From texting to emailing to snapping and everything in between it has become clearly evident that the art of real conversation is becoming extinct. From millennials to baby boomers, the act of sitting down for long periods of time to just talk with someone on a deeper level has become a foreign and unthinkable concept. This is a result of a faster moving society, the uprising of the digital and social media frontier, and, as a result, the lack of emotional connection with one another. How often do you see people sitting down for long periods of time having engaging conversations in regular communal places? Not often I bet. The norm of deeper conversations has become brisk talks about how our government is lacking, why liberal ideologies are the future, and how tragically our world is blowing up into war and terror. These are all good topics don't get me wrong, but they require more thought and conversation than just 140 characters on twitter from bandwagon jumping people. Those actions won't spur the change that everyone is seeking, but real conversations will.
We have somehow gotten it into our heads that we always need to keep moving faster and/or always need to be doing something, as if it is going to fill the voids in our lives magically. I'm not saying that all of our progression is pointless, because it's not, but there are some times in our lives where we need to just take a step back from the daily grind and talk with people. Going deeper into conversations about art, politics, religion, self-care, etc.There can only be so much progression without conversation. Though it seems like taking an hour or two out of your day is pointless and unproductive I promise you that it is not. You can learn so much about the person you're talking with, about the world around you, and develop your current ideologies. There is nothing more valuable than having knowledge and an open mind.
Everything in life is a small part of a larger train reaction,and the constant need to keep moving has pushed us into a digital mindset that prevents the want to have a face to face or even just a verbal conversation with others. The act of taking out our phones and texting someone when we need to talk to them has become a tragic reflex, and I am no more guilty of this then the next. Calling someone and physically talking with them seems like too much of a task that requires energy we feel like we don't already have. Which in turn is a lame excuse we tell ourselves. Social media sights are another breeding ground for nonverbal communication. Tweeting or sub tweeting at someone to either complain or comply has become a common way of communicating to someone your thoughts, but in actuality it is just petty and/or in-genuine. Ironically, if you look close enough you will notice that the people who use social media the most are the ones who crave deeper connections with others. No real deep connections can be formed through social media replies alone. It can be a starting point, but at some point verbal and face to face interactions need to occur for a real emotional connection to occur.
I said it before and I'll say it again, real change and real connections are formed through verbal and physical conversations. There is an unspoken act of genuine care that shows through when you take the time to truly show you care by talking and communicating with others around you.
This article was written with the intention of being a wake up call, and not one of condemnation and hypocrisy because this is an issue we all suffer from to a certain degree. If you want to be the change or cultivate deeper relationships start by asking a friend, family member or anyone else you see fit to coffee or dinner or whatever else suits you, and see where it goes from there. Sometimes this strategy isn't for everyone, so I encourage you to find ways that are comfortable for you to engage in more physical communications. After you establish the "meeting" evaluate the content. Go deeper than asking about the weather or what's up with them. Ask questions that will enable you to have deeper conversations.
About a year ago, I spoke with a dear friend about this very topic and she brought up the concept of writing down questions you have asked or have been asked of you. This list can then be used as a tool for future conversations. Below are just a few questions I have on my list I received from my friend.
"How do you feel close to people?"
"What's your personality?"
"What's one of your favorite sensory experiences?"
"What are a few topics that are essential for the closest people to you to know about/be caught up to date with you on, in order for you to feel fully known?"
"Is "home" a place(s) and/or a persons(s)? Why?
Initially reading or answering these kinds of questions can feel uncomfortable or unanswerable. Either because it makes you too vulnerable or it is something you've never really considered, but that just goes to show how socially inept our society has become. We have found it awkward and uncomfortable to share who we really are. Questions like these don't need to be dived into immediately, but it should be something to work towards. Deeper bonds will last forever and help our society's ability to grow stronger.
Take a breath and be the change to save the dying art of conversation.