How we communicate and how we know

Most people come off differently depending on the medium of communication they’re using. But since face to face is the most common, we kind of assume that’s the real one. You don’t know someone, goes the common refrain, until you meet in person.

The trouble with this is that face to face can be deceiving. Faces, it turns out, don’t always tell the whole story. Maybe a painter shows a whole different side in his paintings. Maybe a musician plays a whole different side in her music. Maybe a writer shares a whole different side in his stories. Maybe a dancer reveals a whole different side in her dances.

And there are mediums of communication that go beyond what we typically count in that group. Chefs communicate through their dishes. Fathers communicate through their children. Women communicate through their clothes. Students communicate through their marks.

The list goes on and on until we realize, face to face is only one side. Each of the others tells a unique side of the story too, no less real than the others. We somehow know this, even though we often assume otherwise. In order to really know someone, we know we have to hear them speak through other mediums of communication. Because maybe the real person communicates best when they’re not in person.

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