by Jenifer Garey, Director, Workforce Development Department
How many times have you heard that phrase and automatically have one, or both, of the following responses, “Sure, everything ok?” or “Absolutely, I would love to catch up”. Unfortunately, it most often is one extreme to the other and not enough in the middle. What happened to the art of conversation?
Well, we text, we private message people, we email, sometimes we don’t even use words, we just use emojis. When did this happen? How does all of this lack of conversation actually affect our ability to talk to one another when it really counts?
I have received text messages from my 18-year-old daughter that say, “Can you bring me water?”. I was shocked! I promptly responded, said no, and made her come downstairs to talk to me while she got her water. But then stopped and thought to myself hmmm maybe I have a confession of my own…I have done the same thing. I will text my husband from my home office on the second floor of our home to his home office in the basement, “hey, what are we having for lunch?”. I am embarrassed to admit that, yet I need to in order to initiate change. Like a real change, a long-lasting change, a change to help myself find a way back to engaging in the art of conversation!
Now me forcing my daughter to come downstairs and talk to me wasn’t what most people would consider an important conversation. I disagree, they are all important conversations. The most basic questions can create the best conversations. You can start with “Would you like something to drink” and springboard into a conversation about water conservation around the world. Maybe that is a stretch, who knows, anything is possible. But we have to start by having a conversation. I want to know what other people are doing, what they ate for dinner, if they slept well, are they feeling good, do they need anything. Don’t you want to know the same things? So the next time you think to yourself “I wonder what my mom is having for dinner?” or maybe “I am going to invite Melisa over for a movie night this weekend” don’t text, don’t email, don’t private message. Pick up the phone, drive to their house, it doesn’t matter but ask the question(s) out loud. You may be surprised at the direction of the conversation, but it can start with you. You can start a personal movement to re-engage in the art of conversation.
Let’s see what happens, can we talk?