Do you ever have those moments where something pops into your head and you know you shouldn’t say it, but you do anyway?
How about when you want to say something specific, but the words you use to get your point across give off a different meaning? Or even when you are trying to joke with someone, but it comes out insulting? This would be what it is like to live life without a vocal filter. I feel like there are plenty of people that can relate to this issue.
I write this from personal experience because unfortunately, I am plagued with this curse myself. Most people would think I am a shy and timid person, which I guess to a certain extent is true, but those I am closest to would beg to differ. When I am comfortable around the people I am with, I am a talker and once I start it’s hard to get me to stop. This herein lies my problem.
You know how people say think before you speak? Well, that’s pretty good advice and you should take it. I never think before I speak and that’s how I end up in some awkward or tense situations. When a thought comes to mind, I have to say it, it’s like a compulsion. Most of the time I regret what I said the minute I said it, but other times I’m completely left in the dark as to what I said that was so wrong.
Like I said, living with this curse can leave you in some awkward or tense situations. I find myself more in the awkward situations than the tense ones, but I have been in both.
For instance, I have a lot of people in my family and close circle that have a dirty mind and sometimes, they take what I say sexually instead of the innocent comment it was meant to be. This is obviously a more awkward/comical situation as most people end up laughing and I just shake my head. I usually know what to say and what not to say in front of these people, but because of the lack of a vocal filter, it comes out anyway and I’m just left there shaking my head.
Now, let’s talk about some of the more tense situations. Have you ever called someone a name that was humorous, and you were just kidding with them, but they took it more to heart than as a joke? Well, I have found myself in this situation a few times and let me tell you, it is not fun to receive that ‘how could you’ face from someone you care about.
For example, an old coworker of mine, whom I was very close with, and I used to mess with each other all the time at work. It helped kill time and the customers always got a kick out of our playfulness. One day he was interacting with a kid and you could tell this kid was uncomfortable with talking to strangers as he gave my coworker the ‘I don’t know you, why are you talking to me?’ look and I had to laugh.
After the customers left, I made the comment that the kid looked at him like he was the creepy guy in the neighborhood. Now, I meant no harm with this statement, it was a joke, but my coworker took offense. However, being the kind-hearted person he was, he just told me it hurt him instead of like yelling at me or something. I never meant to hurt his feelings and of course, I apologized, but the whole situation could have been avoided if I had just kept my mouth shut and actually thought about what I was saying.
Hopefully, most of you only have moments where you don’t have a filter and don’t have to live with this curse, but I’m sure some of you have it like me where it happens all too often. For people like us, we must be extra careful with what we say and must remind ourselves to think about what we are about to say. Sometimes a misunderstanding can be the difference between a hardy laugh and the loss of a friendship.
So, if there is any advice I could offer you out of this, is to be mindful of others before you speak. Think about your audience because I cannot tell you how many times I have embarrassed myself at work by talking when customers are around.
I know this is hard to do, believe me, I still struggle to keep my mouth shut. Just think to yourself will this comment add to the conversation or disrupt it.
Sometimes things are just better left unsaid.