Or, more specifically, the lack of communication in our everyday life. Or, even more specifcally, the breakdown of our ability to openly, honestly and respectfully communicate with each other in this day and age.
How absolutely terrifying is it, that with the technology we have at our means, the Facebooking, emailing, tweeting, Instagraming, texting, Facetiming, Skyping, phones on us making us connected 24 hours a day, we seem to be communicating less and less?
And I'm not pointing fingers at technology. Of course I can see the way it has degraded our face-to-face communication; I see the parents playing on their phones, counting their Facebook likes, meanwhile their children are playing pretend and aching for their moms and dads to sit down on the floor and join them. Any one can see that certain technologies, when abused, can lead to poor communication. But it's unfair to blame Snapchat and Netflix for the way WE use them, they're simply providing a service. We're the ones deciding what to do with them.
When it comes to all the means we have at our disposal, shouldn't it be easier than ever to call up that friend and tell them you miss them? Tell them something is bothering you? Tell them you're not happy with the way something is going? Between email and texting and phone calls, shouldn't it be simple to work your problems out, even if you're too embarrassed to do it face to face? If we want to make lasting, impactful relationships, shouldn't you WANT to communicate openly with each other?
Through the relationships I've formed in my life, I've learned so much about what I bring to the table. I've also learned what my opportunities are. I have a very dominating personality. I like to be the center of attention and I like to voice my opinion. I often find myself close friends with people who aren't so ready to communicate in this manner. I met my best friend in college. We bonded over her braiding my hair and sharing our scathing experiences with the opposite sex. She is loud and boisterous when she's comfortable with you, but when she's in a large group, her voice can be silenced. Sometimes, I found myself silencing her unintentionally. She helped me realize how intimidating I am when I communicate, because of my loud opinions, don't-care attitude and verbose choice of words at times.
Since then I have actively worked to communicate better, to not step on the little guy. I ask my friends if they have a problem. I ask my husband if I'm not hearing him. I tell my kids I'm listening and understand their feelings. I try to go out of my way to ensure the people I truly love feel heard and comfortable talking to me. And yet, at the end of the day, I still had people near and dear to me telling me that "I just didn't hear their needs," "they were scared to open up to me" and "we were drifting apart."
I've struggled for a few months now to grasp how people can just throw in the towel on a friendship. What I could have done to communicate better. And the truth is, there's only so much YOU can do. If it's just you talking, just you reaching out, just you asking questions, then it's simply a one-sided conversation. If someone would rather talk at you than with you, well, that's not really communication, is it?
Take for example my problem with work. While several readers enjoyed the article, we found a small group perceived the article in a very negative light. They were deeply offended and voiced their opinions on any platform they could. The problem was despite their fervor, they simply weren't willing to communicate with us. They were content yelling at us for gravely insulting them, but when we reached out to find out what they wanted, what they would like to see, only one of them interacted with us. ONE person. Instead, the others continued to point fingers at us, for pointing ours at them.
You cannot communicate with someone who isn't willing to communicate with you.
As human beings, we need to connect. We need to hear each other. We should speak kinder to each other. Care more about each other. With all these amazing ways to communicate with each other, we should be reaching out more. When is the last time you told your best friend you loved them? You missed them? How often do you ask people how they are, how their day was, and really listen to the answer? When is the last time someone asked you how you were, and you were honest and open with them?
George Bernard Shaw said "the single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place."
Have you really been communicating?
You also might like: