How to "pry" without being offensive?!!

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Krumbeard

Well-known member
Apr 15, 2019
487
431
63
#1
Okay, I hope that got your attention! That was the point!

What I am wondering is as I talk to others, and I will say especially in text format, such as PM, text messages, forums, or email, do you ever feel hindered by the lack of "other" forms of communication such as facial/bodily expressions or gestures, tone of voice, inflection and things like that? I know that we have emojis and all that but it is still lacking greatly in my opinion.

Now this "flat" form of communication can be very different if you already know someone in person and you keep in touch this way because of distance and convenience. I have some very close friends relationally but distant physically. They live in Louisiana and I live in PA. So I do get to see them several times a year maybe, but we "talk" regularly through text. Since we know each other and our personalities and beliefs and have spent a lot of time together in person I can tell them something without explaining or emoji-ing what I mean and what context and they get it.

So as I have had the privilege of getting to know others online in the last several months, I find it difficult to ask deep questions without thinking that I will offend or asking about things that might be off limits. Even if they have said that I can ask I still find it hard.

I seem to be a person that isn't too good with chit chat with people. I tend to take a conversation to a deeper level if it lends to that. If not...I run out of words. It is interesting to me to see how others think and cope with difficult circumstances in their lives. So that makes me want to ask more questions often getting deeper and more personal. Then I worry about being offensive or creepy or weird.

Also, I try to be open with them also. I have found in talking to other guys, that if I am open and honest about where I have struggled with and what I think about porn, that they will begin to feel safe and open up and talk about things too.

So I do try to share as they ask also. But there are boundaries. And they are different for different people.

I guess I am thinking out loud or in text. I guess I need to listen to them and trust that they will tell me if I have asked or said something that is out of line. I also don't think I "talk" inappropriately. I'm not into flirting, but in my mind that is fluid depending on what I think or how I view the other person.

when I was a teen I used to hang out a lot with my cousin and her cousin. the three of us would go do things together. A couple of years ago this friend (cousin's cousin) heard about things in my life and emailed me. We emailed a few times. She was sympathetic of the children as she went through the same thing as a child. But one of the last emails she sent the tone changed. I felt that and put a stop to it. In hindsight it was something that I should not have been doing. She is married. We exchanged nothing inappropriate but I got to see how things could easily go bad if I would have continued. that was a case where I knew her and could sense the "tone' of the email change.

Does anyone else understand what I am saying? Many of you have been here for a long time! How do you think about "knowing" someone online?
 
I

IFOLLOWHIM

Guest
#2
I had a long reply ready to post and this bar at the bottom took me some where else,uuuuuug( I'm on a tablet). I hear and know what you are saying.
I post most of my life in these forums where it is applicable,open book here!
Jesus knows all!
But yes it is hard to know how folks mean the hidden they are saying!
It is Good that you can tell when " the tone " in what is said changes.
Just be a friend,people want someone to talk to about their life ,the deep things, not just the " fluff".
I just try to encourage and uplift,and avoid the arrogant,bullying,controversial ones!
 

cinder

Senior Member
Mar 26, 2014
3,409
1,462
113
#3
I think one of the hallmarks of knowing people online is seeing how they respond to disagreements and misinterpreation. And generally I say the good ones are open and seek too clairify what's being said before reacting to it; and the not so good runs start running away with their assumptions and things escalate. All too often things get blown out of proportion over "what you think you said with the words you said is not what I heard you say with the words you said" (well in this case wrote).

I also think that online interaction tends to allow people to get to know another person's interior thoughts and perspectives much better than their day to day how they live their lives. So it's easy to do something like meet a guy and have really good conversations with him online, but then end up with a rude awakening when you find out that he spends x hours a day watching sports, or violent action movies, or pretty much anything else that isn't part of your life and you don't particularly like.

The flip side of that is that I've found online interaction is likely to make you less compassionate and understanding of people's pain and the stressors you don't see. It's harder to have the awareness of how much the stress of caregiving, constant physical pain, or a difficult home situation are affecting one of your online friends and therefore much easier to pass judgement on them as someone who is just grouchy or short tempered or always negative and should work on their personal issues, when many of us wouldn't be half as decent of people if placed in the same situation.

As for getting more personal with people (both online and in real life), I've adopted the strategy of asking " Can / Should I ask ......" which gives the other person a bit more permission to say don't ask or I don't want to talk about it. And if they don't want to talk about it I let it drop for a while. I'm not bothered by people with a hair trigger getting offended at me because some people just need something to be offended at or complain about and that's not my problem; but I try to be respectful and afford people the same courtesy of being able to say "nope it's not your business and we're not going to talk about it" that I want people to afford me.
 
