The Intelligent Idiot

I can express myself a lot better through writing than I can through talking. I enjoy writing and I like to think I am good at it. When I write, I sound intelligent, and can get my point across effectively. However, every time I open my mouth to speak, I sound like a total idiot. Everything always comes out wrong; nothing ever comes out right. I can never get across what I am trying to convey. People never "get the point" of what I am saying; it's very frustrating. I have a lot of intelligent thoughts and good ideas, but if I try to express them verbally, it always sounds really garbled and disjointed. What is VERY frustrating is when I am right and the other person is wrong, but because they can express themselves verbally and I cannot, it ends up looking like they know a lot more than I do. I am eloquent when I write, but when I talk, I stammer and fumble and look like a fool. I almost need an interpreter because I can never make myself understood, and the other person always has some quick, smart-sounding answer and I feel like they have "shown me up". I sometimes wish I were a mute, because talking always frustrates me; I talk as little as possible. This isn't something I want to overcome or want "help" with; it is who I am, and I like who I am. I wish I could find a different job ( I won't say what I do, since I want to remain anonymous ) where I don't have to talk very much or interact with people. Making conversation is like inhumane torture for me; it's not that I want to learn conversational skills. I just DON"T LIKE dealing with people or especially making conversation. Being around other people, even people I know well and like, is an exhausting act for me. I just want to be alone so I don't have to talk to anyone. Talking and socializing just "isn't me". No one want to do something they dislike, are terrible at, and makes them feel incompetent; that's what talking always does. I really enjoy EP, because writing allows me to get my ideas across, and share myself in a way that would never be possible through face-to-face interaction. Writing is something I can ( sort of ) shine at. It makes me feel competent and enpowered. It allows me to show the world my smartest, happiest, most confident self. I have just had a really frustrating day, so I hope this story doesn't sound too negative. Everything I have said here is truly who I am, but if I were in a better mood I might have tried to put a more positive spin on it. I try not to write when I'm in a negative mood, but when I saw this group, it seemed perfect for me, and I knew I had to share my story. I'm glad to know there are other people like me out there. I try hard to be a positive person, but I can get negative really easily, especially when I have an experience that makes me feel incompetent. That's one reason I don't like to talk; it always leaves me feeling frustrated and incompetent. Well, that's my story, such as it is.
atpeacewithme atpeacewithme 26-30 32 Responses Sep 18, 2010

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Hi i'm also like you. I always amaze my friends by my ability to get almost an A on every assignment because I really know how to express myself through words. However, when i come to talking, I seem to forget the words, I feel i have too much to say, yet so little. I once seached about it and something like 'social anxiety' came up. I think that is it. If we are able to write well enough, these thoughts can be communicated if we are not anxious while we speak! Goodluck

some people just have the Gift of gab and can talk a really good game but have nothing to back it up.
You will lose against these type of people even if your 100% correct with the subject matter.
This I believe is one the biggest downfalls in human existence. The idiot with the gift of Gab will rule the world at the sometime the people with the real answers to our problems will be ignored. This will be the ultimate downfall of the human race. maybe in the next life or plane of existence the tables will turn. I imagine a world where the truly smart ones among us get to make the real decisions for the benefit of all mankind.

I'm the same way, and I used to lament the fact that I am unable to verbally express myself as well as I can through writing. Fortunately, I'm starting to think about the issue differently. My friends compliment me on my writing. My coworkers value my grant writing skills, and they seek out my input on their own work. I wouldn't be surprised if the same thing happens to you! It would be nice to be able to speak eloquently, but life would suck a whole lot more if I could do neither. Surround yourself with those who appreciate your skills and those who can compliment your abilities. One of my best friends is an awesome verbal communicator, but his writing is comparable to my speaking abilities. Together, we kick butt. You have a skill set that is not easy to come by in our world. Appreciate yourself for what you do really well and be thankful that you're aware of your weaknesses. Be strong - you're not alone in this boat! :)

same issue with me but i can't even express myself in writing. Its too frustrating and embarrassing.

Me too. I also have problems conversing with people. They said I couldn't express myself clearly. I feel bad and upset. Sometimes it was so frustrating that I just yelled at them, but couldn't say a single thing. Now people are avoiding me. It hurts my feeling too. Pls tell me there is a cure for this.

