What the opposite of speaking before you think?

I don’t mean the admirable thinking before you speak, I mean thinking faster than you speak.

No, not in that admirable way, either.

While I still speak before I think, sometimes, my main problem of thoughts and speech being out of sync seems to manifest in thinking way faster than I speak, allowing my ideas to get ahead of the coherent transmission of those ideas.

See? I did it again. Maybe.

I’m always asking people if they followed the idea. In this way print is superior to the spoken word: I can re-read what I’ve written and determine if the thoughts followed naturally. The image I use to explain myself (and justify I’m not a red herring pitcher) is that my mind quickly links A-F internally, and I burst by the time I get to “G” because it reminds me of such an interesting story. And I tell that story.

Then feel really silly and half-obligated to race back from B-F to prove I’m not crazy or anything.  That the new conversation angle really was connected.

I consider it the mark of an ideal friendship (and an abiding comfort in my marriage) that a friend will just jump on for the ride, or, better still, know me well enough to make the leap with me.

At least with this type of fault I usually have that “witty” comeback at the right moment. Though I (like everyone else) usually think of a better one at approximately 3 a.m. the next morning.

12 thoughts on “What the opposite of speaking before you think?

  1. There are too many times that I would love to reel in the words that just burst out of my mouth.

    Have a great weekend, friend!

    Chris from Fab Forties

  2. This is interesting! I do this a lot. I know my mind thinks WAY faster than I can get the words out. Sometimes it is all I can do not to interupt (b/c I wasn’t done). What do you attribute this to?

  3. “Brilliance” springs to mind. ;-)

    The more thoughtful answer would be that my/our minds work in a sort of spider-web pattern– making connections in more directions than the average bear working with parallel lines and right angles.

    “A different kind of intelligence,” I’m sure someone would call it. Though I wouldn’t want any other kind.

  4. Oh good. I was afraid you were going to say we aren’t normal. Oh no, you did say that didn’t you? ha ha! Someone once said that I always have an a an a b answer. I once took a counseling course where I had to practice listening (to things I had great advice for) and remain silent. It was a great (and hard!) exercise.

  5. That is EXACTLY the way Matthew talks. I have learned how to hang on for the ride.

    Have you read “The Story Girl” by LM Montgomery? You would love it. Sara Stanley does that “connecting to a story” thing.

  6. Hi again. :) It is interesting half your family has ADD. After reading a checklist, my most visionary brother announced that he believes everyone has it. I commented that everyone probably has ADD-ish moments in life, but that is different than all the time. I am just long winded. ;) When I get excited, my speech speeds up too…pretty funny, and I am so easy to read. I talk with my hands too, lots of gestures. Once my dad grabbed my hand and I stopped to look at him, and he laughed, “I knew it! I knew you couldn’t talk without your hands!” (See there I go, telling a story…) ;)Are you like that?

  7. I do use my hands, but since aquiring ASL (American Sgn Language) as my second language, it tends to be parrallel comunication.

    I don’t translate as I speak (I’m not as fluent as all that) but I’m usually aware of what they’re saying. I think.

    I’ll try any pay more attention next time I get into an unrehearsed story…

    As to the “There I go, telling a story…” that is the story of my life. I absolutely see everything through the prism of story, and constantly describe things in terms of images or stories that I’ve read/seen/lived.

  8. I saw your comment on Becky’s site and followed the link. I have always wanted to bookmark you and I think I actually will this time.

    I actually understood what you wrote because that is how my husband speaks. I haven’t learned to follow him yet, though, for the way I think is different. I, too, find connections in every statement (in thinking or speaking) but what I will do (mentally or in speech) is give a little intro into what the tangent is and go on with the main story, mentally keeping tabs on all the tangents (making a list, if you will). Then I’ll either get lost in thought about those topics (one at a time, of course; I often have “thinking times” where I allow myself to dwell upon certain subjects for a certain amount of time – sometimes whole days) or speak about it as an appendix to my orginal story, saying, “But yeah, as I was saying about x….” This is not advantageous, either, as most people have their own comment to tack onto my story and I don’t speak fast enough to get it all out (because I’m “searching” for my list). Does that make any sense to you?

  9. Nikki–

    What you describe is very like what I call speaking in parentheses. You know the drill?

    “My brother lives on the East coast (Oh, you’re a dog person–he has two, one this little spitfire named – – she came with that name (I would have changed it– I consider pet-naming one of life’s guiltless pleasures)…”

    And so on. Once you finish the parenthesis you close it an move one step back toward your original topic.

    The main problem (in my experience) is that your listener doesn’t necessarily recognize them as parenthetical comments so returning to the original topic is a very bumpy ride.

    The ride in is smooth enough, but the trip out is frequently abandoned part way– allowed to die a (fairly) natural death.

    Is that similar to what you’re describing?

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