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For the past month, I’ve been spending time with a friend in the hospital. Although her illness is serious, our conversations have been inspiring. The sessions last from an hour to five hours and cover everything from dreams, personal challenges in life, interests, and even the pranks we’ve both enjoyed during our lives. Strange thing is, we’ve known each other for many years, but until now, we’ve never enjoyed each other in a deep “best friend” way. Cocktail parties, lunches and dinners with friends do not allow for one-on-one visiting and conversations are limited to superficial information. But, that said, I’m perplexed as to why we don’t make time to really talk.

Today, sitting at my desk texting my daughters, and checking email, the answer and reason became clear. Technology. Don’t get me wrong, I love technology, and know it has opened up doors and opportunities for business and wordsmiths, not to speak of things like using my cell phone to find my daughter when shopping at Target, or whipping out that portable device to let a friend know I’m held up in traffic and will be late. I’m even guilty of arranging a night out with girlfriends by text.

As a writer, it’s easy for me to become a recluse and send messages without picking up a phone, but it doesn’t at all unleash a barrage of dialogue necessary to know how a person “really is” or what is “really” going on in their lives. Realizing that the art of conversation is slowly disappearing is startling. The last time I picked up the phone to have a meaningful conversation with a friend….actually, not sure when that was.

Still, getting an immediate answer to a question or receiving a report without waiting for the phone to ring has merits. So my thought is, maybe I can achieve a balance to both. It can only deepen my knowledge of friends and at the same time, improve my conversational skills. How about you?

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