I’m having a chat with a friend of mine on Facebook (other social networks are available). I notice that their sentences are short, devoid of the flowing grandeur and variation of longer ones. Their words seem carefully regulated at first, giving nothing away and perhaps signifying that they are holding something back. Naturally, as I would be with any of my friends, I’m concerned, and convinced that something is lurking below their surface, something they might be bottling up. I take the plunge, and enquire as to why such a usually animated friend is being so succinct. As I’m awaiting the reply, I wonder whether I might have inadvertently crossed a boundary of some kind. I’m never going to criticise their speech, as they are just as cheerful, polite and invested in the conversation as always, but I don’t want to offend and I’m worried that this question might count as a personal one.
When the reply came, it turned out that I needn’t have worried, as my friend is simply “more chilled out”. This revelation is one that was intriguing, but also incredibly warming and uplifting. The fact that my friend was quite this chilled was reassuring, as such short but confident responses must be symbolic of a life where everything is going as it should. Somehow, I was also reading each message in a certain tone – a soft, contented one, and one that the smiley faces at the end of each sentence did well to amplify and boost me with. They felt chilled, and so did I. If I’m honest, brief sentences can annoy me because, more often than not, they convey a lack of interest from the person I’m talking to. Not in this case, however, because every ounce of my friend’s magnificent personality was still there, just in fewer words, and I didn’t mind at all. It’s not often in my nature to be quite as brief, but maybe there’s a lesson to be learned for others who want to feel as chilled. If you inject the same care and consideration into five words as you might do into a thousand, you could reach that state of calm sooner rather than later. Especially if you include a smiley face. 🙂