More Than a Message

Technology is so wonderful. The capabilities we now have to learn more information and stay in touch with people near and far is, if you really dwell on it, surreal. I still remember having to use the landlines to call my friends and schedule play dates. Weird, right?

But back then, things felt much more simple. While it was certainly less convenient to rely upon a phone on the wall to make plans, there is also a reliance upon this technology to communicate in any capacity. As in people who, while in the same exact place, will still text each other. Or how about talking about very important topics that should be discussed, but being afraid to say them in person?

Yes, I relish the fact that I can communicate in a way that I can best articulate myself and have to time to think about my words, but there’s a time and place for that. Maybe it just shows my age that I have come to truly appreciate having an open conversation about something compared to an on-screen exchange.

Not that I’m planning to stop writing or texting any time soon, no sir. But I think that should be used as a starting point and as a casual way to catch up. It should by no means be a complete replacement for getting your point across, especially if you are discussing very important.

For any type of relationship, regardless of what it may be, if it’s something beyond an acquaintance, you cannot avoid talking. As easy as it is to fall back to a familiar keyboard, it’s a crutch. A virtual wall to hide behind to avoid a fear of opening up to someone and having an immediate response and every emotion that might come from that. If somebody cares about you, you deserve to receive everything, not just the snippets of composed, robotic words.

Again, let me reiterate, there’s still a place for our texts and messages and whatever else we send these days. We can get in touch with people at any time, from anywhere with a wireless connection. That’s crazy. People hundreds of miles away are suddenly at your fingertips, expanding your knowledge and world far beyond the naked eye.

It’s also much easier to reach out to others in general. If you have any hesitation with dialing a number, a quick message can be a thoughtful gesture. You can still find a comfort in making contacts with others, even if you have difficulties communicating.

Technology bridges past gaps in making contact, but to an extent, we abuse that luxury. We forget how to actually speak up for ourselves. We forget how to actually think in the moment, how to read other people’s emotions and body language, how to truly empathize with others. We overlook that valuable quality of simply being present.

When you do come across people who tend to be bug-eyed on their phones all the time, you really start to appreciate what conversation feels like. You can too often lose any sort of accountability with those people to receive a timely answer. (I’m guilty of this, but when did heart-to-hearts ever happen over Snapchat?) Especially depending on the subject matter, it is just common courtesy and respect to tell people straight-up what you’re thinking or planning.

Anybody can write a text. Heck, you don’t even have to use complete words or sentences. It’s easy. It gets the job done. Especially for introverts, it takes true willpower to make that extra effort to say something, and something that might be uncomfortable at that. But the fact is, if you cannot have an open stream of dialogue between somebody else, what kind of relationship do you actually have? As the Bee Gees once said, “How deep is your love?”

And if that’s the case, if you feel like somebody isn’t confident enough in themselves and in you that they can bring up a topic, as rough as this sounds, they might not be worth keeping a close connection with. You do you, of course, because everybody’s situation is unique and you know best. But you shouldn’t feel like you’re walking on eggshells and that you cannot mention certain things that you think are important. Any relationship you’re in should be uplifting, not draining. It requires work, and that work probably looks like having a difficult exchange of words every now and then.

Conflict sucks, but it can be unavoidable. And hopefully it’s ultimately productive. Constructive words and feedback can be the wake-up call we all need sometimes to slap ourselves awake and get our heads back into the present moment. While typing or writing our your thoughts can truly be a lifesaver to organize what you want said, that comfort zone doesn’t allow much room for growth.

We all have different preferences when it comes to communication and life in general. I despise talking on the phone and tend to avoid conflict like the plague. My mind tends to falter when translating my thoughts into spoken word. I fear I become muddled and cannot articulate myself how I want to. But how am I ever going to improve if I never try? How will I receive the openness of somebody else if I myself won’t meet them halfway?

Moral of the story? Always be open for self-improvement, wherever that may be. And do not settle for people who aren’t willing to grow and challenge themselves, too. Still expect me to be chatting away on my blog, making random remarks on Twitter, and relying on texts to keep my loved ones updated. But also expect me to make the effort to try new things, to venture into areas that scare me. Technology provides some stability, but I must remind myself to soar.

Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie

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