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A few weeks ago, I mentioned to L that I find it surprising how… - If only we learn to surrender

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August 26th, 2010

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08:55 am
A few weeks ago, I mentioned to L that I find it surprising how people respond to me when I mentioned my personal issues to them. I find that some people, whom I consider really good friends, just don't know how to respond appropriately. In retrospect, I find it funny, but at that time, I was totally disappointed by their response (or lack of).

People responses varies. One gave me the "deer in the headlights" look and at that moment, all I can think of is that I should find the big red button and go for the reboot. Another, whom I was texting with, responded to me, then fell sleep in the middle of the conversation. I would have thought that these friends of mine, would have at least pretend to be interested in my problems.

L offered two reasons why this probably happened to me. The first is that I appear to most people as very independent, self-supporting, and got my shit together. So when when I bring something emotional to my friends, they just don't know how to respond as there is just no precedence on this.

The second (which I find more interesting) is that she believes that people who are younger and uses technology frequently just lacks the ability to communicate effectively. There's something about the technology getting in the way of socializing and showing emotions. As in most text and IM, the communication tend to be shallow and pleasant. When something deeper needs to be discussed, the technology fails totally.

I would take this a step further to say that people who uses technology as their primary means of communication lacked the social skills to communicate. So if you are used to using technology (esp using text and IM) as your primary means of communication, when a deep discussion is needed, they just can't respond appropriately. They are just not socialized enough to do so.

I find this to be generally true for people in their 20s and 30s where text messaging is so pervasive. Americans, compared to other cultures, has always had a wide range of friends, but relatively shallow relationships with all of them. In contrast, Asians have very few friends, but they tend to be very deep. And I think technology exacerbates that even further. My running joke about MySpace is that I have a thousand friends that I don't know. Do these people really mean anything to me? Probably not.

(5 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:August 26th, 2010 08:27 pm (UTC)

As you are on the other side of the pond

This is the only way I can communicate with you, but also I don't worry about you as you have always come across to me as strong and independent and able to get yourself sorted out whatever life throws at you. That doesn't mean that you don't need people to talk to about it though.
Hope you manage to get on the right path again soon lovely.
[User Picture]
Date:August 26th, 2010 08:27 pm (UTC)


That should be left hand path ;D

Date:August 26th, 2010 10:57 pm (UTC)
Thanks for your concern but I'm sure I'll be OK. It's just one of those days. One of these days I'm going to get back to the UK again. It's been way too long.

And yes, the left hand path! :) Nothing is true, everything is permitted!
[User Picture]
Date:August 28th, 2010 02:52 am (UTC)
(If I'm remembering the conversation correctly) I don't think I meant to say that people who use technology frequently lack the ability to communicate effectively, although I do think that's often true - but more that certain technologies change our expectations about communication in ways that we haven't quite figured out yet, and aren't all on the same page about. What I know about what you know about what I just said to you is radically different with, say, facebook or email or text message than it is face-to-face or on the phone... and even those things are all different from each other!

I think certain technologies expand our capacity and tolerance for shallow connections and interactions. I don't agree with you that they destroy the capacity for connections that are deeper, or more demanding, or more prolonged, but I do think that they detract from those connections.
Date:August 29th, 2010 01:42 pm (UTC)
I stand corrected. What you said!

But unlike you, I do believe that technology, with a greater reach does "destroy" the capacity for connections, esp at the "middle ground". What I mean by that is that the ground between "acquaintances" and "loved ones" or "best friends". The part of the relationship that crosses between "people you casually see at work daily" and "people whom you are married to or are dating". This ground which most of us would describe as "friends" has a tendency to sink into the lowest common denominator, ie kind of like acquaintances BUT we make the effort to meet instead of random casual meeting at the bar. This is the part where I find people who have accepted technology (esp text messaging and IM) as their primary communication tool seems to have problems.

It's hard for me to explain, but the best way I can describe it is a Chinese saying, which directly translated as "don't know how to be human" - or to paraphrase, just don't know how to be a friend.

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