When are you making me brownies? Do you know where can I find almond flour? Can you please send me the notes from today?
When are you making me brownies?
Do you know where can I find almond flour?
Can you please send me the notes from today?
These are how conversations online begin in this digital age. Unfortunately, it seems like basic social etiquette of asking about one’s well being, about the family, about one’s work, or about life in general have gone out of the window. Smart modes of communication seem to have made our conversations cold and to the point. Emotions have gone missing and convenience seems to have taken over compassion.
But would we want our kids to grow up to be adults with no empathy?
Every single day, I remind my kids that when they meet someone they know, they MUST greet them with a smile and ask them about their well being. The struggle is real believe me! Children are often so caught up with their play and imagination that they tend to be too distracted to acknowledge a new presence.
But what is our reason as adults to have no time for basic etiquette? So many of us are guilty of communicating with our family and friends only when we need something or need to know something. Unfortunately, the desire of keeping in touch and the feeling of wanting to be there for someone is slowing fading away.
Communication Years Ago
Almost two decades ago, I moved to the US to go to university. When I was leaving home, I took with me a little telephone directory filled with my family and friends phone numbers. I manually entered each number on my phone and stored them all. Those were the days when we made phone calls to keep in touch. Then came the email and it became the coolest mode of communication.
Even then, emails were filled with emotion and would make one feel so close to someone so far. We poured our hearts and minds out in our emails and saved our loved ones replies for a later read (which would be so comforting!) We probably had more value for emotions and etiquette because we saw our parents and everyone else around us displaying it. How I wish I could turn back time!
As much as technology plays a huge role in the advancement of human evolution, the question is…is it helping us evolve into better human beings? You may have all heard the cliche line that smart gadgets are making humans less human ?
Using Technology As Tools
Not necessarily because a lot of people use these gadgets wisely to enhance their skills, to get their work done, to run a business and so much more. Using social media responsibly is an art too. But when it comes to communicating, relationships seem to have been taken for granted, and time and convenience are given more priority.
In the age of NO mobile phones and NO internet, we were all so happy and content with Graham Bell’s invention. Who remembers those days when you would wait for the clock to strike 12, to call your friend and wish them ‘Happy Birthday!’ That excitement of being the first one to wish (sigh!) and the disappointment of finding an ‘engaged tone’ because someone else beat you to being the ‘first one’ to wish your friend.
Life was so uncomplicated. ‘Call Declined’ in those days was keeping the handset off the hook. Even if we were in deep sleep we would reach out to that phone because if we didn’t, then it would just keep ringing. Back then, receiving a phone call and telling the person that you will call them back later was more convenient. Besides that is the right thing to do!
Invitations for gatherings, congratulatory messages, wishes for special occasions and asking for one’s well being, which were all done over the telephone have been replaced by Whatsapp messages.
We may have hundreds of Facebook friends and thousands of Instagram followers, but even today one phone call from a dear one, and you are left smiling all day. Feel blessed if you still have a few loved ones, who make time for a phone call. Those are the ones who you need to hold on to.
Let us take our relationships away from the digital world and bring back the warmth into our relationships.
- Ditch the likes and comments and meet up for a cup of coffee.
- Avoid typing a message and make that call instead.
- Once in a while, make a video call to a loved one who lives far away.
- Start your online conversations by inquiring about the other person’s well being.
- Initiate a meet up and don’t just wait for someone else to make a plan.
- Plan a yoga session together or a digital detox getaway.
- Set up play dates so that you can catch up with friends, while the kids are busy playing.
Let’s not forget that one day our children will grow up to follow in our footsteps. The world is only moving ahead at a much faster pace than before. The least we can do is inculcate in our coming generations – the value of relationships and the importance of social etiquette. Perhaps this could be our small contribution to making the world a better place!