You spent some time with a friend. Perhaps it was a brief coffee date or just a quick chat when you bumped into each other at the grocery store. You remark about their current life events, ask a few questions about work and relationships to quickly catch up on their current “facts.” You laugh about something funny that happened back in the day. As you part ways, you offer the standard “let’s keep in touch!” After you leave, you think about the good old days when you spend time with that friend and made memories. You wish things could still be that way…wish you didn’t feel so disconnected…
Does this situation sound familiar? Do you find yourself saying things like, “Let’s get together more!” But, it never happens?
In our busy world of technology, we “see” more of other people than any other generation before us. We can see their accomplishments on LinkedIn, their relationship updates on Facebook, and pictures of their family on Instagram. We watched their wedding livestreamed, and we sent an e-giftcard. We’re constantly liking their statuses and following as they hashtag their way through everything from family vacations to bad hair days. Why do we feel disconnected?
If I honestly counted how many friends I’ve even taken the time to chat with on the phone or eat with on my lunch break in the past month, I’d probably only need one hand. It is just too easy to feel like we can know all of the “info” we need to know without actually talking.
Plus, we’re busy! We have school work to accomplish, grocery shopping to do, meals to cook, jobs to work, and church to attend. Not to mention we have to keep our workout schedule, our hair appointments, our doctor’s appointments, dental cleanings, and get enough sleep to keep us from looking like Frodo on the last leg of his trek up to Mount Doom.
Sometimes, I feel like my life gets a little off-balance. I find myself accomplishing all of the “stuff” that I need to do, but feeling miles apart from the people that I love most. It makes you wonder why we feel this way in a world of “connecting” technology.
Perhaps our priorities are out of order. We are so wired to be always on the go and cramming more and more into our lives that perhaps we’re forgetting to slow down and spend quality time with the people that make our lives worth living.
Do you ever wonder what life would be like if we lived back in the era of sending telegrams and writing letters to those we love? It seems so SLOW. It couldn’t possibly be better than skyping and phone calls, could it? What did people DO with all of their time not spend on the internet?
I think they talked to each other. I think they read actual books. You know, the kind with actual pages. I think they worked with their parents, had family dinners, and spent time on “visits” and Sunday afternoon strolls. I think they went to parties where people talked instead of spending time glued to their phones. Although I wasn’t there, I have this hunch that they didn’t stare at their palms hoping someone would invent a screen for them to look at.
When you write a letter or spend time with someone, you are focusing on them without multitasking. You are telling them that they are worth your thought, energy, and undivided attention.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my phone. I love email, Facebook, Pinterest, and Netflix just like anybody else. But, maybe it’s time to think about making an effort to reach out to other people. Maybe it’s time to have lunch, invite people over for dinner, or make a visit to a friend in the hospital. Then, perhaps we can build a few more memories while communicating face to face. Perhaps we won’t feel so disconnected from those important people.
Personally, I think I need to constantly be re-evaluating where my time goes. It’s easy to slip into habits that are self-focused for the sake of my agenda or “me-time.” If I have to sacrifice a little personal time to love other people and build memories and bonds with them, I can do that. I encourage you to assess yourself. Think about your priorities. Hey, you can even write someone a letter just to tell them you care! Let’s grow our relationship with our friends instead of our phones.
What gestures from a friend mean the most to you?