A conversation is so much more than words: a conversation is eyes, smiles, and the silence between words.-Annika Thor
I was reading some thoughts on how suffocated people are, with their emotions and how everyone is holding back their vulnerabilities to maintain the social image of a happy person.
This made me think about the simple conversations that were common in the earlier time, where people had no smartphones or headphones to get lost in their own world and too busy to look at others and smile or talk.
Once upon a time, general conversations were common on a bus, train, restaurants, bus-stop, corridors, restrooms, canteens, coffee shops, markets, grocery shops, billing ques. People had the time at least for a smile and little courtesy talks with neighbors, friends, and acquaintances.
With the gradual increase in smartphone usage, we could see people are talking over the phone irrespective of the locations and time. While crossing the road, walking, driving, eating, working, sleeping, watching movies, television shows, playing, using washrooms, literally everywhere, people are busy in talking, texting, watching or playing on their phones. Does the mobile usage that provides 24/7 connectivity is helping people to become closer to each other and the bonding with near & dears by keeping contact with them all the time? It just depends on usage. In rare cases, it is helping, otherwise it is driving them away in different directions.
All of us know the reality, each family member would be peeping into their own gadgets during dinner time, sudden need of a what’s up group for the family to update each other, so-called conversations that are happening on Facebook or Instagram among friends, forwarding jokes or latest wise wordings or health tips to people would be of importance than to say hello to your acquaintance while walking or in an elevator.
People have hundreds of friends and followers on social media and they have the obligations to wish them, like their posts, share, comment and maintain self-respect by posting stylish selfies from different locations and with different looks to garner more appreciations. So, no time to talk to the person who is sitting beside you!
Has it become a daunting task to lift the head away from the mobile phone and smile at the co-passenger? Forget about the strangers, it is applicable for the known faces at work, travel and in the neighborhood. Could we compare the comfort of talking to a single friend in face-to-face who could understand your feeling and context of your talks with the hundreds of friends who would like your latest vacation pictures and comment on social media?
While posting stories or pictures on social media, the focus would be on making it impressive to get more likes than sharing our heartfelt feelings. So, these interactions would increase the pressure on the person than to relieve the thoughts. Another issue with the virtual world is, comparison! Watch the fantastic pictures of the happy family gatherings, new dresses, outings, picnics, newly bought stuff of others and feel the pain of missing out those things in life. There are enough studies conducted and published about the increased level of anxieties and depression among avid social media users.
Recently I read a story on a networking platform, where a person had posted his anguish over having hundreds of followers and friends and not getting any help from a single person when he needed urgently and expressed it on the same social media platform. The irony is, that post went viral and gathered thousands of likes but I am not sure whether the writer got any help that he needed, or a shoulder to lean on and share his pain.
It is quite common to see either at home, work or on public places when one person is speaking, another one will be staring at the mobile and nodding head. Listening skills looks like the uttering of an old-fashioned person. In-thing is, screaming at the top of your voice so that people hear you and possibly give their attention by lifting their gaze from their gadgets. Mobile phones have become a body part. I wonder if it continues like this, whether the human will evolve with an attachment to hold the mobile phone? May be it is difficult as each one has their own preferred way that may confuse the creations to work on.
Let’s come back to the good old conversations that could happen anywhere at any time if two are more people with open minds meet and greet each other. I think it is a high time to understand the value of heart to heart conversations that could ease our emotional loads or the casual conversations that would freshen up and put smiles back on our face or the engaging conversations which could challenge our mind and many more.
Do you agree with me on the need for conversations or do you think I am talking about some outdated topic? If you find it is relevant and want to improve in that direction, here are some tips for you.
- Restrict the use of gadgets and focus on people around you.
- Connect with friends and if you have lost touch with them, your gadgets could come handy to reach them.
- Trust is the foundation for the heart to heart conversations.
- It is okay to be open, vulnerable, and face the world. It makes you come out stronger than being scared and live with piled up emotions.
- Check whether you have minimum 2-3 friends with whom you could just blurt out.
- Rarely, you may have a friend who mirrors your opinion in all areas of life. It is okay to have different viewpoints and still be friends.
- It could be a different person for different areas of life, but who could understand you and listen. For example, one could understand your fitness goals, other could understand the family issues, someone else who would understand the work challenges, another one, who is crazy about the common hobbies or about spiritual and philosophical angles.
- If you think, you do not have enough friends, it is an indication for you to grow your circle. Joining a new class or starting a new hobby would make it easier to get access to new people who may become your friends.
- Remember, both talking and listening are equally important in any conversation.
- Good conversations could happen over discussions on the current/past situations or future of involved people and not about any outsider unless it gives some insights to help your situation.
- These talks are not meant to show off who is better, just to lend ears to others or share your mind. It may give solutions to your problem or just makes you lighter after letting out what was weighing you down.
- Though the conversations are better when it is face to face, it could be equally worth on a voice or video call if the person is away from you. It may be a challenge to convey the context, still better to have it than holding up the emotions.
- Conversations at home are also very important and they could be handy in eliminating the invisible layers among family members which would hold them away from each other.
I believe, open conversations among people would resolve many conflicts, relieve tensions, reduce loneliness, improve bonding and lift your spirit.