“But I text you! Didn’t you get it?”
“You didn’t see it on Facebook?”
“I put it on my Instagram.”
“I don’t know how you missed it. Everyone else saw it on my page.”
Does any of that sound familiar to you? It sounds very familiar to me. They are often responses that I get from amazed and bewildered friends and loved ones who try to explain how it is my fault that I somehow missed an important event, invitation or announcement because I did not “see” it on social media, or somehow I did not get the text message. In some sort of strange way they had convinced themselves that it was not worth calling or sending an invitation in the mail to let me know personally about something that was so valuable to them and would have been valuable to me…an event that would demand my presence but was not attended because I did not know about it. A hurt goes unacknowledged. A celebration goes unattended. A congratulations goes unspoken. A relationship is broken unnecessarily. WHY? Because social media has taken over the responsibility of human courtesy, kindness and connection. We rely on social media to communicate the words and the feelings that we, as humans, used to sit face to face, knee to knee and eye to eye and be able to SAY. What was once spoken is now written, and we are not the better for it.
Please don’t get it twisted. I LOVE TO TEXT. I can hold multiple conversations with different people, cook some scrumptious spaghetti, throw a load of clothes in the dryer AND help my second grader with homework all at one time. Having a full blown conversation in the conventional sense would not afford me those luxuries. BUT (yes, there is a HUGE but) I know when it is time to pick up the phone and hear the sound of the voice on the other end. Better yet, I know when it is time to set a lunch date or a quick rendezvous for a cup of coffee because I need to see the face of my friend who just lost her job or found out that the test results were not favorable. There is a need for her to SEE me, FEEL my support and be able to tell from the look in my eyes and the feel of my hand on top of hers that everything is going to be alright, and even if it takes a long while to be okay- I WILL BE THERE.
There have been countless times that I tried to determine a person’s tone from a text. It is difficult to do. I mean, I am not the most technologically savvy person, but I do know that BOLD letters mean intense expression- usually anger or excitement, and an exclamation mark added to that means fireworks, hopefully the “good” kind. Anyone who knows me knows that I am the emoji queen!!!!! There is no way to justly display my enjoyment and excitement or disappointment and displeasure than a good old smiley face with heart shaped eyes or the flaming fire with a sad face- usually reserved for my sons who sometimes neglect to do the dishes or take the trash out on Sunday night. Yes, all of those tools are in place to help the recipient “get” the message. But do they always “get it”? And if they do, do they “get it” as well as they could have had we taken the time to talk and better yet- talk face to face?
I don’t live in an unrealistic world thinking that every conversation that needs to be had can be conveniently scheduled on my calendar and carried out. Texting and social media are undoubtedly convenient for some things. Although my world is just as busy, if not busier, than the next mom-teacher-entrepreneur-writer-sister, it cannot thrive without human touch. Everything that I do, as a person and as a professional, demands that I make time to sit in and absorb other people’s energy. I grow in my purpose and on my journey to that place of fulfillment when I can SEE and TOUCH and HEAR and KNOW someone…when I can read their heart and sense their excitement or ambivalence or fear. WHATEVER they are bringing to the table- WHATEVER I am bringing to the table cannot be fully experienced through a text or an inbox message. When did we start believing that social media was strong enough to build relationships that really matter? Why have we left it up to social media to hold the fate of our relationships in its hands? Why are we so confident that social media can maintain relationships that are meant to be managed and cherished by US? Because it is easy. Because it makes no demand that we are vulnerable and open. Because we can hide behind it. Because we can continue to live independently in our own cocoons and pretend as if we are connected based on the amount of likes, views and friend requests we get.
IT IS TIME TO WAKE UP. OUR RELATIONSHIPS WILL DIE THE WORST KIND OF DEATH IF WE DO NOT RETURN TO THE POWER OF HUMAN TOUCH. I want to be touched. I want to see you. I want to hear you. I want to know you. I want to hug you. I want to be a part of your world and let you into mine. THAT takes courage. It is risky. For some it is terrifying- to come from behind the computer…to close the laptop…to put down the cell phone…and TOUCH someone. REACH OUT to someone. BE HEALED by someone’s words and let someone BE HEALED BY YOURS.
It is time.
It is PAST time.
Time to TOUCH. Time to be HUMAN. Time to CONNECT. Time to HEAL. FACE to FACE. HAND to HAND. HEART to HEART.
It is time.