Below, you’ll find 3 warning signs that you’ve forgotten how to communicate.
Today, personal relationships often stumble from our inability to provide any real feeling or emotion. But there’s certainly no shortage of love for the electronic gizmos and gadgets many Americans consider as vital to their lives as breathing.
Let’s be clear about something before I get bombarded with hateful comments asking why I think I’m such an authority on the subject matter at hand.
Yes, I’m not an analyst or one of the fine reporters from “60 Minutes” with an arsenal of statistics, data and pie charts to back up my claims. What I am however is an ordinary human being who’s very keen on observing the behaviors of others from all walks of life. And believe me, you’d be amazed what you can learn about society just by watching everyday people walking this earth.
I’m 36 years old and remember growing up void of many of the technologies we currently have at our fingertips 24/7. We had push-button telephones without call waiting, caller ID or even answering machines. Computers were large, costly machines typically with black and white monitors and speeds slower than your average turtle. Cassette tapes and walk-mans were considered cutting edge technology and when cell phones did first come out they were the size of an average man’s shoe.
Technology has come a long, long way in 20 or 30 years. And while there’s no arguing the ease it’s brought to our lives, at times leaving us socially handicapped. Which brings me to title of this blog.
Here are the 3 Warning Signs That You’ve Forgotten How to Communicate
1. When walking down the street, you typically look down at your shoes or at your cell phone, even if your cell phone is idle or off.
My wife and I walk regularly and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve noticed this trend from old and young alike. It’s as though looking at someone and simply smiling, or dare I say, greeting someone with a “hello” would cause you to melt like the Wicked Witch of the West. We are so used to rarely having to communicate with others that when we come face to face with another human being, we don’t know what to do. From behind our computer screens or while holding our cell phones, we are limiting our physical contact with others and we may not even realize it.
2. Your family dinners consist of everyone eating in separate rooms either on the computer, the phone or watching television.
While my family certainly had its share of dysfunctional behaviors, my parents always expected us to eat together without any distractions. In fact, if the phone did ring, people were asked to call us back when dinner was over. Could you imagine people doing that today? Family dinners no longer exist during any typical week. If you want to know something about your child, you text them – even though they’re living in the same house with you. And the same holds true for husbands and wives who sometimes find it easier to talk through email rather than face to face at the end of a busy day. Face to face communication is vital for any relationship to thrive and believe it or not you don’t need a data plan in order to accomplish it.
3. You’d rather sit in your room texting, Tweeting, Facebooking or just surfing rather than out living in the world.
In my mind, this is the most dangerous. Even today if given the option to just sit in my house or be outside enjoying nature, I’d choose the later. It’s not because I’m some kind of outdoors men, but because this world has so many natural beauties and sounds to offer. Always sitting inside with your eyes bugging out just seems like a waste of one’s life. But we’ve become an instant gratification society and nature moves too slow for many. We can’t sit outside without concealing the sound of the birds or the wind through the trees with loud music. We can’t just take a drive or a walk or just lay out on the grass under a summer’s sun without the constant distraction of text messages and phone calls. While many people like the ability to be contacted 24 hours a day, when do we stop and enjoy, no appreciate, the simplicity of life?
There are people all around us that we should stop and get to know – some of which are living in the room next door to ours. To use technology for its designated purpose is one thing. But if you’ve forgotten how to communicate face to face with family or friends is a travesty.
As I said, I’m no expert, but here’s an interesting thought from Tom Brokaw’s latest book, “The Time of Our Lives.”
“No text message will ever replace the first kiss. “I luv u” on a tiny screen will never replace that declaration whispered into your ear at the end of a long embrace. Holding a BlackBerry cannot compare with holding hands on a first date or exchanging spoken vows on a wedding day. I never want to hear a lyric that goes, “A tweet is just a tweet – as time goes by.” If I am asked to give a wedding toast, I remind the couple that no GPS system or Google map will show them the way to a long, happy union. In fact, the electronic guides can lull the users into a kind of lethargy that does not serve them well when the batteries run low or the devices are misplaced.”
So, have you forgotten how to communicate? Maybe it’s time for a change.