Reading People’s Diaries

My friend recently told me that he snooped and read his girlfriend’s diary.  As you may expect, he found some stuff that upset him.

I told him that as someone who has done an insane amount of blogging/journaling, I can say this without hesitation….what is said in a journal/diary post is COMPLETELY different than what is said in a personal interaction with another person. Diaries and journals are not MEANT to be shared with other people…they are not communication with others, it is communication with your self…and a way to resolve and mange internal issues, emotions, and situations BEFORE you have the face-to-face interaction.

And the reason why people do that is because taking the time to reflect internally before responding is a FANTASTIC way to make sure you resolves your own issues before communicating with someone else.

In other words, having someone read your personal thoughts in a journal is to have that someone take those thoughts completely out of context. YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT SHE WAS THINKING WHEN SHE WROTE THAT. And, if she didn’t communicate that TO you, it probably means that she resolved it internally and didn’t NEED to communicate that to you.

So, for you to snoop on her private thoughts is for you to take raw thoughts out of context. This is why snooping is usually a terrible idea. Because you don’t know the context of those thoughts and/or how those thoughts were resolved.

My friend is upset because what she wrote in her journal seems to have blown everything out of proportion.

That is exactly what a lot of people do. This is the problem with text. Unless you’re talking to the person directly its nearly impossible to correctly translate the inference and context of what’s written. You can’t “hear” if someone is genuinely hurt, or sarcastic. There’s subtext in HOW we say what we say, and half the time what we SAY (or write) isn’t the best most accurate way to translate how we actually feel. When you say it TO the person, and they don’t understand, they have an immediate opportunity to ask for clarification. The speaker, then has the ability to change direction and modify their words in an effort to be better understood. And that change in direction could be all one needs to really SEE what the other person means. And it could be completely different than how it originally sounded. But in sneakily reading her private thoughts you’re jumping to conclusions based on what she didn’t say, and taking your own meaning from the scant selection of words she chose. Which, for all you know, she was in the heat of the moment, venting to herself and perhaps if asked about the incident today, might feel entirely different than her words on the day of the event. We all find clarity after a moment has cooled and we have time to process.