My partner recently went on a business trip to China, during which he spent time really connecting with the clients he met and enjoyed sharing in this with me via WhatsApp,with regular updates on his day and the things he’d done and beautiful places he’d visited. I felt really connected to him. Yet, on his return I found our communication skills lacking and somewhat despondent and disconnected.
Society is so focused on quick updates, quick texts here, updates via social media and it makes me ask are our relationships becoming somewhat superficial? Are we forgetting how to communicate with our friends, family, partners on a deeper level? We become so focused on “quick snip” connections that we forget how to meet with the people we supposedly love. When this starts to happen, especially in friendships; Is it worth the energy? When one is disconnected because they have to have the next social update, or are glued to their phone and the other is desperate to connect below the surface, is it time to admit defeat?
Image sourced from:thethingswesay.com
A prime example of this in my life (as I can only speak from my own experiences), was giving Facebook up for lent. In the forty days I waved goodbye to social media, I’d had messages from 2 long-lost friends (one upside to social media), missed an invite to my friends hen party and missed the fact someone I knew fairly closely had indeed had her baby!
Some of you out there might say, it’s great for knowing what people are doing all the time but, I wonder how many of those friendship would you even want to pursue if you went back to the art of calling people and arranging to see them face-to-face.
I have found that I arrange to see certain friends and within 5 minutes of being with them their phones are out on the table and they are texting, Facebooking, instagraming or whatever it may be. Internally I groan and think to myself, why do I bother to take the time to connect with you, when you are not interested in stepping away from the phone to afford me 1 hour of your undivided attention. What that says to me is I am not that important to them.
In some of these friendships I have chosen the leave route. There are times in your life that you simply have to say enough is enough.
I am guilty of this too. Often my mother will be talking to me and I’m busy texting mid-sentence or pinning away on pinterest. We barely look up and go deeper, looking at people when they are talking to you, shows you are fully engaged in the conversation. Telling them they are important to you.
Recently, I’ve begun leaving my phone at home when I’m going to social gatherings and taking my – old school – Filofax, incase any dates need to be written down. Thus, removing the element of feeling like I’m missing out on something. We are missing out. We are missing out on creating moments with the people sat right in front of us. We are missing the quirky laugh they have when watching a comedy together, we are missing the way their smile can melt a frozen ocean, we are missing out on connecting with the people we love.
So, a challenge for myself and you if you so wish, Switch off technology, ring people and learn to talk on the telephone again. Arrange to see the people you love face-to-face and when you do, don’t be on the phone urgent to know what the latest Facebook update is or who posted on twitter. Put the phone down and away and only reach for it in an emergency.
Re-Learn the art of communication and you might just stop feeling disconnected from those around you. You might stop feeling lonely when you only have your computer or phone screen for company. That’s not true connection. Put it away and GO DEEPER.
(quote from etsy.com image via pinterest)