I

IFOLLOWHIM

Guest
#4
Also KNOWING someone really must be held in a one to one face off,I think!
We all project certain images( mostly the better part ) of what we want folks to believe about us.
I love words,but have found through dating sites,they are JUST words!
It takes the meet to see how a person really is!
 

Ghoti2

Well-known member
Nov 8, 2019
469
281
63
#5
Three choices...
Ask them, right out,
Wait for them to offer something,
or just be silent.
 

17Bees

Senior Member
Oct 14, 2016
970
558
93
#6
One reason a court hardly ever accepts a written affidavit without a personal appearance is #1 - an inability to cross examine and #2 - and maybe most important is an inability to understand communicative inflection. Say for instance a suspect to a murder is interviewed by police and the interviewer wrote that the suspect said "I murdered the guy" when in fact the police accused the suspect of murdering the guy and the suspect responded "I murdered the guy?" Same response meaning two completely different things.

So I think the written word can be construed in different ways or even opposite ways merely by leaving out a comma or question mark or a misspelling or even an inability to fully communicate one's thoughts. On the other hand, after reading many posts or letters/emails from the same person, I think you can begin to understand what they probably mean even if their wording doesn't fully make it clear.

Now - "tones" are a little different still. What is the tone of your written word? That is entirely interpretive and an even more confusing. Say you wrote to someone you love him or her. There's 8 ways to Sunday this can be interpreted and without going into the Agape, Eros, Philia lecture (I don't need that kind of sleep) you're probably not going to explain yourself appropriately. Same with implying that you have feelings for someone. What kind of feelings? Romantic? Brotherly? Nausea?

Any form of communication is going to be a little hazardous, but writing it is forever.
 

Lanolin

Well-known member
Dec 15, 2018
7,642
2,754
113
#7
I understand a little of your dilemma but its only what people are willing to share.

Yes sometimes if you too honest about some things people dont like it. Thats why people often say THE STRUGGLE IS REAL. Dont dismiss it just because youve never experienced it. Stuff happens. Most Christians live in the real world too not all of us can be like the amish and close ourselves off and make our own closed and gated community. That means we are vulnerable to temptations. And we need to know what to do or pray so that those temptations leave us.

If we arent open to confessing anything then God cant forgive us, simple as that.

There needs to be a lot more deliverance ministry happening I reckon.

In terms of email or writing, its a form of communication and yes there does need to be some guidleines about it. Its often misunderstood because people arent actually reading they may be only skimming and missing what people write. Online it can be much harder because of the scrolling up and down.

If someone had a personal issue they wanted to share its far better they write it all down than talk about it!
Writing it down means you get that off your chest and you dont need to pay a shrink. I really dont think its helpful for peoole to dismiss other peoples struggles just cos they might not have the time to read it. Someone out there will. And God will. The act of writing is also therapeutic. Think how hard it was for the gospel writers to talk about the crucifixtion. They need it written down as testimony to what hapoened after. If you dont record it, people can actually say, oh it never happened.
 

Lanolin

Well-known member
Dec 15, 2018
7,642
2,754
113
#8
Immagining if the gospel writers were around the today and nobody believed them and told them what that happened to Jesus? You saw miracles? You are crazy, go See a therapist, you need help. .
 

Krumbeard

Well-known member
Apr 15, 2019
487
431
63
#9
Also KNOWING someone really must be held in a one to one face off,I think!
We all project certain images( mostly the better part ) of what we want folks to believe about us.
I love words,but have found through dating sites,they are JUST words!
It takes the meet to see how a person really is!
I haven't used a dating site, other than a couple weeks on a free app to see what it was about, but if I did, I don't think I would want to drag online communication out for a long period of time. It would make sense to me to meet when we both feel comfortable and get a better idea of who each other is.
Thanks.
 

Butterflyyy

Well-known member
Oct 31, 2019
1,021
874
113
#10
Three choices...
Ask them, right out,
Wait for them to offer something,
or just be silent.
I would say, be led... by the Spirit... what to say and what not to say, if you are unsure
 

Krumbeard

Well-known member
Apr 15, 2019
487
431
63
#11
I think one of the hallmarks of knowing people online is seeing how they respond to disagreements and misinterpreation. And generally I say the good ones are open and seek too clairify what's being said before reacting to it; and the not so good runs start running away with their assumptions and things escalate. All too often things get blown out of proportion over "what you think you said with the words you said is not what I heard you say with the words you said" (well in this case wrote).

