Disconnected – What are You Afraid Of?

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Disclaimer: Up front. Today it’s an op-ed piece on an event from this morning. Please, read on my sweets.

I decided to stop this morning for a quick coffee after carpool. As I waited in the familiar orange and brown coffee shop, smelling the powdered sugar, I overheard the phone conversation of the woman on line behind me.  Honestly, it could have been my inner Jiminy Cricket speaking. Apparently, like most of us in the cyber age, as “connected” as she is through social media, PTA and the “club,” she has never felt lonelier in her life. She was quiet for a moment and then spoke softly into her blinged out iPhone, “I have hundreds of people who I’m friendly with, but not one true friend. No one.” I realized then that I too have a lot of people who call themselves “friend,” and use the excuse of “life” to counteract why they haven’t called or come out for coffee. We’re reduced to random, impersonal texts and Facebook status updates. Sure, I have “friends,” but like this woman behind me, there’s few I could really call if I were in trouble. Sadly, with all our online connections, we are quite disconnected.

Holy donuts! Not only has this woman had a sad epiphany in Dunkin Donuts, but she’s hit the nail on the head. Our addiction to social ‘connective-ness’ has completely changed the definition of “connected.” We are all guilty. We share our lives on social media and connect with others, but forget what real human contact and gathering really is. Life is beautiful. It is messy and unpredictable. Sometimes it just sucks the big one. But more often than not, we don’t share our true selves with others. Fear, shyness and the irrationality of seeing everyone else’s positive, exciting and adventurous lives hold us back. Now, not only do we not share on social media, but we clam up when we are at face to face social functions as well.

Turn off to turn on and tune in.
Turn off to turn on and tune in.

So, I sat down at the little round table outside, in the humid Florida morning, and I thought about it. Just what is an authentic connection, and how we can have more of them? We cross paths with a gazillion strangers every day (OK, so I exaggerate a little), how can we connect? We are all so different, but I suppose we are a lot alike under the outer fluff. I think we have forgotten the social rules we learned as kindergartners. So today, a brief synopsis. Take notes.

Listen up. How many times in the recent past have you been telling a story to someone, and they are distracted? Maybe they’re more interested in their snapchat stories? It’s absolutely revolting and rude! Don’t be that person. Listen with every fiber of your being. If you start to be distracted, focus, ask sincere questions. Be involved. Come on, your friend is worth it, aren’t they?

Be mindful. I know, you’re sick of me saying it over and over, but it’s a great trait. Everybody has an untold story; some battle that is consuming them. Be mindful and show patience and grace. You’ll see it returned tenfold. Be both empathetic and sympathetic. Compassion and caring cost little, but mean much. And remember, true friends don’t judge.

Shared experiences, even cups of coffee, make for lasting connections.
Shared experiences, even cups of coffee, make for lasting connections.

Be an open book.  I know, being open and exposing your vulnerable pulse points is frightening. I really get it, as an admitted extroverted introvert (yes, there is such a thing) But connecting with someone over shared experiences deepens the connection. It’s how we find like individuals, you know, the ones we call friends.  Don’t worry about the vampires, they’ll find you anyway.

So, I guess I’m going to go home, clean up my social media act, and try connecting with some people a little closer to home. I love my overseas friends – they are awesome, and our conversations range from deep and cathartic, to light and silly. But, it’s unreasonable to expect a coffee date when 6000 miles and an ocean separate us. I guess it’s time to cultivate some local people, the few that I know have my back. And then, I’m going to curl up with my schizophrenic but loyal dog, and wait for you to stop by for a visit. The coffee is always ready.

Let me know what you think – are we losing the battle between humanity and technology? Comment below.😀

Stay motivated and caffeinated!😉☕

No video today, just the tunes my lovelies. Enjoy.

[embedyt] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qm8ClRnVxtE[/embedyt]

 

 

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6 Comments

  1. Glad I checked in on the bean between! (Know what I mean? 😉
    Today’s post is so very true. In this connected world, I think we are lonely. We are so used to having our brains sucked by the glowing screens we have forgotten how to interact in person. (And for people like me who are already a little socially awkward, not a good situation.)
    We do need to do more things away from technology. We need face to face time, eating, drinking, and laughing together. (I think that’s why we were all secretly were envious of the characters on “Friends.”)

    • Shannon, I think you’ve got it! Glad to see you here, it’s been a while. Stay motivated and caffeinated my prose-ing friend, xx

  2. So true!

    It is a little sad. Even online “communication” is on the decline. I’ve been trying to set aside more time to hang out with friends and family. It can be hard to find a good balance between the two, especially when our life has practically come to revolve around technology.

    Even when we went out to eat the other day with some family and friends, people were sitting there on their phones. (Someone was even rude enough to accept a call at the table.) It’s crazy how much things have changed.

    I think at some point in our lives, we all go back to seeking more personal connections. So maybe not entirely a losing battle?

    But that’s just me being hopeful 😉

    • Lauren, I honestly belive, optimistically, that humans as a whole need to reconnect. It’s like they say in the medical field- the power of human touch and interaction outweighs many modern medicines. As a people, we need to remember this, and turn off so we can tune in to the bigger picture, and the more important stuff life has to offer.
      When we go out, we have a no phone rule unless it’s a 911 from one of our kids.

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