Turn Off the Social Networking and Really Interact

By | February 12, 2011

I hereby declare a moratorium on technological advances.

In the sometimes witty and always stylized series Sex and the City, Carrie gets dumped via a Post-It note. I found this both hysterical and troubling at the same time.

This is what we’ve become.

In a culture of dinners prepared in ten minutes or less, conversations that are limited to emails and text messages, and voice mails counting as having had a relationship, is it any wonder Carrie’s ex didn’t have the “time” to do the dirty work in person?

While I know this was only a TV show, it truly nailed the direction we are gleefully heading.

If any and everything is done at lightning speed is it any wonder that we have trouble building relationships? With all of the ways that we have to communicate, you’d think we would be masters of interaction.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The divorce rate is high.

Attention spans are low and our own expectations of what is means to be in a relationship have been bashed, leaving many of us, myself included, to think why bother?

Growing up, I was surrounded by friends and family. I was repeatedly told two things: keep your house clean and have something you can offer folks to eat just in case somebody stopped by.

Things have changed.

Currently, our social interaction has been relegated to a series of planning, preplanning and implementation that makes working at the Pentagon look like a day at preschool.

What happened to “Oh, I’ll stop by tomorrow at around two and we’ll decide what we wanna do then” or “I was just in the neighborhood and thought I’d pop by and see what you were up to.”

This way of connecting with people has sadly been replaced with “call before you come over” or “give me a couple of hours to straighten up” or “let me get out my planner” or my personal favorite “I can get together one week from next Thursday for two hours.”

With all the preparation and diligence that goes into actually “seeing ” anyone, you’d think we would be one happy bunch of people merrily going along with our lives joyously skipping towards ecstasy.

Instead, we are always tired and overextended.

Which of course allows us to blame others because our time is being infringed upon and we don’t know how that happened.

For godsakes people: wake up!

There is a very simple, time-honored, and immediately applicable solution: turn off the machines. Unplug. For a designated period of time daily, commit to actually seeing people, talking to people face-to-face. If someone is talking with you, do not text and feign interest.

We are not designed to do nine things at once.

Why not bring back the time-honored tradition of letter-writing, sending thank you notes.

We can turn this around. It is time for a people-based movement. It’s extremely difficult to begin a movement if I don’t know you.

Remember, Bayard Rustin, MLK, Gandhi, Ikeda, Fannie Lou Hammer didn’t have access to the internet and none of them ever sent a text.

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