Yes, yes and yes. That sounds exactly like me. I do know I can speak more fluently with people I feel are on my level. If I try talking to someone on an upper level like someone in authority, I get tongue tied, find myself jibbering and making no sense. Knowing this about myself, I just tend to shut up and say nothing. I also tend not to look at the person I am speaking to because I don't want to see them make those confused expressions trying to understand what it is I'm trying to say.

Great story! I almost thought I wrote this because it is pretty much my same story. The only part that differs is that I would like to have better conversational skills.
Thank you so much!

It makes me feel good to know that so many people feel the same as I do, but my question is what do we do about it? Is there some way to resolve this issue. If anyone has a solution I would love to hear it.

Hello, "atpeacewithme"...i was in awe when i read your article. It totally resonates to me. It's true, conversations are also like torture for me...and i'm finally discovering all this at 39 yrs old. I just thought i let you know i've been looking online for a story like yours for the past 10 years!
The name for my "uniqueness" is called ADHD (innatentive subtype), and i have speech processing disorder...the fact that i cannot seem assertive/articulate when talking to others, and i end up not telling them what they need to be told...indeed so frustrating. I recently also did a career aptitude test and i was told i have above average reasoning, but working in fast paced environments is very overwhelming for me.

I'm glad this was such a help to you. It's incredible that something I wrote could make such an impact. I was debating whether or not to share something so personal, but now I'm glad I did.
Your comment helped me a lot. It's good to know that I'm not alone in finding fast paced, high pressure environments overwhelming.
Thanks so much. Take care.

I love this! I feel like the only time I can speak properly is when I am having a conversation with someone about simple mutual interests. I'm definitely an introvert, but most people assume I'm a much more introverted and shy person than I really am because I just don't speak in front of people very often. The reason I don't speak in front of people often is because I get extremely nervous knowing that I will have trouble sounding the least bit intelligent when talking out loud. It's like the thoughts in my head run faster than I can speak. When I am writing, I can collect and fluidly articulate my thoughts onto paper. Not so much when the words are coming out of my mouth.

I felt like meeting my long-lost twin :) i know, its frustrating when people didn't get what're we saying. And the worst part is when i have to do a presentation in front of the whole class. I usually prepared what i should say earlier but when it's my turn to give a speech, i forgot everything that i should talk ..

Trust me u are not the only one with this problem I too suffer the same

This is the first time in my life (of 40+ years) that I've come across others who have expressed this phenomenon of communicating better on paper (or via computer) than when on-the-spot verbally. When the concept of e-mail emerged a couple decades ago, I was in seventh heaven. Finally I was able to communicate with co-workers and clients in a succinct way.
As an introvert, I also struggle in meetings. The non-stop talker takes over the meeting. My few remarks usually fall like a lead balloon. But I keep persevering. Since I know my brain in capable of formulating thoughts in writing, it's truly capable of turning those words into verbal form. It just takes time and patience.
I'm guessing this is a genetic thing, and would appreciate any feedback from others on this. I saw this own "introvert-but great writer" trait in my father, and now see this trait in my teenage daughter. Has anyone else seen this in their family?

You should read "The Flinch" by Julien Smith.
You're problem is that you are too worried of what people think. I know your problem because I have it too.
You need confidence, not in yourself, but something greater than you. Or at the very least, the current you.
Read the book.

I searched this topic and found your took the words right from my very own mouth! I've recently discovered I am an introvert and now I'm suspecting this maybe a quality of introversion. I say I discovered this recently but I've always know I was more inward thinking and I've always loved to be alone since I was a little girl.

I've spent much of my life trying to change who I was. Looking at others outward life and wondering why I didn't have the courage even the will to have a life such as theirs. I'm realizing what a waste of the REAL me to indulge in this thinking.

You are perfect the way you are and if can't seem to say the right words and the words you mean well then speak less and right eloquently MORE c:

All my love,


Thank you, Sarah, for your understanding and support. Your comment made my day. Take care.

Well, I guess I might be in that club as well.

do any of you often decide to use a different word or phrasing in the midst of speaking and feel like a dingbat bc the resulting emanation from your mouth

is gibberish

It happens almost every time I open my mouth. Your comment perfectly captures my experience. You just said it a lot better than I ever could. Thanks so much.

