Keep talking I’m listening……………but I’m just going to sit here, never make eye contact, mutter the odd ummhmm, throw out a random “Oh really?” and proclaim “That’s interesting!” while I reply to this E-mail/Text/Facebook post/Instagram hashtag/twitter tweet…….because I can multitask.
If there’s one thing I’ve noticed, it’s that I notice things. Things that seem to be accepted by the majority as “just the way it is”, but I seem to see as the greatest downfalls of our current society.
One of those things? Our complete lack of attentive meaningful conversation.
When I think about this, my mind always wanders back to a fellow I used to work for. When he spoke, he said things like I’m listening. I care. I’m Interested. Yet the whole time his eyes and thumbs never left the screen of his phone. Oh and if there happened to be a phone call come in, be prepared to get the index finger held up in your face and IF you were really lucky he would actually take the time and instruct you to “Hold that thought”.
It drove me insane, and at the time I took it personally.
You see, I’m a rather literal person and if someone says they’re listening. Then you better be listening. NOT checking your damn phone every two seconds. He wasn’t alone in his actions, so many people do it in fact that it’s become accepted as normal human interaction. This same fellow would also tell you: Good job, and I appreciate it….. again never looking at you, face in his phone. Again not unique in his actions but he believed that because he said it, that was good enough.
His actions spoke that he was always on the lookout for something “better”. His body language said your conversation wasn’t deemed worthy of his time. His compliments insincere, and in my opinion, an insincere compliment is better left unsaid. It does more damage than saying nothing at all. The flip side is, and this is the crazy part, people have become so numb to an actual compliment that they don’t even notice if it happens. Unless it comes posted on social media they don’t even recognize an actual human paying them a compliment or saying a sincere thank you.
And I know it may sound like I’m trying to make an example of the gent I worked for, but I’m not. Because he’s not alone. Everywhere you look, people are more interested in inanimate conversation with their phone, hashtags, media feeds, tweets, and likes than an actual human connection. Go to a restaurant, I’ve seen an entire family of 5 sitting at a table, phones in face, not a word of conversion while they await their meal. May this also be the same father who would claim that his family is the most important thing in the world to him? Does having your phone stuffed in your face relay that message?
The worst part is, no one even notices they’re doing it. It’s become such a popular habit, it’s now acceptable in our society to ignore a human sitting directly in front of you in favor of #checkmytextcuzitcan’twait
Worse than the worst part? Yep. Worse. I’ve been guilty of checking a text mid conversation with someone. Wow. Pot….you just called the kettle black. But, it wasn’t until I worked for that fellow who took it to the extreme, that I notice the habit. It took consciously paying attention to break it. Sometimes I slip up, usually I catch myself, and intently apologize for my inconsideration. I no longer take it personally either if it happens to me. Most people just don’t know any better. That’s the sad part.
You can’t multitask as well as you think you can. You can tell someone you’re paying attention all you want. If you’re not…..your actions will show it.
Just something I’ve noticed.