22 Dec Make Time for Face-to-Face
As grandparents, we’ve all done it–walked into a room full of loved ones and found everyone glued to their phones. Or we have had the experience of hosting the elongated family for dinner, just to have the teenager’s texting with friends as we try to inquire about college and that they’re dating. Doesn’t it seem like our families really spent some time together when we were growing up? Didn’t we look forward to such parties since they gave us a while to speak, interact with each other, and grab up?
Among the challenges of living in the digital era is certainly That, in some ways, we’ve forgotten how to communicate–really communicate–with each other, and together. Maybe you hear that statement and end up reacting:
“What do you mean by that? Communication today is easier and faster than previously. How have we forgotten how to get it done?”
It is a Fantastic question, and something that Sherry Turkle has been speaking about for many years while analyzing how technology and communication influence relationships. She claims that we will need to “reclaim conversation” and our ability to truly connect with others. According to Turkle, this happens just as we are able to embrace privacy, without trying to fill that emptiness by endlessly “connecting” with others through technology.
It is not that having friends on Facebook and Instagram is Superficial, or that technology doesn’t play a crucial role in helping us remain connected to each other. The issue is in the fact that these mediums may make us feel like we’re connected to a bunch of individuals, when the truth is that we do not really understand how our “buddies” are actually doing. (Many of them probably don’t know how we’re performing, either.) Ironically, these kinds of connections can actually make us feel longer alone.
And what about other things? For example, Ms. Turkle is worried that we are losing the ability to be actual. Why? Because cultivating an online persona makes it possible for us to edit our lives and just reveal the edition of ourselves we need all to see. When we have a conversation over text or email, we could think before we respond, and we have time to polish what we say instead of being required to engage in the present time. In contrast, face-to-face interaction means honest, off-the-cuff dialogue that provides a truer representation of who we are, unedited and raw.
Turkle says that technologies has also fostered what she terms the “Goldilocks effect,” meaning that it makes it feasible for us to maintain our relationships “not too near and not too much, but just right.” In attempting to maintain so many links available, however, we cultivate only that: a link. But that connection doesn’t often entail a meaningful, profound interaction as a consequence of truly spending some time with someone else. In short, all of the “linking” gives us, as Sherry says, the “illusion of companionship with no demands of friendship.” That type of linking looks like touching base, but it does not require that we spend, be within a conversation, give someone our entire attention, or forfeit our time to really speak into somebody.
For all these reasons, it seems critically important that we carve out chances to spend some time with people we love, particularly our children and grandchildren. While they are very adept at video and text messaging (and they’ll likely be thrilled when we participate with them in this way), there really isn’t a substitute for spending time with the younger generation. These interactions can help them love relationships which are real, images which are real, and interactions that are engaging and real. And in a day when so many do not understand the way to have deep–or hard–life discussions, we can mimic what those look like.
As motorcoach providers, we don’t just go tour groups, business executives, wedding parties, or college classes. Guess what? We love family groups, too! When you are prepared to bring each one of your grandkids on a journey, or organize transportation for a huge reunion so everybody can have some face time, we hope you’ll know who to call! It could be our pleasure to serve you!
The information and quotes in this post came from the next TED talks by Sherry Turkle: