• Steve Hanson

Communication Breakdown

People just don't talk anymore.

Ah yes, the nauseatingly familiar refrain, and war weary battle cry of the geriatric generation, of which I am now a proud card carrying member. However, in this case, I'm afraid I'm going to have to break rank.

We talk.

Boy, do we talk. More than ever.

We talk. We also yell, scream, shout, text, type, and tweet. We have a great big, heaping bowl of righteous anger for breakfast, without so much as even a little milk needed to wash it down.

For lunch? How about some deep fried finger pointing, dipped in some rich and tangy superior sauce.

A mid-afternoon snack of chips and bottled water (a guy's gotta eat, am I right?), and for dinner, a generous portion of "poor me" surprise, most often grilled over an open Facebook.

Is any of this gluttony actually good for us? Hell, no! A moment on the lips, another sunken ship.

But, it's what we do. Besides, it tastes sooooo delicious.

The point to all of this is that never before, in the history of planet earth, have we talked so much AT each other, while communicating so little, WITH each other.

No, I'm afraid that the question is not if we are talking, but rather, why are we talking so much?

And anyway, if everybody's talking, who's listening?

Talking is simply the process of delivering information. Communication is having the willingness to take that information, and use it constructively to respond and engage, in the hope of establishing a rapport, that will ultimately lead to less confrontations, and far more solutions.

Well, La Dee Freakin' Dah, right? I know, I know...

That being said, it may sound like a bunch of new age tree huggin' hippie crap, but I'll stand by it.

And for the record, I don't wear sandals, or eat granola.

I have however, been married.

For that matter, I've been divorced and remarried.

I have children, and great friends. There are also co-workers, family members, in-laws, acquaintances, business partners, etc...

What do they all have in common?

Well, they're relationships.

And relationships are like crops. They need to be cultivated. They need to be maintained.

It takes effort. It takes work. It's not always pleasant, and it rarely requires the path of least resistance.

But as the old saying goes, we reap what we sow.

I have been in the same room with two other adults, who proceeded to carry on a lengthy conversation with each other, via text message, over a rather extended period of time. Apparently, their mouths were voluntarily disengaged, but their texting thumbs were in fine form.

And no, to answer your question, the reason for the text conversation was not because they were talking about me. I know this to be a fact. They simply preferred to text.

I have been at work, and waited for over an hour, because one person had sent an email to a co-worker, and was awaiting their response before deciding how to proceed. They resided five cubicles apart, and both were present at the time.

I have attended meetings where people droned on and on, and yet not a single thing of substance was said. Well, that's not entirely true. They did say that they had to cut the meeting short, and I remember finding that to be a useful bit of information, as well as music to my ears.

I guess they were late for another meeting, where the topic of discussion was scheduled to be the over-abundance of company meetings.

Politics? We have two sides now. No, not democrat and republican. Right and wrong. One is 100% right, 100% of the time, and the other is 100% wrong, 100% of the time.

Who's who, and which is which? Depends on who you ask.

We now treat loud with louder, mean with meaner, crazy with crazier, and dumb with dumber, all in an effort to decide once and for all, who is saner.

I don't think I'm asking for much.

Go ahead and enjoy the comforts of technology, but never forget the importance of human contact.

A little dignity for ourselves.

A little empathy for others,

Adults acting like, well...adults, and setting an example our children can respect.

This used to be the absolute bare minimum.

Now, it's the most that I dare hope for.

Oh, my aching head.

But don't worry about me. I've got aspirin.

However, my aching heart?

I'll let you know if I find something that works.

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