had them read a negative emotional message that I typed. I then had them read the same message but in my handwriting to see if they felt more, less, or the same impact. I then repeated the experiment with a positive emotional message. I tested each privately, without the other one in the room. Here were their thoughts:
W: “Is this an art project?”
W: “The handwritten note feels more real, more human, more relatable, more personal. Showing your own writing seems like you are sharing a part of yourself. Typed was like reading online. Interesting, by not real feeling.”
A: “Why are we doing this?”
A: “I can’t read your handwriting, is this an “i” or a “w”? It’s the same feeling. Handwriting a little bit more, because it seems more personal. The typed one is like online reading or emails, and that seems like something you would share online. The negative affected me more in handwriting, but both still affected me.”
The outcome? OK, testing on ones teenagers who are already onto your ways, may not be the most controlled group, but still…be careful what you say and where you say it. It would seem that the typewritten word is the medium for a message you intend to widely share. Handwriting is for a personal, private message. I also found it interesting that both of the boys equated typing to online communication and therefore not necessarily heartfelt regardless of the message being positive or negative. Maybe that is why we still sign our name on documents, to make it feel real.