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Contemporary Communication


 
Many of the conversations I’ve had with family members in some way falls back to communication – or lack of, in modern culture. Like every nuance in our lives, there are common words of wisdom imparted on us, lasting from generations past; one being the common phrase, “actions speak louder than words.” In reality, life wouldn’t function properly without words – without communication. One of the most informative ways we get to know people is though communication. That I don’t think we can argue. Unlike the nostalgic eras of letter-writing and proper conversation, communication is something often lost in the muddle of other pursuits. Although it’s one of the “Five Languages of Love,” in a generation in which we “text speak,” the English language is not only continuing to be butchered, there is also a lack of face-to-face conversation.
 
Could it be, this one social grace that we are perhaps, losing?

Speaking from experience, conversation doesn’t come easy to every person – for some it’s a strength, others a weakness. Growing up, I was one of the latter people. If I wasn’t among people I’d grown up with, it was a safe bet that observing was my game. It wasn’t until a handful of years ago that I began “pushing” myself to walk out of my comfort zone – to say what was on my mind. In my face-to-face personal life, I’ve known many people who are only interested in conversation that relates to them. Their boredom is obvious if you try to share something they have no interest in. As a result, admittedly I’ve probably become a bit close-mouthed when it comes to sharing. I’ve learned that just because a question is posed, that doesn’t mean the other person really cares whereas in my conversation when I read or listen to something that is from the heart, my reaction is genuine. The studies of society reports that from social media and texting, young people are misplacing – or already have, the “ability” to converse, and in many instances, this is probably true. Rather than pick up the phone, what do we do? We pull up a blank text message because we don’t think we have the “time” to sit around chatting. This I know, I am a big offender of, although in my mind, this doesn’t suggest I don’t care, to the receiver, perhaps it does.
 
How comfortable each person feels holding conversation depends largely on personalities. Some crave being in the spotlight, others prefer to be an observer – a listener instead of the person keeping up the discussion. That is where we are dropping off – taking a moment to realize when someone needs a listening ear. Whether it’s in person or virtual, sometimes the simplest thing as a cheery word of encouragement can brighten a day. The difference between face-to-face and virtual relationships is the former offers the benefit of seeing expressions, hearing voice tones and being able to recognize moods. The latter forces us to look deeper and literally read “between the lines” as it were, into when someone may be opening the door to further conversation. Somehow in the excitement or dash to “update” the social pages we frequent lost in the middle is understanding when someone simply needs to hear a simple, “thinking of you.” Taking our time for granted, we forget to pause, to encourage – noticing when someone, a friend needs a pat on the back; to listen. Even if we may not feel equipped to give advice because our own learning process is still in the early stages, remember that it’s okay not to have all the answers. Lending a listening ear can be more helpful than knowing how to advise; that says more than being a disinterested friend. It suggests you are only interested in a one-sided relationship.
 
During our day-to-day virtual profiles and on-line character, don’t forget that the person on the other end of your conversation is a person. Maybe not one you can see or enjoy a literal face-to-face conversation, but a living person nonetheless. Each of us has a different personality and ways of handling things. During the fun that has been made possible because of the Internet, it never harms us to pause, think through what we want to say and intend to sound like before sharing it with the world. Even the best of intentions can come out all wrong. And when it comes to communication, one never knows when something may affect someone or inspire an anonymous reader to take a healthy look at the direction their life is going. Everything that we say is a reflection of our self – and that is, perhaps what is most intimidating. ♥
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Rissi
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26 comments:

  1. This is really good, Rissi!! I've definitely fallen into the trap of texting at different times in my life, although thankfully, I was made aware of it and have gone to lengths to irradiate that from my life patterns. Although I do still text people. I just try and not hold conversations with them via text.

    Good stuff, Rissi! I always enjoy your style and writing and what you have to say!

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    1. I haven't ever felt as if we should give up anything, Kellie - i.e., texting, Twitter, Facebook, etc. - only that we should use it in moderation. And, believe me, I still need to learn it! :) Texting isn't "bad," it's just not - as you say, for conversations. Usually, I don't use it that way either.

