I get so much slack from my friends and family for not answering my Whatsapp messages and/or Instagram DM’s and I’ve just gotten super tired of explaining myself to them because if I’m keeping it 100 – I also don’t know why I do it.
I would say it’s a bad habit but then I’d be lying because I used to be really good at keeping an online conversation going for a prolonged amount of time and I’m not really sure when I got bad at it. But if I really have to have a reason, the truth is – my fingers get tired.
I’ve grown to value face-to-face conversations so much and so online conversations have become somewhat of a chore for me. I would rather meet up with someone and have a 5 minute conversation on the side of the road, than to text them back and forth for an hour. Is that weird? I don’t know – do I care if it is? No, not really.
I often find myself apologising for replying late or sometimes (if I’m feeling edgy) not replying at all and it’s nothing personal, I’ve tried to explain this and I never succeed. I had this conversation with a mate not so long ago and it turns out I’m not the only one who feels this way. See, online conversations aren’t as tangible and genuine as we’d all like to think. It’s undeniable that THERE IS a level of being genuine when texting but it’s not all the way there and we have “Catfish” to prove this.
You can LITERALLY pretend to be someone you’re not online and say things that you don’t mean and get away with it for months, even years. Online interactions are not immediate; you have the luxury of thinking of an appropriate reply and structuring your words so that they come across the way you want to get a specific response. Sometimes people are busy and they can’t fully focus on the conversation being had online and so they just reply with whatever is quickest to type and send.
Now don’t get me wrong, I think online communication is great and it’s convenient and I will never diminish the power of technology that helps us connect easier. However, face-to-face conversations are a treasure. Human interaction is amazing, you not only listen to the words someone is uttering but also the tone in which they utter them. So even if someone says “I’m fine”, if that person has a frown on their face and their tone is hollow – you know damn well that they are not fine.
With face-to-face interaction we are able to learn so much about people besides what they tell us. People’s gestures suggest a lot of things about them and how they feel and those are the things we remember most about them, those are the things that are unique about them and ultimately the things we learn to love about them.
I’m not saying let’s throw away our phones and laptops and live like Stone Age people because I’d be the first to break under that societal structure. I just want us to be aware that these devices were not made to replace human interaction but rather enhance it. When you’ve run out of data or the Wi-Fi has been disconnected, remember that regardless – we can still connect.