Previously, in my blog, I stated that I value and hold communication in very high regard. It saddens me that I see a society that always carries at minimum a cellphone, and usually a tablet or laptop too. But we don’t know how to talk to each other. We’ve lost that art.
I think it’s time that we get it back.
I frequently see a meme on social media saying “the best time to call me is to send me a text”. We have every form of communication available to us in the palm of our hand but we aren’t speaking to each other. We aren’t getting the “feel” of what a person says by texting. This lack of communication affects all of our relationships: work, clients, family, and friends.
I have no problem with texting, but I do have a problem with it being the only form of communication. Back in my online dating days, I was meeting a man for the first time. We had only texted and not talked with each other before our first date. I ran late to our date because I got stopped by a train. Since, I was driving, I gave him a call. He picked up the phone and immediately said, “why are you calling?” I said, “I wanted to let you know that I’m going to be a few minutes late because I got stopped by the train.” He asked, “why didn’t you text me?” I said “I don’t text and drive.” He then said, “well I thought you were calling to cancel. I didn’t see your calling me as a good sign.”
This should have been a red flag. From that moment on, I decided whenever I go on a blind date or an online date, I’ll have a phone call with the man before meeting him. If having a phone call is an issue, then no date.
Back in my corporate world days, I had a boss who initially said that we needed to get back to our clients within 24 hours. He then changed that rule to: before you leave for the day, you had to return the communication in the form that you received it. Even if it was a phone call or an email, you responded saying, “I wanted to let you know that I received your voicemail/email, but I’m leaving for the day. You are my first priority tomorrow morning.” This communication gave the clients confidence in us as their professionals.
We have gotten so far away from connection that we’ve lost our communication. I believe this is one reason why there is a higher rate of divorce, why people are miserable at work, and why relationships suffer. We want to avoid the confrontation so we just avoid. We send texts and emails that get misinterpreted. People who are dating “ghost” each other instead of having a break up conversation. It is much better to have the conversation and get closure than wondering, “where did this person go?”.
What ever happened to expressing ourselves? Madonna wrote a song about this thirty-something years ago. I guess we haven’t been communicating for some time now, and it’s only gotten worse with technology.
We humans need to talk to connect. I have a standing 7:30 AM phone call with a friend, as we both drive to work. Sometimes, the conversations are superficial. Sometimes it seems as though we are solving the world’s crises. It is very cathartic for both of us and a great way to start the day. We help each other out and we vent to clear the air.
We humans need to connect. That is why I’m a coach. I am an impartial mirror for the client to reflect back what they see. A lot of my coaching sessions are identifying an action plan for a difficult conversation. Sometimes my client and I will role play a specific conversation. The feedback has been consistently great after my clients apply what they learned in the role play to their actual conversation.
I challenge you to pick up the phone, call a friend, and have a meaningful conversation. If they don’t pick up, perhaps (gasp) leave a voicemail. We all deserve to be heard. We all deserve to explain ourselves. We need to break this cycle of texting and not talking. Relationships (work, social, family, or otherwise) only get stronger through communication.
Let me know what you think. Call me.