I love texting! Texting is just easier, less intrusive and certainly less awkward then conversing over the phone, at least in some cases. However, we need to be aware of the consequences that texting has on real conversation. Texting or phone conversations for that matter do not allow for the observation of body language or facial gestures. We aren’t looking someone in the eye, and they can’t know whether we are nodding in approval or shaking our heads in disapproval or rolling our eyes. In real conversation it is a give and take, we listen to words, we notice body language and we feel the other person’s energy and then we respond with our own words, movements and energy.
I have been in restaurants and noticed couples sitting at tables across from each other with cell phones in hand texting away. They barely look up or utter a peep to each other; they are in textversations with people who are not at their table. This scenario begs the question, what are we missing by behaving this way? Okay, I’m the last person in the world to say that texting isn’t wonderful as I said, I love it. I’m just saying that it comes with drawbacks. We live in a culture where it is very easy to communicate virtually without ever having physical contact. Most of us of course spend time with friends, colleagues and family but the art of conversation has without a doubt been changed and perhaps diminished.
We build our relationships from conversation, real conversation. When we fall in, we fall in love with the person’s words but also with the way they say them in conversation. We fall in love with the way they move and the way they gesture. It is the validation that we feel, hear and see when our words have been heard, understood and mirrored back to us that makes us feel connected. No amount of texting can make up for this sacred exchange between two people.
Perhaps to preserve the art of conversation we need to make conscious efforts to move out of our comfort zones and get into the field, if you will. Our senses and abilities are always sharpened out in the field. Next time you reach for your phone to text or email a friend, consider putting on the tea pot and sitting down together for a chat. Texting may allow us to stay in touch more easily and it is incredibly convenient but we can’t smell the tea or see the look on another person’s face when they are happy to see us.