I also think that online interaction tends to allow people to get to know another person's interior thoughts and perspectives much better than their day to day how they live their lives. So it's easy to do something like meet a guy and have really good conversations with him online, but then end up with a rude awakening when you find out that he spends x hours a day watching sports, or violent action movies, or pretty much anything else that isn't part of your life and you don't particularly like.

The flip side of that is that I've found online interaction is likely to make you less compassionate and understanding of people's pain and the stressors you don't see. It's harder to have the awareness of how much the stress of caregiving, constant physical pain, or a difficult home situation are affecting one of your online friends and therefore much easier to pass judgement on them as someone who is just grouchy or short tempered or always negative and should work on their personal issues, when many of us wouldn't be half as decent of people if placed in the same situation.

As for getting more personal with people (both online and in real life), I've adopted the strategy of asking " Can / Should I ask ......" which gives the other person a bit more permission to say don't ask or I don't want to talk about it. And if they don't want to talk about it I let it drop for a while. I'm not bothered by people with a hair trigger getting offended at me because some people just need something to be offended at or complain about and that's not my problem; but I try to be respectful and afford people the same courtesy of being able to say "nope it's not your business and we're not going to talk about it" that I want people to afford me.
As I read this, it made me think of the Matrix. I haven't actually had that many conversations with people the have opposing views than me or very differing. But I always hoped that I could go into something like that be willing to ask questions share my side if they wanted but try not to get angry, even if they attack me. Since I haven't had too many times for this...I don't think...this is how I would want to be. That's what made me think of the Matrix. When they say about this is a digital projection of your mental self. Pretty sure I butchered that but if you are familiar with the movie you know what I mean.

There have been times on here that I did not say very clearly what I was intending and didn't realize it till some time later. I didn't bother clarifying after that since it was past and maybe forgotten.

As I think about this, I have been told some very hurtful things from my brother, through text, and I remember shaking with anger and ready to slam him with some mean replies. I asked God to help me stay calm and then answered more rationally. I am glad I didn't explode back at him. It wouldn't have helped a bit.

Thanks for your thoughts.
 

Butterflyyy

Well-known member
Oct 31, 2019
1,021
874
113
#12
Okay, I hope that got your attention! That was the point!

What I am wondering is as I talk to others, and I will say especially in text format, such as PM, text messages, forums, or email, do you ever feel hindered by the lack of "other" forms of communication such as facial/bodily expressions or gestures, tone of voice, inflection and things like that? I know that we have emojis and all that but it is still lacking greatly in my opinion.

Now this "flat" form of communication can be very different if you already know someone in person and you keep in touch this way because of distance and convenience. I have some very close friends relationally but distant physically. They live in Louisiana and I live in PA. So I do get to see them several times a year maybe, but we "talk" regularly through text. Since we know each other and our personalities and beliefs and have spent a lot of time together in person I can tell them something without explaining or emoji-ing what I mean and what context and they get it.

So as I have had the privilege of getting to know others online in the last several months, I find it difficult to ask deep questions without thinking that I will offend or asking about things that might be off limits. Even if they have said that I can ask I still find it hard.

I seem to be a person that isn't too good with chit chat with people. I tend to take a conversation to a deeper level if it lends to that. If not...I run out of words. It is interesting to me to see how others think and cope with difficult circumstances in their lives. So that makes me want to ask more questions often getting deeper and more personal. Then I worry about being offensive or creepy or weird.

Also, I try to be open with them also. I have found in talking to other guys, that if I am open and honest about where I have struggled with and what I think about porn, that they will begin to feel safe and open up and talk about things too.

So I do try to share as they ask also. But there are boundaries. And they are different for different people.

I guess I am thinking out loud or in text. I guess I need to listen to them and trust that they will tell me if I have asked or said something that is out of line. I also don't think I "talk" inappropriately. I'm not into flirting, but in my mind that is fluid depending on what I think or how I view the other person.

when I was a teen I used to hang out a lot with my cousin and her cousin. the three of us would go do things together. A couple of years ago this friend (cousin's cousin) heard about things in my life and emailed me. We emailed a few times. She was sympathetic of the children as she went through the same thing as a child. But one of the last emails she sent the tone changed. I felt that and put a stop to it. In hindsight it was something that I should not have been doing. She is married. We exchanged nothing inappropriate but I got to see how things could easily go bad if I would have continued. that was a case where I knew her and could sense the "tone' of the email change.

