They say in Florida, you have to go north to go south.
To find Southern food, Southern manners, and Southern people–you need to head north from the beach.
Before I went home I tried a Florida experiment. On my walk, I decided to smile at every single person I passed. As I walked along, I made eye contact with everyone I saw and gave them a big smile.
People looked at me like I was a crazy psycho person. A couple of people smiled back. One person said hello. And the rest gave me evil glares. Well, except for the ones looking down or playing with their cell phones, they never even noticed my existence!
Then, I went home.
To the South.
And I went for a walk.
Not only did everyone greet me with smiles. But random strangers waved and asked me “how are you doing?” And the miracle? They even wanted an answer–and waited for the real answer. And I’m pretty sure if I had said “oh I’m just awful,” they would have wanted to help me.
They were friendly. They cared. The made an effort to communicate. The old fashioned way.
Why is it so hard these days?
In the past week, I’ve had confused text conversations. Facebook messages that would never exist in a phone conversation. Email miscommunication. Total lack of communication.
And I realized.
Playing with phones.
Even just email.
We forget to really communicate.
Here’s a popular e-card on communication:
And there are so many ecards saying don’t call me, just text me. Wait a second–when did phones become obsolete?
I realize I haven’t even been asked on a first date via a phone conversation since college. When half the people you knew didn’t even have texting capability.
We build a bubble of technology.
We surround ourselves with busyness.
We avoid really talking to people.
We never turn off our cell phones.
We text instead of calling.
Even in person, how often is the person you are talking to somewhere else? Not in the present. Playing on their phone. Checking for messages from someone else. Or even just thinking about something else. Anything to avoid actually communicating with others.
Kids don’t build forts outside and bond with friends, there’s an app that will build those forts for them.
It’s an epidemic. We can’t be in the now by ourselves. And we definitely can’t be in the now with other people.
So for 2013, emphasis needs to be made on communication.
Instead of texting, call.
Make plans and stick with them.
Keep your phone off or on silent when you are with a friend or family.
Make time to see people in person.
Wait and send emails from a computer and not from your phone.
And think before you send anything.
How can I better communicate?
In 2013, I’m going to do my part to better communicate.
I’m going to pick up the phone whenever possible. Yes, friends, I am going to CALL you instead of texting. And I ask you to call me back as well. Short texts about little things are great (ie running late, or heading to out now, etc.), but for the most part I am going to use the telephone.
I’m going to write letters to friends who live far away. Sending SNAIL MAIL! Can you imagine?
And I’m going to turn my phone off. On a regular basis. Keep it on vibrate. Or turn of the texting. No facebook “push” messages to my phone. When I’m with friends, the phone is going to stay inside. Which means, yes, I’m actually going to get a watch. Because if I’m wearing a watch or have a watch in my purse, I won’t even have the excuse of using my phone to check the time.
I’m going to reconnect to the NOW. Listen to my friends when they talk. Avoid text-related miscommunication. (How often has a text message hurt your feelings, confused you, or seemed to say something totally different than what you thought it did?)
I’m going to become a better communicator.
And I challenge y’all. Try to improve your communication. PICK UP THE PHONE to call. PUT DOWN THE PHONE with friends. Think before you text, email, send anything on your mobile.
Make an effort to listen and an effort to communicate–no matter where you go.
Smile at random strangers. Don’t talk on your phone in line at the grocery store. Be polite to people behind you when you walk through doorways. Find ways to communicate for realsies.
Because I have a funny feeling that, if we learn to communicate, we’ll all find greater contentment and happiness.
What do you say??