Thoughtful Thursday: Jekyll and Hyde

May 5, 2011

Thoughtful Thursday

Bienvenidos a la Intelligentsia de mayo, la gente que comentó respecto a cada poste de Thoughtful Thursday post en abril.

#19: Elana from Elana’s Musings
#18: Lost In Translation from We Say IVF, They Say FIV
#16: A from Are You Kidding Me?
#14: Jill from All Aboard the Pity Boat
#11: Strongblonde from Strong Blonde
#3: Tara from Turkey In My Oven

And “new” member St. Elsewhere.

Thoughtful ThursdayI just got my hair trimmed. I’ve been to that hairdresser once before. In fact, she was recommended by my acupuncturist; she’s another longtime infertile. Aside from the IF kindred spirit thing, she’s wonderfully warm and sweet — when you’re in the shop. When you call to make or change an appointment, it’s another story. In each of the phone calls I’ve ever had with her, she’s been impatient and verging on rude. After I made this most recent appointment, I decided that I wouldn’t go back to her again; then I saw her in person and totally she won me over. If I didn’t have to call to make the appointments, I’d gladly have her cut my hair forever.

She’s not the only person I know with dual personalities in different media. I used to work very closely with a guy who is a delight. Funny, fascinating, kind — when you’re in the office with him. On email, he’s brusque, cold, and humorless. Too bad that most of our contact now occurs via email.

Not all Jekyll and Hyde types are better in person. My old boss is awkward, closed off, and borderline robotic. In email, she’s effusive and occasionally over-the-top. “YEAHHHH!!!!”

Personally I think I mostly am who I am, except that I probably come across best in writing and worst on the phone. It’s no coincidence that if I’m not talking to someone face to face, I communicate via writing most of the time and almost never talk on the phone.

In your life, are there any Jekyll and Hyde characters based on the medium? Are you a totally different person depending on the medium?


12 Responses to “Thoughtful Thursday: Jekyll and Hyde”

  1. St. Elsewhere Says:


    I don’t think I am a totally different person depending on the medium. Although, I do take advantage of the written medium in the way, that I will ponder and consider what I am sending before doing so, sometimes tuning down my language or increasing the emphasis,but I wont be warmer or colder in the written word than when face to face with someone.

    I might have encountered Jekyll and Hyde characters here and there, but can’t seem to recall it as of this moment. I did however see such a softie spot in this person recently, that it took me completely away from the general impression I have of her. This woman is the one who owns the boutique from where I buy clothes, and get my clothes stitched/altered. She is very irritating in the sense that while you are discussing what to do with what dress material she will constantly hanker you with how I should also buy X, Y and Z clothes too…she is always selling! And this is the same woman who consoled me beautifully after she came to know about the baby’s loss. She shared about her own loss, and how it affected her and what she thought of it and how she dealt with it. I had never met THAT woman before. What she said was one of the most respectful way of dealing with a baby’s loss and so contrary to ‘God will give you more’.

  2. St. Elsewhere Says:

    Does the comfort level with technology and our perception of how personal/impersonal it is also change the way we use the medium?

    An aunt sends the best cards, but her mails are very to the point. She finds emails very impersonal and is hugely into sending greeting cards.

  3. Elana Kahn Says:

    I try not to be different people in different media, but sometimes it’s easier for me to say something via email or letter rather than face to face or on the phone just because it’s so impersonal. So I can really let the person know my true feelings much easier, since I don’t need to see or hear their reaction straight away. But I don’t really think I know of anyone who’s completely different on different medias.

  4. Kristin Says:

    I don’t think I know anyone who exhibits such a Jekyll and Hyde thing. I think I tend to be very similar across all types of interaction.

  5. “I probably come across best in writing and worst on the phone.” I could have written that!! I do prefer communicating via writing (email mostly), but I have to remind myself every now and then that certain issues need to be dealt with face to face, or, if that’s not possible, over the phone, because email lacks nuances that are sometimes very very necessary.

    I’ve encountered some Jekyll and Hyde behavior with a few French shopkeepers who were incredibly rude to me when we just moved here (up to the point that I avoided going there) and now, almost six years later, think I have a charming accent and are very nice with me, and sometimes even crack a joke (with me, not on my behalf) or share a gossip.

  6. Tara (TIMO) Says:

    I tend to be long-winded on my blog and if I’m friends with you. In my family we changed the saying to say “telling a short story long”. But in public/social situations where I’m new or it’s a brief encounter, I am quiet and reserved and shy. I hate interacting with strangers and am horrible at small talk. Haircuts and the dentist are particularly uncomfortable.

    I can’t really think of any Jekyll and Hyde characters in my life.

  7. Gil Says:

    I know that initially, I’m a little more shy in person; that doesn’t ever last long though.


    There is one particular aspect of my personality and a really BIG part of my life that I RARELY speak about. It’s something none of my family and very few friends know about. And on the extremely rare occasion that people do find out, they’re completely shocked that my personality comprises this peculiarity. Some have subsequently shunned me for it, others have embraced it. But it doesn’t matter; I am still the same person they knew before. They just learned something new that they didn’t realize. I find that it’s an interesting study on the human psyche to watch their reactions. 🙂

  8. strongblonde Says:

    i *hate* talking on the phone. which is funny because when i was a teenager i could have won an olympic medal for talking on the phone!! i definitely prefer to email or do things over the internet. sometimes it is so pronounced that i will only order food if i can place the order online. or i will only go to a restaurant if i can make the reservation on open table. having said that, though, i don’t think i’m different based on the medium….it’s just what i’m most comfortable with.

    as far as contact with this type of person? i immediately think of my dissertation chair. her emails would make me think that i needed to just quit the program, then i would show up for our meetings and it would seem like she never wrote it. i wonder if that’s common with that type of relationship? or maybe just that particular woman?

    and, for the record, i HATE scheduling my hair cuts! i have not had my hair cut in 5 months! lol.

  9. a Says:

    I hardly ever use the phone. I have nothing to chat about. Ever. I’m completely useless on the phone. In person, I can sometimes chat, but I’m still fairly awkward. I do OK in writing, but find a way to be awkward there too.

    I’ve encountered one or two people who turned out to be something other than what I thought they were, but that was all my perception. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered anyone like your hairstylist though.

  10. jjiraffe Says:

    Interesting point. I am AWFUL on the phone. I actively avoid talking on the phone. I love texting, emailing or talking in person. But on the phone I am dull, stressed and cranky. Like strongblonde, I remember in my teens it was much different: I would spend HOURS on the phone discussing minutea. Like hairstyles or shoes. Or boys. Mostly boys, actually.

    Maybe a lot of people suck on the phone now because of our “advances in telecommunication”. Teens only text now.

  11. Photogrl Says:

    I surprised, and somewhat happy, to see that many people feel that they are awful on the phone!

    That would be my Jekyll to my Hyde…phone conversations. I am NOT the same person on the phone, except to my very, very close friends.

    As for Jekyll & Hyde in real life, my former boss is very much like that with emails vs. in person. I never knew which “version” of him to believe.

  12. jill Says:

    I’ve definitely noticed this at work with email and phone/in person communication. The written word is so easy to misinterpret. My clients could seem extremely rude over email but be very nice in person. This is probably due somewhat to many people having horrible email etiquette. I think my own tendencies are to be short/blunt with people over email but to be more patient over the phone/in person, and that I’m very similar via phone or face to face.

    My husband is a different story. He hates the phone. We were never ones to spend hours on the phone back in our getting-to-know-you period and that was because of him. If I had to guess how he felt about me through phone communication only, we wouldn’t be married!

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