May 19, 2011

A Communication Deficit

We are running a deficit, every day I am witness and party to this need that our competence does not have enough.

We are running a communication deficit.  A loss of understanding and ability to openly and authentically communicate with each other.

We no longer know how to communicate in authentic conversations.  The increase of passive aggressive means of communication (Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, etc) is allowing people to hide from communicating openly and face to face.

Our collective interpersonal competence is weakened.  It goes hand in hand with the sound bite news cycle and the Twitter-length quip. By being sarcastic, sharp and witty, we can avoid those uncomfortable conversations that we need to have real, authentic relationships.

And I’m not sure what we are afraid of.

We risk being called out. Being scrutinized. Being recognized.  We risk honesty and sincerity.

I am as guilty for it as anyone.  I am quick to the “chirp” of someone else’s misfortune to build a fragile sense of community. My sarcasm and one-liners are often used as a barrier to authentic connection and a way to the easy answer. Despite my attempt to be open, I sometimes avoid these conversations for fear I will be isolated or insulated.

But I must change.

We are building a community of teens that rip on each other as friends.  They no longer know how to take authentic conversations where they must reveal vulnerability. They question the need. They walk with their arms in front of their face blocking themselves from that which they fear, rather than walking with arms open ready to receive.

We are running a deficit.  And I am afraid of who will eventually have to pay.

Today’s Challenge: Have an uncomfortable, authentic conversation with someone whom you don’t usually talk.

1 Comment

  • You are so right. A new friend commented to me last evening that she was so happy, impressed, and touched, that when I went to her home for the first time on the weekend to meet and talk that I didn’t check my phone every 20 seconds/take it out at all. I can’t believe we are living in an age where we are in constant communication with each other and the world and people are truly grateful for a simple courtesy and conversation.

    Furthermore, I couldn’t believe that today one of my students sent his first ever e-mail. Which, I would argue is more authentic than twitter, facebook or otherwise. Incredible. Our connection is immediate, constant, and yet entirely superficial.

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