Are We Losing the Art of Conversation?

“Good Morning!” said Bilbo, and he meant it. The sun was shining, and the grass was very green. But Gandalf looked at him from under long bushy eyebrows that stuck out further than the brim of his shady hat.  “What do you mean?” he said. “Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?”  “All of them at once,” said Bilbo.  ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
SOURCE: indulgy.com

“Good Morning!” said Bilbo, and he meant it. The sun was shining, and the grass was very green. But Gandalf looked at him from under long bushy eyebrows that stuck out further than the brim of his shady hat.

“What do you mean?” he said. “Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?”

“All of them at once,” said Bilbo.

― J.R.R. TolkienThe Hobbit

At this morning’s breakfast, my oldest daughter and I were talking about how we’ve both struggled having conversations with people. My 15 yr old relayed how a friend of hers, tends to talk about her new boyfriend but doesn’t ask my daughter what’s happening in her world. My daughter is happy for her friend’s new romance but feels that it’s a one-sided conversation at times.

My daughter, is bit of an old soul. She has always been that way. Sometimes, I think she has a hard time relating to kids her own age. Because of her personality and maturity, her and I have had many long talks about everything and anything. Our relationship reminds me of the relationship that I had with my dad growing up. Even now,  my dad and I are still able to have those deep conversations. (Read this post about the life lessons my dad taught me.)

Does technology play a part in how we relate to each other?

Don’t get me wrong, I love technology. It helped me keep in touch with my daughters when they were still living in PEI. I have connected with some fantastic Twitter peeps over the years. I’ve met people from connecting on  Facebook’s Apps, and now we text/talk to each other frequently. When I was working with Startup Canada, we used to Skype to have our weekly meetings, as we lived in different countries. Over the last couple of weeks, I have been able to connect with other bloggers by participating in Blogger 201 and engaging with them on its discussion forum. I do believe we can have true meaningful relationships online.

Have you noticed when you’re out and about – no one seems to be talking?

You’re at the checkout counter and everyone has their Smartphone out, checking Facebook and Twitter or texting their friends. You go to your local coffee shop and look around, everyone is engrossed in their laptop or tablet.

I had taken my brother to the emergency room the other night. As him and I were sitting there, we started talking about this and that. At one point, I remember looking up and noticed that there was other people sitting nearby. Although, we were all sitting close to each other, we weren’t talking to each other. About an hour later, my  sister (who’s an RN on the night shift) came by to see how my brother was doing. Now, I come from a family of talkers – my brother is no different! As he is talking to our sister, he started to joke around and as an observer you could see others interested in our conversation. Within minutes, everyone joined the conversation, and we were all laughing and started to get to know each other. Even though everyone had a different reason to be there, we were all able to converse and lighten the mood. It made the time go by faster and much more enjoyable.

If we are losing the art of conversation. How do we get it back?

How many times have you been out with friends and they keep checking their phone or texting friends while you’re trying to talk to them? How many times, are you thinking of what to say next, instead of just listening to the other person? Nowadays, families have multi-techonological devices. If I look around my family, laptops are open, Ipod’s are on, Smartphone notifications are going off.  I’m no different from you, I’m there myself. But, are we really connecting?

A Group of Young Professionals Coming Together to Build a Better Society

A social engagement project, FreeConvo, was launched by Michael Scotto, who works in finance, and Tony Cai who’s an IT consultant. They got the idea after sitting down on a couch that had been placed on a sidewalk for trash pickup. They’re now staging conversation sessions all over New York City.

According to the FreeConvo Facebook page, the goal is to take down the barriers we’ve been “trained” to put up. “Have you ever noticed no matter how much you pour into yourself and your own accomplishments that something is still missing?” says the About section. “Likely, you’ve been told to get the best degree, best career, be better than everyone else. Then you get there and you feel empty.” The initiative’s founders suggest the emptiness stems from the fact that we are “rarely thinking of people who could help us, who could connect with us, who could laugh with us.”

Regina Brett, a New York Times bestselling author, newspaper columnist currently writing for The Plain Dealer and The Cleveland Jewish News, and an inspirational speaker, said:

http://www.reginabrett.com/

How my Family Connects

Every week day morning, I drive my girls to school. This short 10 minute commute, gives us a chance to catch up, sing along in the car or tease each other. Because week day morning’s are chaotic, one morning on the weekend, we have a big breakfast. A chance to sit down, enjoy a meal without having to rush out the door for school or work.

I recommend shutting off your devices, stepping away from the screen and talking, really talking. And, yes, hugging too!

How do you make time and connect with those around you?

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Hey, I’m Rosie! I am a strategy consultant from Alberta, Canada. I provide smart, savvy women with advice on their goals and future direction so that they can plan effective strategies for growth, whether it’s personal or business-related. I’ve been featured on Annette’s Rochelle Aben’s radio show “Perspectivepower” and ceoMom’s. When I am not blogging, you’ll find you me drinking coffee, making popcorn and hanging out with my two daughters. If I can follow my dreams, you can too!

0 thoughts on “Are We Losing the Art of Conversation?

  1. That staged couch thing sounds awesome. I love it! And I totally agree with you, I worry for our future because everyone is verbally disconnected. No more people skills, customer service, etc. The digital age has turned some people into the socially challenged and hermits. I mean you never have to leave your house, you can even buy groceries online! We only know how to communicate through social media. Are we supposed to speak only in short hand used via text and twitter. Nice thought provoking post.

  2. That staged couch thing sounds awesome. I love it! And I totally agree with you, I worry for our future because everyone is verbally disconnected. No more people skills, customer service, etc. The digital age has turned some people into the socially challenged and hermits. I mean you never have to leave your house, you can even buy groceries online! We only know how to communicate through social media. Are we supposed to speak only in short hand used via text and twitter. Nice thought provoking post.

  3. I really liked this. I hope we aren’t losing it! That would be awful! The idea of the couch and sitting on a street having a chat sounded amazing. For me, those are the moments that fill my cup.

  4. I really liked this. I hope we aren’t losing it! That would be awful! The idea of the couch and sitting on a street having a chat sounded amazing. For me, those are the moments that fill my cup.

  5. Great post! I’m like your daughter, I ask myself the same questions. I mean, I’m 22 and I use all those devices regularly, but I feel people just don’t communicate anymore, and often feel the web as a “parallel world” different from the one they’re physically living.

    • Exactly! Out of our conversation, we were wondering is it because people are not taught how to start and keep a conversation? Or is it because they are so engrossed in what’s happening in the digital world, they forget to check into to real world.

      • I think both. Digital communication is so much easier than going to talk to a person or call her, but we’re going to the other extreme when we actually don’t know how to communicate outside of the Internet.
        A stupid example: a guy of a girl won’t go to the person they like for example at uni (where they see him/her every day), they just add him/her on Facebook!

  6. Great post! I’m like your daughter, I ask myself the same questions. I mean, I’m 22 and I use all those devices regularly, but I feel people just don’t communicate anymore, and often feel the web as a “parallel world” different from the one they’re physically living.

    • Exactly! Out of our conversation, we were wondering is it because people are not taught how to start and keep a conversation? Or is it because they are so engrossed in what’s happening in the digital world, they forget to check into to real world.

      • I think both. Digital communication is so much easier than going to talk to a person or call her, but we’re going to the other extreme when we actually don’t know how to communicate outside of the Internet.
        A stupid example: a guy of a girl won’t go to the person they like for example at uni (where they see him/her every day), they just add him/her on Facebook!

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