Does anyone else understand what I am saying? Many of you have been here for a long time! How do you think about "knowing" someone online?
I think it's wise to proceed with caution, and continue to discern like you did with the woman you mentioned, and flee from it like Joseph did. I have found it to be very easy to be lured by weak Christians who portrayed themselves as mature.... I think it's easy to stumble into sin on-line and the Bible tells us to beware we stand lest we fall.
I also think it's wise to discuss weak areas like you mentioned, with other men and not women...and it says to confess our sins to one another, which I said good especially if it's to someone who will pray with you. We have an enemy roaming around seeking whom he may devour... we are told to be vigilant...
As for what you should or shouldn't ask-I reckon the best way is to keep your heart accountable to God and be led by Him what to ask or not ask... those that are led by the Spirit of God they are the sons of God.
God bless🙂
 

Dino246

Senior Member
Jun 30, 2015
14,481
7,798
113
#13
Okay, I hope that got your attention! That was the point!

What I am wondering is as I talk to others, and I will say especially in text format, such as PM, text messages, forums, or email, do you ever feel hindered by the lack of "other" forms of communication such as facial/bodily expressions or gestures, tone of voice, inflection and things like that? I know that we have emojis and all that but it is still lacking greatly in my opinion.

Now this "flat" form of communication can be very different if you already know someone in person and you keep in touch this way because of distance and convenience. I have some very close friends relationally but distant physically. They live in Louisiana and I live in PA. So I do get to see them several times a year maybe, but we "talk" regularly through text. Since we know each other and our personalities and beliefs and have spent a lot of time together in person I can tell them something without explaining or emoji-ing what I mean and what context and they get it.

So as I have had the privilege of getting to know others online in the last several months, I find it difficult to ask deep questions without thinking that I will offend or asking about things that might be off limits. Even if they have said that I can ask I still find it hard.

I seem to be a person that isn't too good with chit chat with people. I tend to take a conversation to a deeper level if it lends to that. If not...I run out of words. It is interesting to me to see how others think and cope with difficult circumstances in their lives. So that makes me want to ask more questions often getting deeper and more personal. Then I worry about being offensive or creepy or weird.

Also, I try to be open with them also. I have found in talking to other guys, that if I am open and honest about where I have struggled with and what I think about porn, that they will begin to feel safe and open up and talk about things too.

So I do try to share as they ask also. But there are boundaries. And they are different for different people.

I guess I am thinking out loud or in text. I guess I need to listen to them and trust that they will tell me if I have asked or said something that is out of line. I also don't think I "talk" inappropriately. I'm not into flirting, but in my mind that is fluid depending on what I think or how I view the other person.

when I was a teen I used to hang out a lot with my cousin and her cousin. the three of us would go do things together. A couple of years ago this friend (cousin's cousin) heard about things in my life and emailed me. We emailed a few times. She was sympathetic of the children as she went through the same thing as a child. But one of the last emails she sent the tone changed. I felt that and put a stop to it. In hindsight it was something that I should not have been doing. She is married. We exchanged nothing inappropriate but I got to see how things could easily go bad if I would have continued. that was a case where I knew her and could sense the "tone' of the email change.

Does anyone else understand what I am saying? Many of you have been here for a long time! How do you think about "knowing" someone online?
I find your questions far too personal.


:LOL:
 

Dino246

Senior Member
Jun 30, 2015
14,481
7,798
113
#14
I think it's very difficult to get to know someone through texting alone. There is just too much missing from the conversation. Talking by phone is better, simply because you can interact much more quickly, and you can pick up vocal cues. Video chats are another step up, but nothing beats face-to-face between two people who want to communicate with each other.

Take the person at their word. If they say they are straightforward, believe them. If they express hesitation, give them space. When you are wanting to go farther, I think it's alright to give a brief preface such as, "I would like to get to know you better, and smalltalk isn't helping me with that. Are you open to that?" and then perhaps "If I ask a question that makes you uncomfortable, feel free to pass."

Then begin the interrog deeper interaction. :)
 

Mel85

Daughter of the True King
Mar 28, 2018
10,386
6,445
113
#15
I think it's very difficult to get to know someone through texting alone. There is just too much missing from the conversation. Talking by phone is better, simply because you can interact much more quickly, and you can pick up vocal cues. Video chats are another step up, but nothing beats face-to-face between two people who want to communicate with each other.

