With the rise of social media and texting, we may have forgotten how to have a conversation. So many of us (I included) post our lives and thoughts on sites like Facebook, Instagram, Blogs, that we no longer have to call someone or see a friend in person to find out what’s going on. So many times friends have mentioned a post about me on Facebook and the questions don’t go any deeper. We assume we know what’s going on in each other’s lives because we saw some pictures or comments, but those posts are so shallow. We are different people online than who we are with ourselves and our close friends and family, and we are different in social media than how we type into Google. Teenagers and children know how to respond to texts and comments with emoji’s and smiley faces, yet many times I don’t see the same smile and enthusiasm in person.
I know I have been in dark places in my own head and that’s not something I post on social media. Yet those questions or phone calls don’t come as often as they used to. My husband and I talk all the time and we have intimate conversations with each other, but my phone does not ring as often as it used to. I used to spend hours talking on the phone to friends and now I feel like it has been reduced to catching up with people by seeing what’s on social media. Sometimes I don’t find out about divorces, moves, the sex of a new baby from family members unless it’s posted to Facebook. There’s a lost art of intimate conversation and it has to be addressed.
When we share something on Facebook or Instagram, it is out there for any of our ‘friends’ to see. It’s not intimate anymore. I find myself at many dinners and questions are answered with one word: ‘fine’, ‘good’, ‘busy’, etc. I value a good, deep, and open conversation, but I think we as a society need to go back to the basics on how to have a conversation.
How Do You Really Have a Conversation?
- Meet with people in person or call someone on the phone
- Don’t multitask, give the person you are talking to their full attention
- Ask questions and keep asking.
- Don’t make it about you, take a true interest in the person in front of you
- We don’t like everyone we talk to, but we can all show effort in asking questions
- Start with small questions then work to deeper questions, don’t stop at small talk
- Ask open ended questions
- Know when to stop. If the person on the phone or in person is not responding, then it’s apparent they don’t want to have a conversation.
- Try to engage in a real conversation offline every day, you never know what you may learn.