We all send a quick text to see how someone is doing, an IM to say hello, or a Google+ or Facebook message to see what’s new. We also email each other to touch base and keep up with the latest. These popular channels help us connect with more people than ever, especially those far away, but what happens when it’s the main way we communicate?
Friends, family, and clients are more available than ever with all of this technology, yet the quality of our relationships is suffering. How is this possible? We have replaced quality with quantity. We have broader networks but shallower connections.
Following someone on Google+ or Facebook isn’t really knowing them. That’s just headline news, how we project ourselves to the world. Texts are fast, flat, depersonalized way to communicate even with emoticons. Nothing compares to meeting face to face, looking each other in the eyes, the sound of our voices, the feeling of a hug and opening our hearts to one another in personal, live conversation. Many people aren’t even developing interpersonal skills these days as they hide behind screens text messaging the world and denying themselves and others the possibility of deeper connections.
Sometimes distance can keep us apart, but even then a phone call or a handwritten letter brings more heart to those relationship between visits. All too often, it’s not about distance as much as is being lost in our own busyness and using technology as a crutch to keep our best self out there and keep the world at arm’s length from our more private, vulnerable, authentic selves. While this is fine if that is the intention, it gets interesting when we then tell ourselves and each other that we’re doing all we can to stay connected in these relationships.
One way to see what this is costing us is to look at the quality of our relationships right now. Are we allowing others in, or keeping them at a distance? Are the ones who mean the most to us as close as we’d like for them to be? Are we making ourselves available for them, and for them to let us in?
At this time of year when we all rush around consciously giving to one another, let’s consciously give of ourselves to those we love. Let’s skip some of the drive-by communication and really connect. What a beautiful way to celebrate the season!
Much love and gratitude,