This post might not resonate with everybody. But if you are an 'introvertish' homebody, read on...
I recently stumbled on an advert on TV: A young man sharing on the benefits of face to face contact vis-a-vis virtual. It was presented in spoken word form. Maybe that's why it stuck with me. Or perhaps it was because a friend I hadn't seen in a while, someone I didn't even reckon to be a close friend asked for my number, called me up and suggested we meet up for a cuppa at a local Starbucks.
My first reaction was shock and to my shame, suspicion. Especially as she had to travel farther to me than I had to her. What did she want?? Turns out to my amazement, ALL she wanted was...wait for it...C-O-N-V-E-R-S-A-T-I-O-N.
So meet up we did. We talked about life, love, marriage, kids, work...anything and everything we had (and didn't have) in common. And I must say, in spite of my initial reluctance (I had actually prayed she would cancel...tsk...tsk), it was one of the best 2 hours I had spent with someone in a long time. It was simply conversation. Not a business meeting. Not to check out how useful the person in your career (don't lie your mind goes there sometimes).
I had forgotten what that was like.
What's 2 hours worth in virtual time? Probably 4 hours of texting on Whatsapp, broken up in segments, whilst chatting with 10 other people at the same time. Am I trying to knock down virtual connections- Gosh, no! I have been able to connect with folks I'll probably never see again or live in the same country with again, this side of eternity. I'm grateful for phones, social media etc. But won't it be nice to use social media and Whatsapp to arrange meet ups with folks we CAN meet sometimes?
I worry that our generation is fast losing what 'up, close and personal' looks like. What it means to connect with another person across a table. To be able to see them laugh and look into their eyes. I'm thankful for facetime, and Skype and Google Hangouts and the like. But that's really not the same- kinda like watching your favourite artist in concert live compared to watching online. Given the choice, I think I know which option I'd take.
I understand how challenging this might be sometimes. We live busy lives. We are constantly on the go and if you are a homebody like me, It takes a lot to leave your home. However, as it is a decision I have made, here's how I plan it out:
1. I pick 12 friends (one for each month of the year)- or people I just generally want to get to know better in advance .
2. I call or text them to SCHEDULE a meet up with, one at a time- once a month maybe more if you have the time but certainly not less than once a quarter.
3. Whatever, we decide unless it was a mutual decision, I pay. My treat.
You could even make it more of a group meetup than just one person. The one person thingy is just a personal preference for me. Easier for me to handle. Some friends might offer to split the cost but sometimes that won't be the case especially when it is with someone or people who doesn't really know you.
Apart from the benefits of meeting up with someone face to face, Isn't this just a great way of being a blessing to someone, even if it's just once a quarter? And no, before you go there- I am don't have loads of cash stashed somewhere neither is this process easy for me, particularly because I am naturally shy. Heck, If you are looking for me at a networking event, you'd probably find me perched in one corner of the room. Even saying the word 'networking' has the potential of causing me to break out in a sweat. Why? Cause I worry I won't know what to say.
But I do it anyway driven by a desire to just do something nice for someone else, and then it's just simply amazing to connect with someone in the flesh. I would hate to loose touch...literally.
Anyway, that's my talk for this week. What do you think? Do have anymore ways to make flesh to flesh contact easier in our present day with it's challenges?