“Let us make a special effort to stop communicating with each other, so we can have some conversation.”
― Mark Twain
In words that might have sounded something like grunts had he been speaking, the young man’s text was barely decipherable as the English language goes. Seeing a young lady in person after having communicated quite a bit on Twitter showed her apparent inability to speak when not behind a screen. At a time when people seem to be more interested in simply reporting their thoughts than actually sharing ideas, maybe it’s time to do as Twain said and stop communicating (with devices) and only allowing for our own thinking so we can have some conversation.
The art of conversation seems to be lacking in our world of abbreviations and acronyms that can be easily sent in a text or tweet. In a society where we are trying to teach children that they need to work out a solution when they both want the same toy, it seems that many adults have avoided practicing what they preach. A conversation is just a talk, between two or more people, in which news and ideas are exchanged. (Oxford Dictionary) It sounds so simple. Two people enjoying some coffee or maybe an order of nachos, exchanging ideas and news, and coming away still friends and maybe a little wiser. Why, then, is conversation a lost art? Part of the answer might be fear.
Fear seems to drive a lot of the problems in our society: fear of going to the doctor or dentist, fear of death, fear of germs, fear of people who don’t look like we do. It seems to me that fear is also what has kept many from leaving the safety of a text or tweet into the unchartered waters of conversation. What if we disagree? What if you ask me a question I can’t answer, which would make me feel dumb? What if… So many things that could go wrong, but with a few tools, so much could go right.
These simple ideas are your tools to help remove much of your fear of a conversation. You might discover that it won’t be so scary the next time you are alone with someone. You never know when your conversation could lead to discovering an employer who thinks you’re just who she needs, or an author who thinks your story should be written. It’s time to take back the art of conversation, to add value to life, and it begins with you.