Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Human Contact

A good friend of mine made a keen observation the other day. An observation that, while I didn't like, I agree with.

She and her husband had called me to meet up with them to go to a movie. I didn't answer the phone- because I hate using the phone. He didn't leave a message as I openly pride myself on not listening to voicemail (case in point: I just listened to a message on Sunday from my brother that had been recorded Dec 15th).
I found out later that they'd gone to a movie and had wanted me to come.

"Why didn't you text?" I asked. "Why didn't you answer your phone or call us back?" they answered. (trying to prove a point)

However I'd text them to get together after the movie at a local pub. She replied at 1am saying she hadn't checked her phone. She later made the comment : "I was out with a bunch of friends having fun. Why would I check my phone to see if there are other things happening? I was paying attention to the people I was with."

And while I don't like it, that's the comment I agree with. She had chosen to be present in her immediate surroundings and not pay attention to that elusive "other" friend reaching out via bb/email/text/insert social media option here. And while there are those (me) that say technology helps people communicate better or more often I do recognize there are limitations or drawbacks.

How many times have you been affronted that your current company keeps a blackberry on the table during dinner? Or they check their text while you're talking to them? Is your company not good enough? Are you not engaging/entertaining enough? What is so freaking important that they can't put their bb down for an hour or two- and enjoy the company in front of them? Or sometimes when you do communicate via text, the correct meaning doesn't come across?

Now the counter argument is that we have these new methods of communication- which create new habits and behaviours. There is a large (maybe younger?) percentage of the population who are bred on these new methods and for whom it is the new norm to talk via twitter. To converse only via text.

And who is to say that the earlier adopter (me) is the one who should change her behaviour (stop texting) because others are holding onto the 'old ways' and not willing to jump on the train?! Does it come down to who is the most stubborn?

But maybe there is a halfway to meet? I can't give up texting altogether, nor do I want to. But perhaps I can pick up the phone a bit more often. And perhaps I can put away the blackberry when I'm out with friends- showing them that I value their company just as much as the person on the other end of the text.

I made one of my resolutions/goals to reach out via phone more. Though it's form of contact some may perceive as archaic, I admit that it still trumps the electronic contact in many ways. Though I'm still not listening to voicemail.

1 comment:

Laine said...

you are alone! I'm not a voicemail person either - if I see that I've missed your call, I'll call you back or text you or FB you or whatever. I hate checking my voicemail!!