      Thanks for reading, Kellie! Appreciate you sharing your thoughts on this subject.

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  2. Excellent post.

    I've had many online friendships over the years -- and you're right, it's much easier to miscommunicate or misunderstand via e-mail, chat, etc. Most of my friends are still hundreds of miles away; I treasure their emails, but enjoy spending time with them in person whenever I can. I don't call people much, though, since you never know when you're an interruption. :)

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    1. As "addicting" as it is - trying to "pull" us into its grasp, I wouldn't trade the lessons I've learned from blogging for anything. It's been a wonderful journey and taught me things I never expected. Like you, so many of the girls I've met through Blogging or Twitter are great ladies and I have enjoyed their friendship. Without the Internet, none of them would have been possible. Meeting you included. :)

      Thanks for reading, Charity!

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  3. Great post.

    I loved this line: "Lending a listening ear can be more helpful than knowing how to advise."

    Excellent advice.

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    1. Thank you so much for reading, Juju! Appreciate that. :)

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  4. Very thoughtful post! I am also not very comfortable making conversation -- unless I'm talking to a dear friend, I run out of things to say and the conversation lags because my brain freezes up and I can't think of anything to talk about. Or I'll answer the question, "How are you?" and forget to ask how the other person is. Ugh. I'd much rather listen.

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    1. You said it right, Hamlette: conversation isn't always easy. There are lags and "awkward" moments but I am also "comfortable" with that in certain scenarios if I've grown up with the person. I listen better also - and your comment about pleasantries made me smile. I've been there, too! :)

      Thanks so much for reading.

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  5. Thank you. So well-written.

    I find it so frustrating that our texting/Facebook/Twitter-infused culture helps us "connect" with everyone - yet we are growing more and more lazy in practicing day-to-day verbal communication.

    Think of the last social event you went to, and how frequently people turned to their cell phone to check a message, and ignored the conversation at hand. Even if momentarily, it is a distraction, and makes the those that surround the person feel less valued. I think our society (that already suffers from miscommunication), is digging a DEEP hole for ourselves and our children by not setting standards for what should be socially acceptable.

    People now break up with texts - what?! Not in person. Not with a phone call. But with a text. That is awful to think about.

    Now, lest everyone think I'm a fuddy-duddy or judgmental - I just got a smart phone, and have just been introduced to the temptations available by being constantly connected. I KNOW it's hard to pull yourself away, and am in training in learning to restrain myself.

    I also know that when you naturally tend to be introverted, it's easier in a gathering to resort to the "phone" rather than the people at hand. It's "comfortable." Before I had a smartphone, I was at an event where everyone pulled out their phone to talk to someone else. I didn't know what to do, so I pulled out my phone and just looked at it (I know . . . lame :)

    As Jim Elliot said, "Wherever you are, be all there!" Show people you are genuinely interested in them.

    I know this isn't always reciprocated, which makes it a constant struggle to continue to be genuine when others appear uninterested (and sometimes shallow). Rissi's comment "I’ve known many people who are only interested in conversation that relates to them. Their boredom is obvious if you try to share something they have no interest in. As a result, admittedly I’ve probably become a bit close-mouthed." I've been in exactly the same situation. It's so frustrating when you know that, as you said, when "I read or listen to something that is from the heart, my reaction is genuine."

    All I can say is, someday we should meet, because I think we would have a splendid conversation where each person feels valued.

    Okay, there's my rant for the day. ;)

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  6. Can I add this pin? http://pinterest.com/pin/176555247863496647/
    :)

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    1. ...and what a fabulous "rant" it was, Camille. :) Thank YOU for sharing this. You have given this a lot of thought and your feelings have transferred splendidly in this comment.

