How often does your mind wander when you're having a conversation with someone else? Do you ever think to yourself, did that sound too weird? Man, I'm hungry. Or, what am I doing this Friday? These aren't questions that are meant to make you feel like a bad person. The fact of the matter is, we all do it. But, just because we all do it doesn't mean it's okay. In fact, it means the opposite. It means that we, as a society, have a problem that needs to be addressed.
As technology progresses and our lives get busier by the minute, meaningful, full-focused conversations are harder to come by. A wandering mind and a lack of eye-contact may not seem like a big deal, but it isn't these minor acts that cause the problem. It is the build-up of these minor acts that transforms into a mentality that lacks the effort and consideration towards connecting with people.
Sometimes, this is tough. We all have things going on. Maybe you have a huge presentation to give in thirty minutes or maybe you can't stop thinking about that fight you had with your friend last week. No matter what it is, I can promise you that putting your everyday stressors to the side when interacting with people will not only improve your openness and perspective but your relationships as a whole.
There is nothing better than talking to someone and having no doubt in your mind that you have their undivided attention. The type of conversation where the other person is not only listening to what you're saying but is clearly invested.
Today, we are all too familiar with the simple, "What's up" - "Not much" interactions that have become normal when you pass by someone you know. But, I would argue that this is too easy. It's too easy to put your face into your phone when you are trying to avoid interaction.
It's too easy to casually say what's up instead of actually engaging in a conversation with someone. It's too easy to text a reply instead of reaching out in person. Yes, all of these things are easy. But I would challenge you, when moving forward, to avoid easy.
I have tried to do this in my own life and in just a very short amount of time I have reaped the benefits. Of course, sometimes I slip up. But overall, my excitement to engage with others and hear about their experiences has impacted my life in ways I couldn't imagine. From time to time I am tempted to do easy, but I have realized through my new outlooks that easy is overrated.
You probably didn't meet your best friend by looking down at your phone when they walked by. No. You probably worked to engage with this person even when the conversation was tough, and that's why you're best friends.
So try it. Stop and ask someone how they are doing, and don't just let them get away with saying, "I'm good." Engage with them, find out more about what is going on in their life, and most importantly, show them you care.
Building relationships and connecting with one another is what fuels us; it is where great ideas come from. We need these types of interactions to grow. So let's go deeper instead of wider; we both know that's the only way to get somewhere.