I remember when people first started emailing and texting in lieu of picking up the phone and calling someone. The first time I saw my sister-in-law send an email to my brother about something instead of bringing it up in conversation, I was stunned. Why would anybody want to take the extra effort to key in letters and words and then correct everything when it’s so much easier to talk?
Even though I am now part of the texting/emailing/hardly-ever-picking-up-the-phone crowd, I still hate it. First of all, texting/emailing takes longer. Sometimes I find myself going back and forth via email trying to clarify something when a simple phone call would be so much more efficient. Secondly, messages get misconstrued. When we sent messages with text, it’s impossible to use tone of voice and body language to help communicate the subtleties of the language.
That’s exactly what I miss. I miss the warmth in my friends’ voices, the laughter we share about a funny story we heard, the humanity that connects us when we talk to one another, whether in person or over the phone. Talking enables us to exchange ideas, collaborate, and create together. Sending a lonely text out into the universe is a far cry from an enriching conversation that not only helps bring new ideas to the surface, but also serves to express support, reassurance, inspiration, and love.
Conversation is becoming a lost art especially among the younger generations. People are growing disenfranchised as a result and are forgetting how to interact with one other. Social niceties like saying good morning and smiling and greeting strangers as you pass them by are becoming things of the past. Remember eye contact and facial expressions and gentle reassuring touches? These elements of nonverbal communication are disappearing as fast as emojis and memes can replace them. Sorry, but a smiley face or a crying face or a mad face just doesn’t provide the same feedback as heart-to-heart communication.
So next time you start sending a text message or an email, do yourself a favor and pick up the phone. If your kids are constantly texting you, tell them to call you instead. You want to hear their voice anyway, don’t you? Let’s bring back the art of warm, human conversation and minimize our reliance on bits and bytes to convey our thoughts and feelings.
Even better make a date with a friend to meet for coffee—no phones allowed. Talk about your dreams and desires, the past and the future, and the challenges you face. When we take the time to reach out to people and simply talk to them, we show that we love and support them and care about their thoughts and feelings. Try doing that in an email.
I hope you find time for meaningful conversations this month, and don’t forget to put your toes in the sand at least once a week!
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