Compliments of Joan M. Mas via Flickr

Compliments of Joan M. Mas via Flickr

Our new-fangled gadgets may guarantee fast communication, but not connection. So engrossed is the average person that simple pleasures fall by the wayside – we fail to take the time to “tip our hat” to those in our immediate proximity.

In the digital connected age individuals feel isolated – because they are too busy looking down at e-mail, surfing the web, or texting other people. We miss the humans who hover in our midst.

Stopping to talk to the person next to you, in the hallway, at the lunch table, or better yet, making proactive efforts to find out how they’re doing (particularly at work) may go a long way in creating more productive relations. Texting does not need to occupy our every spare minute.

I remember twenty years ago (before the ubiquity of cell phones) how people spent more time talking to one another, as opposed to at one another. We’re surrounded by words, but not the spoken kind. Some of your friends and acquaintances might just love a phone call – a richer medium in which you can better grasp mood, intention, and nuance.

Email text and SMS were never intended to usurp genuine human contact; they were simply meant to automate routine messages which could just as easily be sent in batch mode. Relationships with e-devices are two dimensional at best, despite the message of the movie “Her.” To enrich the lives of both others and ourselves, try the following:

  • Acknowledge individuals around you. Extend a greeting, ask a question, engage in all too often missed small talk. Let others know you appreciate their presence.
  • Rekindle lost relationships. If there’s someone to whom you haven’t spoken in a long while, why not stop by their office or give them a call? A family member would probably be delighted if you took the initiative.
  • Leave texting and e-mails for a specific time of day. This will free you of incessant checking, and leave more time to confab with the 3D connections you might otherwise miss.
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All viewpoints expressed by Jackie Gilbert are her own, and not of her employer.

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