      I am not on Facebook so I cannot speak for that (I don't like all that it seems to "force" or ask of its users) but am fond of Blogger (of course ;D) and Twitter. It is VERY easy to get caught up in it because for me, it's fun. I've "met" some wonderful people through the Internet and Blogger, people whom I share a lot in common with and as a result, I've found encouragement and enjoyed the friendships we've built. Just because I cannot call them and set a coffee date or see a movie together doesn't mean I don't consider them friends. Nonetheless, I do think we shouldn't let any type of social media "rule" our lives no matter how fun or addicting it may be. In my mind, I realize that some days I spend far too much time on it however I don't appreciate the mindset that some people label those of us who are "shy" as "shut-ins" or someone who cannot exist in the real world.

      I like you bringing up the thought that at social events we pull out our phones rather than BEING with those physically around us - it's sad. Hopefully someday - though unlikely - we will revert back. The day texting was invented was a sad one. Society did us no favors when that was invented. ;)

      We don't have to give up anything, so long as we learn moderation. That is the important thing.

      That pin is hilarious - and sobering, Camille! Thanks for the link. :)

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    2. Moderation - exactly! Think of how we can connect - with new and old acquaintances, if used appropriately.

      I am grateful for technology and the blogging world (although I don't personally have one myself). It is because of your and Charity's help I've found all these amazing fandoms and BBC - and lots of fun! Most of my "right here" friends don't get them - ha! (Well, except my mom ;) )

      There have also been some blogs on Biblical womenhood that greatly influenced my worldview following graduation from high school. It didn't happen in one day, but the constant "drip . . drip" of checking out the blogs everyday of some mature Christian ladies.
      Have a great Saturday!

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    3. It is also my opinion, Camille that there is a generous and wonderful world of blogging out there. There are so many encouraging, delightful blogs to be found, we just have to - perhaps, look a bit harder. Fortunately, there are so many that, yes, are inspiring and are beautifully written. That's awesome to know you've found some Biblical blogs that have been of a help in your journey and growth. Finding something like that is a blessing; the Internet is a wonderful venue so long as we learn to use it right.

      LOL! My mom and I talk about the BBC programs all the time also. And Charity is awesome when it comes to sharing news about them. So glad she shares. :)

      Hope your weekend was great! :)

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  7. I'm awful with the telephone. If I could communicate exclusively through tweets and emails I'd be as happy as a clam.

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    1. Oh, I can be sometimes also, Joy! It just depends on the person or the situation. :) Twitter is fun! I agree.

      Thanks bunches for stopping by - and sharing!

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  8. Beautifully said, Rissi! I can absolutely admit that I'm a terrible conversationalist. I blank out and have no idea what to say. For this reason, I appreciate being able to write out my thoughts, so I can reread them and see if it's satisfactory. When I'm speaking face to face, I can't proofread myself! And believe me, there are certainly times when I've wished that I had. ;)

    But even knowing this about myself, I still totally agree with you. Because I think we are losing something. Smart phones are awesome and fun! But they are still a phone, a device. Not something to take precedence over people. I'm certainly of the mindset that when I'm with another person or a group, my phone should not be out. And I definitely shouldn't be talking on it unless it's a special circumstance, i.e. an emergency. Having said that, I admit I'm not perfect and have broken my own rule. (And immediately felt terrible afterwards!) But that doesn't take away my responsibility to care for those around me. My responsibility to make everyone I'm in contact with to feel loved and wanted. Because taking a phone call or text while you're with other people does the exact opposite.

    I don't have the answers to changing the way the world works. I don't know that there are answers anyway. All I can do is try to remember how I feel when others relegate me to second place in our conversation, and try to never make someone else feel that same way. People are beautiful and wonderful and so full of stories! Stories that can only be read by looking in their eyes and truly seeing them. Showing them that they matter.

    Now. All that aside, I do love my internet friends! And am thankful to have a way to make new friends and be inspired and encouraged. Because no matter whether you see your friends in person or only online, friendship is still there and encouragement is still given.

    Not sure if all this makes sense, but hopefully! Friendships and relationships are beautiful things. That's definitely one thing I think everyone can agree on. :)

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    1. Right or wrong, I always say I communicate best through writing also, Kara. Being a better conversationalist is something I had to work on when I became a teen. For a variety of reasons. Some of it was my personality, some for other reasons. So... I can certainly relate to you.

