Did your text message test your patience? Ever need to save face on Facebook? Twitter have you all atwitter?
Messaging is both a blessing and a curse.
Personally, I love it. It’s lower pressure than talking. I can respond in my own time. I can craft the message my way, which includes proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation. And most importantly, I can go back and read it when I can’t remember what was actually said.
It turns out that I’m not alone. According to statistics:
1) Texting is most used data system in world
2) Texting is the most used form of communication for American adults under 50
3) 33% Americans prefer text to call
4) Here’s one that really got me: The average American spends 23 hours PER WEEK texting
So, it’s not just me.
The great news is that we are more connected than at any other time in history. Oddly enough though, we feel more disconnected, dissatisfied, and isolated.
Is messaging to blame? Not entirely. It’s a far more complicated issue. But relying on messaging as a primary form of communication does contribute to the problem because messages are written. We rely solely on our words to relay our messages. As great as GIFs and emojis are, they don’t make up for important cues like facial expression, body language, and various qualities of voice like tone, volume, and inflection. Missed cues lead to miscommunication.
We’ve all had that happen. You send a message and the reply you receive doesn’t fit what you thought you said, especially if it was in jest. If it’s not recognized and fixed it will lead to drama, stress, and potentially eating gallons of ice cream.
Messaging is good for information, but if you want connection, you’ve got to talk, either by phone or in person.
Arrange the conversation device to device, but have the conversation ear to ear, or face to face. I like to think of the progression alphabetically: D-E-F, Device--Ear--Face.
Yes, messaging can be quicker and possibly more comfortable. Phone calls and talking in person can feel like more time and effort. Fortunately, it will be worth the trouble because you’ll have less drama, less time spent trying to fix the problems miscommunication causes, and less need to buy new clothes.
Here’s what to do: take a few of those 23 hours per week we spend messaging, and call or meet up. This is especially valuable for our core connections, the people who are closest and most important to us like family, friends, mentors, etc.
Try it for a week, then come back and tell us how much less time you spent muttering under your breath and how much less money you spent in the frozen food aisle.
“We’ve decided to join the Props Crew,” she said.
I was a high school sophomore. If I also joined the Props Crew, I wouldn’t have to walk home from school by myself, would get to spend time with my friends AND there would likely be cute boys. I was sold.
That one decision changed my life.
Props Crew (which we spelled Crue, after the group Motley Crue) was part of the Oak Park-River Forest High School Theatre Department and, according to the school’s website, it’s still going strong today. I met all kinds of new people and got to use cool things like glow tape and glue guns.
The first production I worked on was the musical “Guys and Dolls.” As a new member of the crew I was assigned a couple of smaller tasks, one of which was to move a trash can during a scene change.
During one tech week rehearsal, I somehow managed to not get that trash can moved. Erika, one of the dancers, very kindly took me aside and explained that if I didn’t move that trash can, it would be in the way of her entrance, which was what started the scene. The show literally could not go on if I did not do my job (I have since learned otherwise, but that’s another story).
That was a huge lightbulb moment.
By working backstage I could, for the first time in my life, contribute to something that lived and breathed, affected people and was a different experience each performance.
I was welcomed and accepted. I had a purpose.
We all need to be valued and loved for who we are. We were made to be in relationships—all kinds of relationships. We NEED others who support and encourage us. People are not optional, but integral.
We also need purpose and not just to the betterment of ourselves, but for others. We need to participate in a story larger than our own. We need to be the piece that finishes the puzzle, the thread in the tapestry that allows the rest of the threads to be woven in around it, after it, because of it.
Living in small, egocentric stories, leads to loneliness.
Purpose saves. Belonging saves. Being loved and loving other people save.
YOUR purpose always involves other people.
Constantin Stanislavsky said that there are no small parts in theatre.
There are also no small parts in life.
Move the trash can.
Thank you for reading, commenting, and sharing! If you’d like to receive these posts and updates in your inbox, please subscribe. I promise not to share your address or info.
Creating Systems for Courageous Kindness
I love to read comments and know how my work is helping you. Please respond with your first AND last names. Anonymous comments will not be read and may be deleted.