I take time to find the words that perfectly convey my thoughts as the other indiviodual would interpret them. Writing relieves the task of being put on the spot by the other individual

Abbey, you hit the nail on the head! One of the main reasons I don't like conversation is because I often feel put on the spot. I like to get all my ducks in a row before I open my mouth. If I don't, idiocy always pops out. Also, I'm afraid of saying something to offend or humiliate the other person. Thanks so much for taking the time to read my story and respond in a way that makes sense to me. Take care.

I am the same way! I always offer to help others write resumes and cover letters simply because I am good with words. Unfortunately, not everyone wants my help because they have heard me talk and wouldn't have the slightest idea of how intelligent I can actually sound(on PAPER)! I feel as though this problem is due to my thoughts moving faster than I can spit them out. I always find myself walking away from conversations with a million things that I could have said but didn't, or a million ways I could have said something differently. It's very frustrating, and to top it all off I'm blonde! :(

dayjod, that is one of the most frustrating things in the world! Don't you hate it when you walk away from conversations with things you should have said but didn't, should not have said but did, things you could have said more clearly, or things that just came out totally wrong. Well, your comment is one of the few intelligent sounding comments I get, so that's why I took the time to reply. Thanks so much!

I am very're not alone :)

Hi All

I am the exact opposite, I have no problem putting over my new ideas verbally but when I try and write them down, my text is child like and very poor.

I have been diagnosed with visual/spatial dyslexia and it is slowly grinding me down.

Hope all goes well


hey atpeacewithme....u sound totally like me speaking...yeah i'm good with the written word but seriously...i cant talk as gud as i write..and i know it can sometimes get difficult to fit in dat way...but hey..dis is who we are...don't need to try that hard to change..:)

When I was in college I took Transformation Grammar because I cannot diagram a sentence. Cannot tell the difference between a noun and a verb. Transformation Grammar is the study of the conversion of thoughts to speech and the type of confused speech you describe. If they have a name for your problem and you can get college credits for studying it then it is a normal human condition. Like you I prefer to write rather than speak to people. And when you write you can look at a paragraph, page, story or what have you and see what you said rather than like I did on prom night. I said something to my prom date that caused her to look shocked and tear up and have no idea what I said. About twenty years later I tried to talk to her and she said "I don't talk to boys like you." It also doesn't help that I'm bi-polar.

you are not alone! I speak without thinking and half of the time i come across as an unintelligible neanderthal but when i write, i can think before i put my words into writing thoroughly. If i had the chance to get together what i want to say before i spoke my replies would be so delayed i would appear to be mentally handicapped.

Yeah I am the same way.

The sad part is people's reactions when they see my work / poetry on paper.

They're like "you sound so smart" lol...

wow, in my world I AM SMART!

I very much relate to your story as well, particularly the first half. Finding ep was an eye-opening experience for me too. When I feel comfortable and confident, I can verbally express myself better (though still not as well as I can write), but when I'm uncomfortable in some way, I have a difficult time focusing and expressing myself very well. I think this stems from being highly sensitive to my surroundings and becoming overstimulated too easily by things. But there are advantages to this, too, like sensing more of what is happening, and having a natural intuition about things. I like dandaniels comment about become more 'well rounded' and using more of our range of abilities. Perhaps this happens naturally with age and experience.

i still sometimes have that problem. i mostly have to just focus on getting comfortable (not too comfortable) but somewhat comfortable...kinda think things over before i ask a question and not lose (so much) confidence in myself once i open my mouth. i just keep strong and finish stating my thoughts) and gracefully retract if necessary..(explaining what i thought was the case) ...i am okay with being quiet too tho... I also keep a somewhat firm posture which helps me not to lose focus one what i was gonna say...idunno why but that helps

Evening all! I was browsing on by and then I read your comments which made me laugh. I can totally relate to how you feel. This is the exact same problem I used to have and sometimes still do! Although it must be said with practice, these days I'm able to win debates and convey my thoughts coherently whilst sticking to the point. With time, effort and a little bit of practice you can too! It used to be very frustrating fo me and would completely destroy my confidence. It's a little bit like a positive feedback loop. You sound incoherent, lose the argument, become frustrated and embarrassed, then withdraw back into your own mind attempting to find a way to get out of that awkward social interaction. But alas! do not doubt your level of intelligence. Your mind is full of intellectual ability with the capacity to understand hugely complex subjects and global issues of the day, everything from fiat reserve debt based fractional reserve banking, to global economics, to the laws of thermodynamics, geology, sociology, geophysics, psychology, general relativity, geometry, quantum pyhsics so on and so fourth. When you attempt to explain them in any kind of coherent fashion it seems almost impossible. If your going head to head in a verbal intellectual debate, you can sometimes come across as rambling missing the entire point. Instantly you lose all credibility and someone with a subservient argument wins the day. This has happened to me on numerous occassions, so much so that I decided to do some research and do something about it!

