For that matter, how long has it been since you had a conversation that lasted longer than it takes to type 140 characters?
Do you remember when you last received a hand-written note or card in the mail?
I miss old-fashioned communication!
Don’t get me wrong, I love social media and electronic chatting. In fact, I participate in e-conversations more than most 50-somethings. I have online friends I’ve never met face-to-face and yet we’ve shared intimate pieces of our lives.
However, even as a word person, typing messages can’t be my only form of social involvement. There are subtle nuances of facial expressions and voice inflections that I miss. Oh, and gestures! Even the cutest emoticon can’t replace a person’s enthusiastic hand gestures.
Why are we in such a hurry to blow past a conversation? When did I become so important that I can’t linger over lunch or coffee?
As I write this, I’ve just returned from a delightful brunch with four other women. I didn’t especially want to go. When I woke, it was rainy and kind of darkish outside, a perfect morning to sleep in.
I’m so glad I went. I see these four women fairly frequently, but there usually isn’t time for more than a quick, Hi, how are ya?
When you pay attention, you become a part of someone’s life
I came away from the brunch thingee with new information about each of the four women. Plus, I feel connected, like I’m a part of something bigger.
Sure, I could have stayed home and dug into my work for the day. But these women and I share a bond that deserves attention. More than that, it deserves respect.
We live in a finite world where no future conversation is guaranteed. I don’t say this in a morbid kind of way, but I do believe that when we’re given an opportunity to interact with someone else, we should really take it. If we don’t, we may not get another chance.
I would miss knowing about one woman’s month-long trip to Poland where hotel breakfasts are complete dinner-like meals and how all she wanted each morning was oatmeal.
I would miss being aware that another of the women–though only in her 20s–likes old country and western music (She told me it’s what she grew up with because her dad is 52–ouch!).
Everyone has a story and every story deserves an airing. That just can’t happen on the flat surface of weather conversations. Unless, of course, you’re a pilot like my friend Sam, who probably does have meaningful conversations about the weather.
So get on out there–dig a little deeper. When you’re asked to go somewhere, GO! Chat up the people. Ask them about themselves; people love to talk about themselves!
I guarantee you’ll find companionship and meaningful conversations.
Photo courtesy of DuBoix