      It's one of my dad's biggest pet peeves when a person is in church or interacting with someone else and they are glued to their phone. He has to deal with it at work and it is a sad reality. It's annoying when it seems like a phone takes precedence over a person and it's something I have been guilty of in the past. To think that we put our phone ahead of the fellowship and time together with those who are physically around you is not a happy picture. Like you, I don't have a problem with the digital age so long as we use it properly - do we really NEED to text someone when we're in a group of people? I don't think so. If a person wants to have an active on-line or digital life, I think that's fine, we just need to learn how to moderate it and enjoy it by those standards.

      I've met some wonderful bloggers and people through the Internet, many of whom have taught me how to be a better writer or have been an inspiration. This I wouldn't trade for anything. The experience has been a great teaching and learning journey.

      Your last line: wonderfully said! That is so true and too often we take them for granted.

      Your entire comment is well said, Kara - as always, I appreciate you sharing your thoughts. Thank you.

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  9. Wow, wonderfully written post, Rissi! You basically covered it all, thanks for posting this! :) I always enjoy visiting!
    Juliet
    please visit soon!
    www.apurplesky.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you for reading, Juliet! You are always welcome around here. :)

      Aw! Have I missed some new posts!? That is not acceptable. :)

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  10. Very true! I find it far easier to e-mail someone than even call them on the phone. I'm naturally shy and I do write better than I talk, but I need to push myself more.

    I also wanted to thank you for following my blog :) I'm looking forward to reading your posts!

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    1. I can relate, Hannah. It is hard to converse easily or naturally for me. It's gotten better but it's still a learning process - and I guess that is what is most important. :)

      I will look forward to reading your blog - thanks for all your lovely comments. I appreciate my reader's sharing their thoughts and insight. Feel free to do so anytime. :)

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  11. Great post! Excellent thoughts and so true! A listening ear is very important! I love what you said about remembering that it is a living person that you are communicating with online. Easy to forget sometimes!

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    1. It is easy to forget that the person we are chatting with on-line IS a real person, Hniebel. It's all a learning process - like life, and I think that is what is most important so long as we continue to learn from these lessons. For me, blogging has been a wonderful learning lesson that has gone well beyond my expectations.

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    2. I agree! I love to blog too! Haven't done as much as you though. Quite a fun learning experience!

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    3. That it is, Hniebel. I wouldn't trade this learning experience for anything. It's been a wonderful journey. I've enjoyed your last few, recent blogs. :)

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  12. Really awesome post. It's so nice to see that I'm not alone, that other people struggle with conversation as well. I do so much better communicating online (email, etc), because I can proof and tweak so I'm saying exactly what I mean, without stumbling over my words and/or wondering if I got my point across correctly.

    I've always been quiet, especially around those I don't know well. I wish I wasn't; I think life must be easier for natural conversationalists. I've been called "shy" so many times that I can't even count, but lately I've started to wonder if that might not be entirely accurate. I don't necessarily feel shy in one on one situations (large groups are another story)....my problem is that small-talk just baffles me, I simply have no idea how people can come up with things to say. I try to say "Hi" when I see acquaintances, but I draw a total blank of what to say after that. If someone asks me how I am, I say "good" and if I'm lucky I remember to ask how they are doing... but then I'm done, my bank of conversation topics is depleted, and an awkward silence normally follows. Ack!!!

    The comments about texting are spot on, as well. I really wish more people could see what's happening. Lately I've found myself having a bad attitude about this exact thing, and I'm struggling to banish it. I don't have a phone, and though I've thought about getting one, one of the reasons I haven't is because I don't want to fall into the trap of using it and ignoring those around me, which I undoubtedly would do in uncomfortable situations and large groups when conversation is so difficult.

    I find it so sad when I'm out in the stores and see a child being neglected or not disciplined because the parent is so absorbed in their phone. :( Technology is great, but sometimes I find myself wishing for the days before texting.

    Really great post, Rissi! It's encouraging to see that there are people with similar thoughts and struggles out there. :)

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