We have so many ways to communicate in the world. Video conferencing, computer chat, multiple phone devices, texting, email, fax- even good old fashioned pencil or pen to paper letter writing. I hope that people don’t forget about the human need for face to face connection, the ability to take in all the senses and experiences through natural bonding.
I’m reminded of this every time I go bowling in league. It’s a 2-3 hour night out where we are participating in the same activity, but I gain the chance to connect with people from all walks of life and share in the experience. Whether I bowl good or bad, I’m given the chance to laugh, cheer, and talk with my teammates and opponents not just about bowling but also about daily events, sports and what’s going on in their lives.
I’m thankful that growing up, my parents limited my television watching. They encouraged my brother and I to play outside after we finished our homework. We had pick up soccer, baseball and football games with kids in our neighborhood across the street in a sandlot. I’d ride my bike to visit friends in all parts of town- because fortunate for me, I had many friends who didn’t live downtown. You learn more about how to engage in friendships and social skills as you gain exposure through these experiences.
My oldest daughter last night took the opportunity to go out to eat with me and was cognizant of the fact that when you are with people in public, maybe it’s a good idea to shut your cell phone off to devote the time to the people you are physically with. Is there anything wrong with giving your friends and your family full focus when you are with them? Are the text messages that urgent that you have to answer them within 5 seconds?
The instantaneous connection factor has many positives- especially if you are in an emergency situation- but I believe this double edge sword also allows people to sink into less than acceptable social mannerisms and behavior. I’ve literally seen situations where two people are at a table in a restaurant together, texting or talking to people on their cell phones to other people. You might as well be turning your head and body to talk to a couple at the next table.
Make it a point when you schedule outings with family and friends to put your instant communication devices away, on vibrate and give your full attention with your mind and body to other humans. I’d hate to think that we are turning into a nation full of brevity and multitasking – it’s perfectly acceptable to relax and enjoy your time around others.
And now it’s the weekend. I’ll be sinking my teeth into a couple of bargain book purchases that recently came into my life- Thank You Power by Deborah Norville and The Passion Test by Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood. I’ve read both through the library and couldn’t pass up the 80% discount through one of the Barnes and Noble stores.
Practice your face to face connection and make an appointment with someone you haven’t had the chance to hang out with in a long time. You’ll be glad to see them and gain more confidence in your abilities to communicate effectively.