Shouldn't You Think BEFORE You Speak Instead of Thinking AFTER You Speak?

Ever noticed that question marks are shaped like ears? Irony or Intentional? Copyright 2020 Marla Baxter Sanderson -

Here's a little known thing about me: The older I get, the more I analyze my words AFTER they come out of my mouth. I have to say, it is freaking exhausting.

It doesn't matter if I'm having a conversation with new friends, business associates, old friends, family members, or the neighborhood grocer; if I let words fall out of my mouth and they reach the ears of an audience, I will over-analyze everything I said to the receiver after I have left their presence or hung up the phone. It also doesn't matter if the conversation is important and detailed or short and sweet. I'm an equal opportunity obsessive over-analyzer.

I guess I have always done this, but I'm not really sure about that. It seems to happen more now in this stage of my life. Maybe the reason is I have fewer and fewer conversations. I'm not in as many work related conversational situations and not as many social conversational situations. Maybe I'm just losing that skill. Not that I ever had a strong "think on my feet" conversational style. But I was more active in the years I was running my businesses or working in the wild world of the mortgage or banking business.

Now, when I say I over-analyze what I've said, it goes a little something like this:

Hey Marla.....When you quipped this or said that, did it come across correctly? Did the receiver take offense? Do you care? Was your tone ok? Was it funny? Was it cutting? Was it misunderstood because you weren't succinct or eloquent? Did you use the proper language? Did you mispronounce any words? Did you misuse any words? Did you sound too judgmental? Not judgey enough? Did you sound caring? Did you care? Did you convey your thoughts wisely? Did you get too involved in their business? Did you try to listen only to fix their situation with your resolutions? Did you give unsolicited advice? Did you listen enough and understand them? Did you put emphasis on details that didn't matter? Why did you mention that character trait of the subject of your story? Why did you describe him or her like that? Did anyone overhear you?

I have long, long.....long said that I write better than I speak. Even if I post something before editing it properly, at least I can make sure I expressed my thoughts properly and go back and edit the post after the publication. I have more time to think about it while I write it. However, there are times when I over-analyze everything I write too.

I can't seem to enjoy the art of conversation and just be present within it. I can't seem to appreciate the activity enough to realize that I'm making a connection and learning new things from the folks I'm talking to. I'm not sure that I remember enough details of what they are saying in the right order so that I fully understand what they were trying to tell me. I think I remember the gist, but do I?

I really don't know how to stop this. I'm sure it is my insecurities, lack of confidence or just getting older. I'm at at an age where I'm not stepping out of my comfort zone enough to keep my conversational skills sharp. I'm not a social butterfly. I have my social group of friends I've known for decades and we get together when we can. But I am not one who needs people. I am perfectly happy in my own little world drawing, writing, reading, watching TV, and hanging out with my dogs and my husband. That is my comfort zone. When I do socialize outside of this core group, most of the people know my heart and know I mean no harm. However, even knowing this fact does not stop my picking apart my contributions to our social engagements and interactions. I have no remedy.

I would love to report that this character flaw is confined to recent conversations. However, that would be a lie. No, there are many conversations stuck in my memory from years and years ago that I remember and analyze.

It is exhausting being me.

That is all.

Carry on.

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