"She texted me, "Your adorable."
I replied, "No. YOU'RE adorable."
Now she thinks I like her...All I did was point out her typo.
When I read that, I started laughing as I reflected back on the many text/messaging conversations I have had over the years. Conversations that really should have been in person, or at the very least over the phone because it would have saved me and the people I was talking with a lot of frustration, miscommunication, and tears.
Recently, I had a text conversation with someone and a part of me was starting to get frustrated thinking, "Why isn't this person realizing I've had such a hard day? Can't they tell from my text what I'm feeling/thinking or do they just not care?!" I have to laugh as I write that because 7% of communication is based on the written or verbal word, but a whopping 93% is based on nonverbal body language. Of course they can't tell! In this world of emojis and emoticons, we are able to mask things that in real life we wouldn't (and shouldn't!) be able to.
I also had an experience rather not so long ago where someone had posted something on one of their social media sites and seeing what they posted, I made some assumptions and was hurt by what I concluded. As I sat there internally simmering and talking it over with the Lord, He kept reminding me to A) not assume and B) not believe everything that I see and hear. Rather than assuming I know what's going on, just go to the source. And so I did. Turned out that much of what I was thinking to be true, wasn't it at all...this person and I ended up having a beautiful conversation and I realized how much we take what we see or hear through social media as truth (be that Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Text, FB messaging). Things that, if we dug a little deeper, we would discover all is not as it may seem.
If you think about it, it's really only when we can hear someone's tone of voice, or look into their eyes that we are truly able to know when their "I'm fine" doesn't mean they are fine at all, or when their casual and light texts throughout the day are actually a guise for a heart that is so heavy and really needs true human connection and interaction.
We are at a point in history where we are able to hide behind email, tweets, and fb pictures that can create an illusion of a life that people think we are living that isn't accurate. As a result, there is this paradox that even as we are more 'connected' than ever before, we are actually very possibly more DIS-connected in many ways.
Even the relationships we are forming these days--they are being created at such quick speeds, but doing so through phrases, emojis and abbreviations. The ability to have real, in person conversations or even over the phone with full, focused attention is slowly being lost. We will be talking on the phone and scrolling through Instagram, or at dinner with someone and mid-sentence, stop talking with them to reply to a text.
I realize everything I said in the above focuses on the negative side of social media.
So before I conclude, I do want to say this--Social Media isn't bad!! But, like many things in life, it is simply what we make it. It CAN be a tool for good. Heck, you guys wouldn't even be reading this if it wasn't for social media. Text, tweets, Instagram, Snapchat, and other modes of communication can all be used for wonderful things.
What I want to challenge all of us in the way of social media is yes, use it for good! BUT, get out there and have REAL connection with other human beings. Leave the phone in the purse, or in the car, sit down at meal times, or take a walk without having to be on your phone. Instead of texting your friend who lives in another state or other country, pick up the phone and actually call them, or better yet FaceTime. In many ways, we can't truly know another person until we have actually spent time talking with them, hearing their voices, looking in their eyes, learning their expressions. Refuse to settle for a counterfeit in your relationships with family, significant others and friends. Get to know the PERSON, not just their emojis and emoticons. Learn their heartbeat. Have REAL connection with people, not just liking their statuses.
And on that note, let's not forget to spend time with the Lord--time without checking our phones. Our relationship with Him is built similar to other ones. We need to spend time both listening and speaking with actual focused attention.
Let's make this the year to grow in our relationships with the Lord and with our family, friends, and those around us. Let's do it not just through social media but through real in person face-time.
ps. Have you found times where social media helped or hindered your relationships with the Lord and others? We would love to hear your stories and things you've learned!