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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 31-35 37 Responses Sep 18, 2010

Your Response


Wow, glad I read this. I've had a communication problem all of my life. I am a better writer than I am a speaker and feel if it were reversed I would have better opportunities to promote. Wish I had the verbal skills.

What kind of work do you do?

It seems like you might be harboring the illusion that you're particularly articulate in writing, but based on this post, I think a lot of that sense comes from the fact that you tend to express the same idea several different ways before moving on to the next. It may feel like there's a fluent connection between your thoughts and your writing, but you're taking five minutes to get across a thirty second thought, and that's not very articulate at all.

This could obviously be a consequence of your feeling incapable of communicating verbally, but you are compensating by writing too much.

Before you start getting critical of me, you should read some other stories on this site. There are many people who can be quite long-winded and say nothing. So many stories are capitalization and punctuation free.
You obviously have an over-inflated sense of your own intelligence and value, and you compensate for it by being an arrogant know-it-all.

Firstly, you are a hypocrite. You are saying to @willowparks that they obviously have an over-inflated sense of their own intelligence or value, and that they compensate for it by being an arrogant know-it-all? How do you differ from this description? You have written "I have a lot of intelligent thoughts and good ideas", "When I write, I sound intelligent" and"I am eloquent when I write", yet having read your (for lack of a better word) disjointed and relatively incoherent (despite what you may believe) wall of text I would be inclined to disagree.

The fact you have received ONE example of constructive criticism and the immediately responding by insulting them to a fairly significant degree only serves to demonstrate exactly how much you dislike being proven wrong, despite the fact you obviously are. There is nothing grammatically or structurally wrong with what you have originally written, until you start applying all of the filters you claim to have. YOU have an over-inflated sense of your own intelligence and value, and you compensate for it by being mean to other people on the internet for no good reason whatsoever.

Not to mention in the comment you have written below, you wrote "When you're communicating with stupid morons", now you are just insulting the intelligence of everybody on this site. That is not something a rational and logical person would do, you are NOT the smartest guy in the room by a long shot and to think that you are is nothing short of a wild misconception.

"not the smartest guy in the room"
That's funny...and interesting.

Based on your comments you seem quite arrogant. this may be due to your own insecurities but using words like 'obviously' when giving advice isn't the best way to go around doing it. I can appreciate your quite smart but not everything you write has to prove it. Sometimes using your knowledge to help others is the better option. i agree with you that he is unable to speak verbally so he probably compensates when writing. My advice to him is is stick at it, the more you socialize the more comfortable you will get speaking to people and expressing yourself. Don't let anxiety stop you from developing yourself.

When you're communicating with stupid morons, you sometimes have to say something several times before it finally sinks in. Sometimes I have to say something several different ways, for they won't understand the first one.
At least my writing is coherent. It's different from the rambling, disjointed, ungrammatical, poorly spelled stories I so often read on here.

It's generally best to give people a chance to understand what you're saying before you repeat it over and over. That just keeps intelligent people from wanting to continue reading as it becomes exhausting, and could be responsible for your continued interactions with "stupid morons."
Yes, your writing is coherent, but coherent and articulate are not the same thing. I did not mean my original comment rudely, I am just trying to highlight that it is easy to confuse quantity with quality in writing. You may be writing more than you are talking, but that does not mean you're writing better.

So, that's constructive criticism? From what he wrote, I think he doesn't need anybody to tell him that he's "overcompensating". And why are doing that? Did he mention he needed any advice or constructive criticism?

Did you hate the fact that it was a wall of text? Did you really? Even though he actually said it was a rough day. Is it so hard to imagine he was doing a bit of catharsis?

He has an "over-inflated sense of it's own intelligence"?. Are you blind? Did you miss that part when he said that he feels like an idiot when he talks?

Jesus, the guy is putting himself out there, and you people think you have the right to start making comments about him, and what he's doing right or not? Why don't you post your own personal life so we go there and make opinions about that, and just point out your own flaws.

Want to do constructive criticism? What about "hey, I hope things work out for you. And hum, hey, I know that you must have had a hard day, but try to not do a wall of text next time. :)". THAT'S CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM. Not the cold, piece of **** comment, no heart "you're overcompensating", "you have inflated sense of intelligence" STFU, If you don't like what he's writing, then LEAVE! NOBODY ASKED YOU TO JUDGE HIM!

Thank you. I've noticed that all the people who criticize me have never written any stories of their own. Let them post some of their most heartfelt experiences, and I'll give them "constructive criticism". And I'll critique their spelling, grammar, and sentence structure.
You're right that I had a rough day that day, and this post was sort of a catharsis.
Thanks for your support. :)

This strikes me as unnecessarily harsh; his comments about his writing ability aren't a boast of superior intelligence and ability, but simply an expression of his relative feeling of competence in writing, particularly in contrast to his feelings of incompetence in relation to conversational skills. He's not claiming to be a "gifted" writer, so much as a competent one. And yes, his writing could use some work, but that seems to be entirely beside the point he's making.

7 More Responses

I'm once read in a classic writer's book , what you shared here; very eloquently put .Can't remember if it was Dostoevsky/John Steinbeck/ Dante - wish I can find that paragraph again- so uplifting to find others "caged" the same way as me! Researching HSP(highly sensitive person) has also helped me a lot're the me i consider myself to be.i wouldn't know why i am at the corner of my classroom keeping on writing stuffs that literally interests me while my classmates bound themselves into groups and chat like pigs left unseen.but the thing i think which always boosts me up whenever i feel low about my ability to write is that...........there are two,if i am to myself writing at the corner of my class,my friends will have a chance to think me to be unique moreover they'll get interested in knowing what's really in me!...two,i am good at my works and assignments and some academic'i am appreciative.....when people know my greatness and still find me doing something different from others.....that's different,isn't it??....i think that even if people around me can never get me acquainted so easily,i am still in love with my paper where i can pour my heart.....i feel myself to be unique and give myself more importance than short,i love myself unmindful of what others think of me.....when i get people saying"what?" kind of expression at me....i go back to my paper..and feel good sharing my real true thoughts...those interactive people wouldn't say they love paper and i never will say i fake myself to become a's all it is...let's find goodness in ourselves and transform it into greatness rather that feeling low at our unfilled part....

I just came back from a doctor appointment disappointed and embarrassed from how incoherent I sounded when I tried to describe my issues. It felt like I was a 5 years old trying to explain what an average adult would have been able to easily. I also express myself in English better than my first language which is the same as where I live. Very frustrating.

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 ex<x>pressions 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.

You refer to ADHD- Have you checked out HSP ?(Highly sensitive person) which is a WHO recognised personality type , 20 % of population are like this. Dr Elaine Aaron coined "HSP" Really was wow to discover I'm not abnormal, just a different type of normal

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. <br />
<br />
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.<br />
<br />
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:<br />
<br />
All my love,<br />

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<br />
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<br />
<br />
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.<br />
<br />
I have been diagnosed with visual/spatial dyslexia and it is slowly grinding me down.<br />
<br />
Hope all goes well<br />
<br />

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.<br />
The sad part is people's reactions when they see my work / poetry on paper.<br />
They're like "you sound so smart" lol...<br />
wow, in my world I AM SMART!