In this digital age, a simple sit down has become nothing short of novelty. Let’s be real with each other. Let’s have a real conversation.
We need to have a talk. Seriously. And by talk I mean have an actual conversation. You say something while I listen. Then I’ll say something while you listen. Oh, and let’s actually look at each other while we talk. Maybe in our excitement, our words will overlap and we’ll interrupt each other, but we’ll be communicating. We might even share a few laughs. That would be nice.
You know where I’m going with this. You observe the same things I do. People looking down at their smart phones, earplugs in place, oblivious to the people around them. Someone somewhere else is more important than those who are right in front of our eyes.
You can spend your whole day running errands and never speak to another person or even make eye contact. I don’t crave much, just a simple acknowledgement that there’s another human being in the vicinity would do. In stores and restaurants, customers continue to chat with those other, more important people, while conducting their business rather than engaging with the clerks or waitstaff. It seems most people are fixated on their mobile devices. Ear buds seal the deal. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. They have their place. But don’t you wish that we could dial it back just a bit?
Conversation used to come naturally. You’d talk to the people you live with and the people you bumped into as you went through your work day or ran your errands. You’d look them in the eye and exchange simple greetings, at the very least. Sometimes, conversation was the whole point of getting together. You’d sit around and talk over dinner or drinks. Some of my best memories involve sitting around and talking with family, friends, or new acquaintances. It doesn’t happen often enough anymore, and I miss it.
It doesn’t take much to be a good conversationalist. All you need is a willingness to share a few thoughts and listen to someone else’s. It’s about undivided attention and being in the moment. You can tackle world events, the book you’re reading, the latest series you’re binge watching, or whatever pops into your head. Face-to-face conversation lets us in on facial expressions, body language, and tone in a way that texting and selfies can’t.
Now, don’t get me wrong—I do appreciate modern technology. I have a smart phone, I text, and I participate in social media, and I don’t want to turn back the clock. These things have their place and that’s where I keep them.
Call me an old fuddy duddy if you will, but I still enjoy a good conversation.
Written by Ann Pietrangelo
This article was originally published with Care2; republished with permission.
[image: via Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung on flickr]