It’s weird – even though technology has given us the ability to communicate over vast distances, sharing our thoughts with friends across the world in mere seconds, it seems to be harder than ever to keep in touch with people.
We go through all the motions – we’re genuinely happy to see people after not having talked for so long; we want to get more people around us that we’d love to spend our time with – but when it comes down to investing the time needed to build strong, lasting relationships, we often fall flat on our faces.
So why do we suck so badly at doing something that can often enrich and improve our lives?
1: THE SOCIAL NETWORKING EFFECT
Because we share so much of our lives online, what do we have left to talk about in letters and emails? Instead of needing to call or write to a friend to see what they’re up to, we can just check out their profiles to get up to speed. With all of the constant interaction and semi-shared experiences, the relationships that may once have been close become far more casual, regulated by friend groups and user circles.
2: TOO BUSY FOR BUDDIES
Who’re we kidding – we’re busy people. Way back when, socializing and keeping other people in our lives was very much integrated into our schedules: gatherings at church, various celebrations, time spent in others’ homes during long journeys from one place to another – anywhere you looked, relying on others was an important part of life.
Now, our work couldn’t be more separated from our social lives. Our commutes are siloed as we keep ourselves lost in our own worlds of thought. Rather than being a part of communities and large groups of people being the norm, we need to make an extra effort to feel connected to others. And our efforts have been re-prioritized to other areas of our lives.
3: NO ONE IS AN ISLAND – YET WE STILL TRY TO PULL IT OFF
And let’s face it – we aren’t so connected anymore. We don’t live in villages and communities of shared ideals anymore. We live in buildings storeys high next to people we barely know. We move in and out of neighbourhoods without introducing ourselves to others or getting a welcome basket. It’s just not something we do anymore.
So we’re so used to going it alone that we just don’t try as hard anymore. We’ve been given so many tools that we can live our lives essentially on our own, even if we won’t be able to do AS well without the power in numbers that come from communities.
So don’t beat yourself up just because you didn’t get around to writing that letter or replying to that email. You’re not that bad a person because you needed to put off that visit or reschedule a lunch. You’ll get around to it – just try a little harder. Because if you don’t find a way to keep in touch with the people that matter to you, you’ll soon find that nothing that you try to repair those relationships will EVER matter.
–Casey E. Palmer