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HettienneB
 
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The delicate art of communication

05 December 2012, 15:00

*rolls my eyes like a teenager* “Message: Communication ERROR text missing”

The reason for the eye rolling? It seems that in our amazing society of today, one where we have instant messaging and email on our phones, well where we have portable little telephone boxes we walk around with (the thought hits me right between the eyes), people seem to have forgotten the ancient art of communication. Just like my very sleek sell phone just did! 

I remember a time (oooooo boy this is going to give away my age!!) when the only phone we had was a home phone, a very expensive land line that could only be used in cases of emergency. If mom forgot the milk she had to wait until I got back home to send me right back to the shops (eyes rolling I may add). If a friend wanted to say “Hi”, they probably had to come to my house rather than dare use the landline to phone me.  I remember sitting and talking to friends in my room for hours about absolute nonsense!! But you saw them in person. You communicated. Not just by using your words, (and this I say because IM abbreviations is a complete subject on its own!) but through your body language. Neighbors greeted each other as they all left for work at the same time in the mornings or stood talking over the wall in the back of the yard about the wife being difficult again.

It seems if I look back that people cared about each other when they truly communicated. You could see from their body language what was meant rather than completely freaking out because you misunderstood the abbreviated message.  These days you dare not discuss religion; it usually causes some kind of tiff. Discussing politics? Well that just might get you into bigger trouble than you could possibly imagine. If you ask how the family is doing, you get the standard answer: “Good” when in actual fact it probably is the complete opposite and divorce is around the corner.

There are so many causes that I am way too scared to even touch that subject. I can not discuss school with my children because then I get that very famous teenager eye roll accompanied by “Ah Mom!!!” At work the big topic usually ends up with office politics which then in turn becomes part of the office politics and before you can blink you are in the office of the CEO explaining your actions!

What does that leave for a good old conversation like you used to have in the good old days? The weather!!! Which it seems has taken on a life of its own. Has it become that difficult to put aside your ego sometimes and really listen to the other person’s point of view? Or do we always have to be on the defensive to prove ours? What has become of discussing a subject and then maybe just agreeing to disagree rather than it becoming this huge feud between neighbors that drives the whole street to all out war. Why have we become so very impatient?

I sit and think of a pretty girl with a crown on her head saying “All I want is world peace”. At one point in my life I thought these girls needed a life!!! Now that I see a world gone topsy turvy, I tend to agree with these beauty queens. What happened to being able to disagree but still respecting the other person enough to not lower your standards by fighting back with foul language?

Forget your sell phone at home sometimes. Switch it off and go visit that friend you haven’t seen in forever. Wave at your neighbor, they might think you have gone a bit mad, but they might surprise you when you need help. Really listen to someone when they talk to you. Put aside your ego sometimes, you might be surprised at all the new information out there, if you only opened up your mind. Give that guy driving that expensive car, who absolutely has to be that one car in front of you in traffic, the chance to go in front you, smile at him and if he does not thank you, see it as your good deed for the day. Let the little old lady standing behind you in that very long express line, with her trolley filled up to the roof, the next open till, she might be all alone in this world and your action might be the last kind deed someone does for her.

Be more patient with others, accept them for what we all are, imperfect human beings who are all just trying to get out of traffic or the store as soon as possible. Really communicate with friends and family. Live your life! Don’t just go through life barely surviving it.

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