We need to talk

It started out as a joke.

Someone noticed if I didn’t have eye contact with the person I was talking to, I’d stop talking.

One of the others in our group thought it would be funny to see what would happen if the lights were turned off. So they had to try. And they did.

And though I was in the middle of a sentence, going about 240 mph I totally stopped. And every time they did it, the results were the same.

In my mind, if someone wasn’t looking at me when I spoke to them, they couldn’t hear me. And old habits die hard, don’t they?

The world is changing

People aren’t making eye contact like they used to.

I’ve especially noticed this when I’m in line at the grocery store.

I used to pride myself on making small talk with the cashier. Asking how their day was going, if it was busy, etc. But now I find a barrier.

They talk without looking at you.

I even had someone tell me, “Have a nice day,” without even looking up.

I still need to talk to them, even if they don’t engage. It’s a challenge for me, but I have to try. Like the time I did here.

Cynthia, my hairdresser, shared a story with me. She said she constantly gets texts from one of her customers, a young girl. The texts come freely.

But once that same customer is in her chair, she doesn’t have a thing to say, the communication is zilch.

I’m afraid people are missing a richer part of communication.

With little emoticons to reflect our emotion and computers who guess at what we want to say, finishing our sentences, we don’t have to try that hard.

And yet, we miss out.

Often people choose texting over talking. And when they do talk, it’s more on the phone than face to face.

But so much is lost. So much.

Face to face

I remember years ago, sitting over coffee at a fellowship and we had to be told to finally disperse. Why? Because all we wanted to do is be together. Sharing our ideas, our big plans for our lives, and doing a lot of laughing. There was laughter.

And now? Now young people still get together, but they’re never without their phones. They sometimes sit, together but are staring at their screens.

Screens that will beckon them no matter what time it is. Screens that demand to be left on, because you never know what message might show up.

But leaving a phone on is nothing compared to leaving a porch light on, or telling someone, “Come on over, I’ll put the coffee on.”

“We have to get together,” some will say.

But they don’t.

Thankful and sad

I have mixed feelings when I think back to those times of sitting around a table and talking non-stop. I’m so thankful we got to experience that. We got to share whatever was going on with our friends. We got to hear the good, the bad and sometimes the ugly. But we got to hear it.

I’m sad for those who have never tasted it. Those who don’t know what it was like to have someone pop over, just to spend time with you.

As a single person, I once got sick over Thanksgiving. I was alone, but not forgotten. I had not one or two people notice, but three different people stopped over to bring a Thanksgiving plate. I felt so touched.

I have tasted what it’s like to be cared for, to be noticed, to be missed.

And I don’t care how many friends we have on Facebook, how many people follow us, or tweet us in a day.

It’s nothing compared to being missed when we’re not there.

The answer?

So what can be done about this?

After all, everyone’s busy, aren’t they?

We always make time for the things that matter to us.

Years ago, there were Christmas cards to send, as well as Birthday cards or Get well cards. There were even Thinking of you, cards.

And there’s something about holding a card in your hand, reading what someone wrote on there in their own hand, not what someone suggested they write. Knowing someone cared enough to pick out the card, and then take it to the post office and mail it to you.

I have tins with my cards. And sometimes when the cards have outlived those who sent them, I can still take them and read the love between the lines. Remembering what we had, and relishing how special it was.

Some people get together in the same place, but they’re not really together.

Time doesn’t stand still. It keeps moving and sometimes it takes the ones we love right along with it.

You can’t get those times back. So we need to grab the moments we can.

I bet we can all think of a loved one we wish we could talk to one more time.


Could we go back to yesterday
when people seemed to find a way,
to visit friends for hours of talk,
or simply chatted on a walk?

Could we go back to simpler times,
all tucked away inside our minds?
I miss the world that used to be;
where I knew you, and you knew me.

Call to Action

Give someone a call, just to talk.
Or if you would rather, drop someone a note or card.
Who do you miss talking to?
I’d love to hear from you.

Visit Anne at AnnePeterson.com

Image credit JessicaPetersonArt.com
Writer. Poet. Speaker. Married to Michael, grandmother of 5. Author of 14 books, including Broken: A story of Abuse and Survival. AnnePeterson.com
Writer. Poet. Speaker. Married to Michael, grandmother of 5. Author of 14 books, including Broken: A story of Abuse and Survival. AnnePeterson.com

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