We Need To Talk

conversation

What a concept. In this day of uber technology, just good ol’ fashioned talking. Few of us are not connected to text, email, Facebook or Twitter — a lot.  (I admit, I’m guilty as charged) That ease of communication can be a double edged sword, though. It can be such an easy go-to that face-to-face talking is becoming the last, not first resort.

My kids, who are busy parents, really hate talking on the phone. In fact, two of the three will do almost anything to avoid answering a ringing phone yet they message with speed and ease. There’s really no talking on the phone to my older grandchildren either yet I can discover pretty much anything from their texts or Facebook timelines. And they are not alone. Studies show that 32% of people would rather text than talk to you. But, boy, don’t you miss the prehistoric days when people talked in real time?

While IM’ing is quick and responsive, it leaves a lot to be desired sometimes. All those nonverbal quirks that can sway a conversation are absent. We have no idea if a short answer is in context or abrupt, part of a larger, more expansive thought or protected in anger or fear of judgement. A simple smile, tear or smirk changes the temperature of the conversation. Your own thoughts are conveyed without benefit or warmth or meaning other than the stark letters on a screen.

Things go best when you pay close attention to what is being said and that’s a little difficult in text time. In email, we have a delete button which saves a lot of oops messaging, assuming we use it before pushing send. Yet, there’s still something to be said about face-to-face contact. It’s in that place that we learn, through each other’s facial expressions, posture and tone, who, we are.

Without communication, we are all together in this big world – alone. We can’t have our needs met without the help of others; nor can they. Sure, we can say that we walk and chew gum at the same time but can we really? I’m a pretty good multi-tasker and can pay bills, read the newspaper, text and watch tv at the same time but which of them am I doing well? Ah, good question. Continue reading

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