I’m in an interesting period of my life. I’m working a great deal of the time and am mostly keeping up with friends and family through Facebook, IM, or texting. Interesting side question…when did we quit emailing?
I’m discovering that the English language is reflecting this change so it must be prevalent in others’ lives as well. Have you noticed our new verbs? “Facebook me.” “I’ll text you.” “He IMed me last night.” I have to wonder how to even conjugate these verbs. Text texting texted have texted?
So in a world filled with communication at all hours of the day and night, why is it people seem to be getting together less and less? Why do more and more of the people I speak with appear lonely? Is it that we are spending so much time reaching out and touching electronically that we are forgetting how to actually reach out and touch?
Some tips on good relational skills that seem to be disappearing:
Listen and Ask Questions Other people like to know they’re being heard and that their ideas are appreciated. By being a good listener, you let others know that you value what they have to say and, by extension, who they are. Give a Compliment Everyone loves an ego boost. Noticing something you like about someone and sharing it with him or her is a great way to forge a connection and start a conversation. When giving a compliment, be honest and genuine. Even if you’re complimenting something very small—like the color of the person’s shoes—it’s likely to be appreciated. You might even receive a compliment in return! Detach Yourself From Technology — Temporarily You’re less likely to notice who’s interested in you if you’re constantly checking your voicemail and text messages. Being online or on the phone also sends the message to others that you’re unavailable. Put away your cell phone from time to time and take a look around. Who seems funny or interesting? Which people in the room have you never talked to? Who pays attention to your ideas? Make a mental note and spend a little time getting to know these people face-to-face. Join a Club or Team Having an interest in common with another person gives both of you something to talk about. No matter if that interest is reading, rugby or rock ‘n’ roll, pursuing it with other people is fun and gives you a sense of meaning and belonging. Clubs, teams and other groups also work toward common goals, which is inspiring, teaches you how to solve problems and helps you bond with others. Volunteer A strong desire to help others is attractive to most people, whether they’re looking for a friend or a date. It’s also extremely appealing to colleges and scholarship programs. Channeling this desire into a volunteer project is a great way to meet others, build community and work toward common goals. Laugh Letting others know that you think they’re funny makes them feel good and shows them you’re interested in what they think. It also shows you have a good sense of humor, which is one of the top things people look for in a person.
Reach out and actually touch someone today. See if it doesn’t feel good.