Thursday, 24 February 2011

Speak to You Soon

Today I:
- Spoke to a friend on the phone for an hour.
- Had a friend over for an hour.
- Emailed a friend who lives overseas.
- Emailed a client.
- Spoke to 7 different people at school drop off and pickup.
- Spoke to Andrew before work and on the phone.
- Talked to my children and a few friends children.
- Had a five minute chat with my neighbor.
- Commented on 6 status updates on Facebook.
- Texted a client and a friend.
- Read 5 friends and 6 strangers tweets.

With all of that communication you would think I'd feel like I had a social day.
The truth is that these days, with all these ways of communicating I think we actually say less. Or at least what we say has less substance The phone call was interrupted a dozen times on both ends by kids wanting something. The visit was the same. The text messages were just a way of touching base while I made lunch. As were the emails. The Facebook was my lighthearted way of saying to those people, I hear you but don't have the time, energy and/or inclination to actually call you or (god forbid) get into my car and drive to see you. And Twitter was my way of trying to stay in the loop without actually doing much.
These days I feel like we communicate all the time but, be it inclination or ability, we actually don't connect with each other much.
How many people did you talk today? Did you actually have a real conversation? You know one where you sat still and gave what they were saying 100% of your attention. Or did you (like me) only give the activity 1/2 of your attention, or less? With all these ways of communication are we actually loosing the art of communication?
For me, I blame it on the kids and my ability to find the time to truly spend time listening and conversing with others. I so rarely have the time away from my children that it seems wasteful not to use it productively. But its not only the kids, its the importance I put on that connection. Why do we not see connecting with other as productive enough?
Last night I received and sent text messages that were pages long, I could have said more in the same time if I had of called but I would have had to have given the person more of my attention than I was willing to give and I'm sure she felt the same.
In our own way most of us are crying out for two things connection and space. The availability of texting, Facebook and emails etc make us feel like we can almost do them at the same time. In reality we are doing a half-assed job at both.
My challenge to you (and myself) is to find time to really connect and communicate with someone this week. To talk face to face, or if you have to by phone, and give it 100% of your attention. Don't fold washing, or make sandwiches, or keep wondering what else you should be doing whilst trying to let the other person feel heard.
And if you are one of the people I spoke to today, I know you were all doing the same thing as you too had children and dinners, work and deadline to think about. And I truly understand. But I feel a bit sad for us and for the direction it feels the majority of the world is heading in and wonder, with all these ways of communicating will our kids actually learn how to really talk?
Watching - Big Bangs new ep.
Listening - Random radio hits.
Reading - Nothing, finished Sandman and haven't started anything else.
State of mind - A little bit preachy apparently. :)

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