Most people I ask seem to say the former ‘Oh I much prefer seeing people in person’ they say ‘or if that’s not possible then it’s nice to talk on the phone, it’s so much more personal than a text!’. I agree wholeheartedly, but tell me honestly, when was the last time you called someone?
Research has showed we need to do just five things each day to ensure a healthy mental state: connect with other people, exercise, give in to curiosity, learn something and give something back. Surely all of these can be covered in a conversation?
I’m guilty of it; life gets so busy that before you know it 6 weeks has past and you realise you’ve completely fallen out of touch with the people you don’t see every day. If you’re anything like me this realisation is followed by instant guilt and a flurry of phone calls to your nearest and dearest, or anyone you realise you should probably make more of an effort with if you want to keep them in your life! But it doesn’t feel like anyone else is like me, or else if they are, I’m not on that list of people to call.
There are certain phone conversations which I hate to see replaced by texts; birthday wishes, pregnancy and engagement announcements, new jobs, sad news such as deaths and things which really ought to be done in person like break ups. To me these need more of a connection than words on a screen – they require a voice or a face, but this happens less and less each year.
In 2013 I received 15 birthday cards (it was awesome, I LOVE getting post!), around 20-30 texts/whatsapps etc and according to Facebook over 50 people wrote on my wall. I spoke to my family in the morning – but it was me who called them after receiving birthday texts. I’m sure I must have received at least one phone call, surely I did, but honestly right now I can’t remember any. It’s not that I’m not grateful for the lovely cards and messages, but on my birthday, while living away from every member of my family and most of my oldest friends – it would have been nice to have some personal communication.
Is it only me who feels properly happy when I hear a familiar voice? Or sit and skype someone and actually see their face? I remember skyping my mum, sister, stepdad and n1, 2 and 3 last year from Thailand – it put such a ridiculous grin on my face to see them all, and the memory still does. Even being in the same country, when you only see people 3 or 4 times a year these connections are important! Indeed it’s reached the point where phone calls happen so rarely that when I do get a missed one I instantly panic and assume someone must be in hospital! Turns out the last time they just wanted a restaurant recommendation – stand down the troops!!
Are we losing the art of conversation? Of taking the time to properly communicate and keep in touch? As communication becomes faster and easier are we becoming more segregated and solitary? I worry that we are, but only we can stop it. So maybe next time, before you send that text, consider giving someone a bell instead, call them for a natter, a bit of general chitchat. Practice the art of conversation and make someone’s day!