A Life and Travel Blog for the over 30's
Its our fortnightly Cuppa and a Chat time people, grab your brew, get comfy, and as always, feel free to voice your opinion x
This post was inspired by something that I recently did, and thinking about it afterwards, am probably guilty of doing often! I had bumped into my friend in our local town, a friend that I have known since I was 4, but don’t catch up with as often as I probably should. Afterwards, having the gift of hindsight of that encounter, I can see why we don’t catch up as often as we should!
We ran into each other in Morrisons, and did the usual girls thing of squealing and hugging with cries of “Oh look at you, you look great, I haven’t seen you in ages” then had a 20 minute chat, whilst annoying the people having to manoeuvre their laden trolleys around us. Time being against us as ever, I disengaged myself from the conversation with a “we must have a proper catch up, go for lunch/dinner, I’ll text you” a quick hug and air kiss, we went our separate ways.
As I walked away it dawned on me, why will I text her? Why did we plan to make plans? Why didn’t we just sort the date out then and there, while we were both present? I have every intention of seeing her, it wasn’t insincere words said as a parting shot. We meant it. We will catch up over dinner or a few drinks up the pub. But in all likelihood, texts with suggestions of dates will go back and forth, and another good few months will pass before we sort it and get together.
Why? Has it got to the stage where we would rather fire off a quick text, when we think of it, than have a conversation? Is texting the way we communicate now, so few words (and emoji’s) rather than a phone call? It got me thinking about how actually, our phones, the wonderful inventions that were made to keep us connected and available, could actually be disconnecting us. Think about it, I would lay money on the fact (only a fiver or so, Im not willing to lose a lot) that we have all had times where we send a text to someone, only for them to have the audacity and gall, to actually phone us to reply! I mean, do they not know that we are tucked up under our blanket, tea to hand, watching an episode of Mindhunter on Netflix? Why on earth would they call us! What the hell is the matter with them. We look at the phone, annoyed at its ringing, and, despite the phone being right there, let it go to voicemail……….
WTF! Why? Why do we do that?
As I was thinking about this, I felt a burning blush of shame heat my cheeks as I thought of all the times and occasions that this happens on a regular basis with me. For example, I wake my youngest son up at 745 each morning……….by phoning him! Rather than go upstairs to his room, I phone him, knowing his phone is by his bed. When I was living at my parents house, and before the days of mobile phones, (yes, yes I know those of you that are my younger readers, scary thought eh, no phone ) my mum would come up to my room, open my curtains up, pop a cup of tea on my bedside table, quietly chat about what the weather was doing. It was a lovely, gentle start to the day. My son, has a ringing phone because its quicker and dosent stop me shoving washing into the washing machine, or whatever task I am trying to do before the day starts.
Another example, a friends/relatives birthday. I will have no trouble remembering that its their birthday, but rather than call them to wish them a lovely day, and a happy birthday, I send a text, (and yes, I do of course send a birthday cake and celebration emoji with it, Im not that bad a friend…. ) I will also remind my boys to not forget to send their Nan, Granddad etc a text to wish them a happy birthday. I am encouraging them in that lazy way of conversing with someone. Guilty as charged.
Even our banks text us now to tell us we have made a payment, are near the point of going overdrawn, have a great offer available to us etc.
As a society, we seem to avoid talking to people. Being a woman in my forties, all too often I hear people of around my age or older, say that “the youngsters are always glued to their phones and have lost the art of conversation”. I have just given two examples of how it is most certainly not just the youngsters! We are all becoming lazy conversationalists. We often justify it to ourselves by thinking that a text is quicker. As we are tapping out a text, we think to ourselves that the recipient can just open it and respond when they get a sec. We almost make it out that we are thinking of them, making it more convenient for them. If we are honest with ourselves, in most cases its because we are not in the mood/don’t have time/cant be arsed to have a chat. We just want to say what we need to say, in as few words as possible, then forget it.
Have we made our phone the middle man? Do we now use the avoidance of a call or the delay in responding to a text as a way to put off committing to plans or answering a question? Do we use texting to chicken out of a conversation we don’t want to have? A simple text cancelling plans, ‘sorry somethings come up, I cant make Thursday” can make us feel like the consequences will be far more limited than having an actual conversation. Have we made the phone our life screening process?
I have told you how I am guilty of condoning lazy communication with my own kids, but small children are being given this message from a very young age. We have all seen situations where a family are at a meal, the small child starts to fidget or become bored, the parents give them a phone to play on. Instead of engaging with the child, having a book to hand, talking to them, they enforce the message that there is no conversation required, here is a phone. (I must add here, to make myself feel slightly better, that we have a strict-no-phone-at-the-dinner-table-or-when-we-are-in-other-peoples-company policy in our house). I am pretty sure that this is why so many people have rubbish telephone skills. A confident telephone manner seems to be slowly dwindling.
So, what can we do about all this? After my encounter with my friend, I am 100% making more effort to actually pick up the phone to talk, rather than text. I have also made sure that I have my diary in my bag, so that I can make those catch up dates there and then. Small things. Little changes. I am also pretty lucky that my husband is one of the rare breed that hates texting. He still enjoys chatting on the phone with someone and will nag me to answer my phone if it rings. He would agree and pencil in a catch up date with someone then and there. He is so annoying. He is that person that I text, and he phones me back………which I let the answerphone pick up………..Then he follows with a text saying “I know your phone is with you, bloody answer it (angry face emoji)”……………