Connecting and Listening Better

Sorry for a lack of updates lately. My grandparents have not been doing so well and I’ve been giving them a lot of my spare time, leaving little time for personal tasks like blogging. No regrets, though. I’m heartbroken that they’re sick, but I’ve really enjoyed spending quality time with them and the rest of my family.

With a night to myself, I watched a few TED talks from some of my favorite speakers, and this video from Julian Treasure caught my interest.

In today’s internet-driven, always connected world where we’re so used to instant satisfaction, we look for ways to digest information rapidly. We don’t listen for context and we don’t think critically, we just hear and acknowledge. Stephen Covey says “Seek first to understand, then be understood.” It’s hard to do that if you’re just listening to find sound bites you can play off of to bounce the conversation back to you.

In the world of constant connections, deep and intimate connections often get overlooked in favor of something more interesting, more entertaining, more “now.” As an example, when I say something funny on facebook I get a lot of comments, likes, etc. But a status about my grandparents got very few, and mostly by my closest friends outside of facebook. I’m not insulted by it – it’s a factor of how people use facebook. It’s just not meant for deeper connections. I wouldn’t consider many of my facebook friends “close.” I don’t know how anyone would keep up with 560 “close” friends. Obviously some of my facebook friends are close friends, and I have many close friends who aren’t on facebook at all. Whether they’re on it or not, my best interactions with my true friends don’t come from facebook.

The point I’m trying to make is not that facebook should be used to facilitate close relationships. Don’t get disappointed when the same people who laugh at your funny statuses don’t cry with your sad ones – it’s just not going to happen. The point is not to get so tied up in the world of instant gratification that you overlook connections in the real world. Try a deeper connection. Try listening. For information, for context, for feeling.

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