Have we become so comfortable communicating with each other via social media, emails or SMS, that we no longer feel the need to actually be in each other’s company to chat?
And how much of our communication is lost in translation because of this?
After much waiting, my husband finally got his new iPhone 4s yesterday. I know this because he came cart wheeling into the kitchen last night, landed on his feet and then excitedly spoke into it like a scene straight out of Star Trek.
“Siri send my wife an SMS and tell her I am going to be late.”
After a few beeps, up popped my SMS from hubby: “I’m going to be late”.
Nifty eh? But then I promptly turned around and said “Where the hell is the smiley face, and where is the “I love you shnookums!” Are you in a bad mood?”
Ok, so I didn’t really say that because I am not psycho. But had I have gotten a blunt sms like that from my hubby on any other given day where he was not standing right next to me in the kitchen with his gleaming excited eyes mumbling “My preciousssss” and stroking his new toy, I may have been slightly put out at the tone of the SMS.
Why would I misconstrue the tone of his SMS?
Well because I was a tad grumpy when I got home yesterday, and anything without a smiley face at that stage of my day I was considering to be hostile communication. This made me think about the way I have been communicating with people in the last few years since social media took off.
It’s become a lot easier to just SMS, email, or “Facebook” someone than to pick up a phone and actually talk to them or have a face-to-face conversation for that matter.
But by taking the easy route we’ve lost the most important aspects of communication: tone of voice and body language
For example, you suspect your husband of cheating. You SMS him and ask him about it. He responds: “I love you, don’t be daft”. You read this while thinking he’s lying to you. The tone would sound devious and condescending.
Now imagine him saying this while smiling because he actually thinks you’re being really silly. Both conjure up entirely different emotions. But which one is right?
Have we entirely lost touch with reality, where we feel more comfortable having genuine, or sometimes hard conversations via an SMS or an email, rather than speaking to the person face to face or by phone so you can gauge their tone of voice?
Why have we become so afraid of communicating with someone in their own space?
There are relationships breaking up on BBM, marriages ending over email and all with no actual verbal or physical contact - meanings being misconstrued left right and centre.
Ask yourself this. Could you for one week, deal with all your day-to-day dramas by actually confronting the person you want to face to face?
Or rather pick up your phone and call your husband to tell him you love him so he can hear the adoration in your voice and not just see the words on a screen?
Or did you just get that nervous feeling in your tummy just at the thought of not being able to hide behind your devices?
Personally, I think all serious issues should be dealt with face to face, but it’s perfectly acceptable to order “tea in the west wing” from hubby via an SMS on a Sunday morning when he’s standing in the kitchen and you’re still cuddled up in bed.
Remember that if you could misconstrue a meaning, then so could the other person on the other side of your phone
To push home my point of us having lost touch with reality and to show you how completely wrapped up we have become with communicating on our phones, did you know that you can now download an application that works with your phone camera and allows you to not have to look up while walking and texting?
Your phone will show you via a small screen if there are any obstacles in front or under you. So you can focus on the “important things in life, your SMS, instead of the important things around you, like living - walking, talking, breathing....