The secret to happiness in almost any relationship is knowing what not to say. Ask your new love about her old loves and you’ll learn more than you want to know, and hear things you’ll never be able to unhear. Start telling your teacher that your dog ate your homework while your grandma was being rushed to the hospital, and he’ll have even less patience with you than if you just say, “I blew it.”
One reason we’re advised to send only brief emails is that too much information gives the person at the other end much more to misinterpret — or to start chewing over at 3 a.m. The other is that if you send a long message, the person you’re writing to may feel compelled to send an equally long one back, and then it’s you who’s twisting and turning on what she meant by that “and” and why she never mentioned Steve.
Or why she never wrote back at all.
We have, of course, been aware of this danger since the beginning of time, and yet we’ve never been in a position to devour (or deliver) as much information as we are today, in the age of 24/7 news cycles and social media. We’ve never been so tempted, therefore, to forget that the pool of knowledge is limited; it’s the pool of ignorance, speculation and misunderstanding that is infinite.