Well it turns out this is all down to how we think. We as human beings use both our left and right hemispheres of the brain, but tend to have a more dominant side. The skill is to be able to use the whole brain in unison. Those who have a phenomenal command of the english language tend to be left dominant. They can usually think in a structured, ordered, logical, sequential way and then verbally convey their compartmentalised thoughts in a coherent fashion. They tend to see things in their component parts and are highly analytical. To them it's the detail that matters. They can infact sometimes miss the bigger picture altogether because ironically they literally just can't see it! These people tend to be less emotive and more ordered in the way they do things. Accountants, Financial Advisors, Doctors, Engineers even Scientists. Then there are those who are predominantly right brained in their thought processes, highly emotive, intuitive, able to see and understand the bigger picture, slightly chaotic in their thought process, innovative and extremely creative. These people sometimes "just get things". You can study something, read something and quickly focus on the big picture travelling down from the whole, to its component parts. Almost like reverse engineering. Most of the Western world favours left brain ordered thinking which is why those with more of a creative mind tend to get left behind which is a bit of a bummer because we're the ones who are the most innovative and creative! Practice left brained exercises, this is the side of your brain you need to work on. I used to be predominantly right brained, but over time I was able to focus on my left brain activity and eventually combine them both. How? Well I used to play chess every day and practice problem solving techniques. The power of simple boring repetition is phenomenal. Not exactly the greatest hobby of us right brained thinkers but damn effective. Maybe try an alternative to work that side? I also used to study an issue on my mind and practice discussing things through verbally to myself in real time. I would pretend I was in an important meeting and had some of the most powerful people in the world sat with me. Probably looks and sounds a little crazy but who cares? this is your development we're talking about here! For the record we seem to be moving into a right brained world now, what with the economy going crazy and the world becoming more chaotic. There's a fantastic book you can read on the subject called "A Whole New Mind" authored by Daniel Pink, whereby he explains that we may be moving into a right brained world. The lefties could get left behind! With a little bit of practice, you can engage your left hemisphere, more so than you ever thought was possible, until finally, both hemispheres are firing on all cylinders and in perfect harmony. Hopefully you will then go on to achieve something that you never dreamt possible. It really is all about your state of mind. If you think you can or you can't....either way YOU ARE RIGHT.

Thank you very much for your input. I, like the original posting of this article, find myself quite often short on words. I can put plenty to paper, but at business meetings when i have to speak I have a very hard time. It is such a struggle though, because although I feel competent in my field, I may not appear to be so because under pressure I can't pull in the left side of my brain. I'm going to get the book you recommended. Thanks!

wow! (atpeacewithme) said every single thing that I could have said about my self! I believe it's a good thing (writing), but the fact remains that no matter how much you would LOVE to avoid communication with other people, it's just a part of life we should learn to deal with, that is if we are ever to move up in this world! God knows how much i end up screwing every job interview i get and thats because I begin to stutter and make things worse when all these ideas are just flowing through my mind but they do not seem to pass my lips in the right order. I am an intelligent person, romantic, curious and much more but no one ever sees that unless they read something i write. Writing is a beautiful thing but sometimes i feel like we only get to live once, so we should prove to the world that we are gems and daimonds... unfortunately lost between peices of shattered glass. I wish i could speak my mind and heart out... and still keep my writing skills but its easy to be said than done i guess.

I could have written the first part of this myself - I know exactly how you feel! Your writing is indeed eloquent and flows. I love writing too. I assume from the type of job you do, you have to interact with people? Mine's like that too and on one level, depending who I'm dealing with ie. it's relevant and I know my subject and 'the clients' are getting what they need, I'm OK, but.............I hate 'fighting' in a crowd of people for attention, especially when some of them are full of their own importance and come out with clap-trap! And as you say, rubbish can sound good said with confidence - people get jobs on the strength of this and then make others' lives hell because of their actual limitations. Politicians too............?

Keep writing and enjoy it!