Take the person at their word. If they say they are straightforward, believe them. If they express hesitation, give them space. When you are wanting to go farther, I think it's alright to give a brief preface such as, "I would like to get to know you better, and smalltalk isn't helping me with that. Are you open to that?" and then perhaps "If I ask a question that makes you uncomfortable, feel free to pass."

Then begin the interrog deeper interaction. :)
 

laughingheart

Senior Member
Sep 21, 2016
1,594
1,488
113
#16
Emails are such a difficult way to communicate. Everything the other person reads is filtered through their own experiences. One of my favourite quotes is "People do not see you as you are. They see you as they are." I think this applies to how others interpret your words. In social work we were told that only 38% of communication is verbal. Even verbal has the cues of tone, volume and manner. Without those you are a bit hampered. Think of when you ask someone how they are doing and they say they are fine. Depending on how it is said it means really different things. Also even a short answer can mean upset, tired, in pain, distracted or you are in big trouble.
I think when you are writing to someone you need to take extra time and effort to clarify what you are saying and how you are saying it. Take time to clarify that the message you are sending is the same one they are receiving.
It may seem awkward but if it is a personal question, make sure you explain your reasons for asking, your motives, your caring, your acceptance and your appreciation for who they are.

(For writing to the unmarried woman or male friend):You might say something like, "I notice you have been a little quiet lately and I wanted to make sure that things are going all right in your world (This keeps them from being on the defensive otherwise they might hear "I am unhappy with you for not meeting my needs"). I know that when I get quiet it is because life is tough. Sometimes I just need alone time or I'm not feeling well but I just want you to know that I'm thinking of you. (Give examples from your own life to explain why quiet may alert you to possible issues). "

(If emailing with a married female friend)
In the case of tone changing with a married person I would redirect things to saying, "Well that is a tough situation. What does (spouse's name) say about that? Sounds like you two need to talk about that. He may have some good insight. I am sure you two can do this. I will pray for God to give you both wisdom." Basically I'd address her in terms of being part of a couple. I would also not have comments about thinking of them. I also would limit online relationships with married people of the opposite sex. It could have them seeking a connection with you that needs to happen with their spouse.
I could go on (and it looks like I already have) but these are ways to help deal with the inadequacy of online communication. Like Dino said, nothing beats face to face for communication. Good luck and all the best.
 

Lanolin

Well-known member
Dec 15, 2018
7,642
2,754
113
#17
Yea I dont like it when men use email for personal reasons or txts that require lots of responidng to, email and txts are more for short messages like checking if you are free or not.

I wouldnt use email for conversation thats a bit silly. You dont just email someone and say how are you like you talking on the phone, or not put any subject in the subject line. I hate when people do that so you have idea what its about, or they just give you a random link.

If you want to write your life history, maybe do so in a blog or something. An email can be fwded to anyone else its not private. And most couples have just one email address for the household which they share. So dont just write stuff you dont want shared...anyone can read it.
 

Subhumanoidal

Well-known member
Sep 17, 2018
2,004
1,637
113
#18
As one whose primary communication has been online for 10 years now, and tends to be aware and observant about such things, I'll share what I've learned through My experiences.

I believe in being open and honest with people. And as you've learned yourself, doing so tends to open others up as well.
So if you're known as this kind of person people are less likely to be offended by questions. They may have reasons they won't want to discuss them, but it's actually pretty rare I've offended people in personal chats with my questions.
Think of it as many people actually want to vent or share things going on, but feel reluctant to. Perhaps because nobody ever asks. By you being the person that asks you may actually do them a favor by giving them that opportunity.
Even if they don't want to, chances are they'll just let you know. How you treat them will affect how they respond. So be interested and ask. That's my advice.

I have the advantage of being able to read people well, through online platforms, as we get to know each other. It's a matter of listening and learning.
 

Lynx

Folksy yet erudite
Aug 13, 2014
15,981
3,503
113
#19
Answering the OP instead of the thread title...



Sometimes an impulsive cross-country journey at 2:00am is the only solution.
 

Lynx

Folksy yet erudite
Aug 13, 2014
15,981
3,503
113
#20
Of course if you misinterpret what I say in this forum, it is YOUR fault. I know what I'm saying makes perfect sense. :p



"But there are seven billion people in the world! I can't possibly stop to consider how ALL of them might interpret something!"

"Ah, yes, there's no middle ground between 'taking personal responsibility for the thoughts and feelings of every single person on Earth' and 'covering your eyes and ears and yelling logically correct statements into the void.' That's a very insightful point and not at all inane."