This past weekend, I didn’t leave the house. I was overdue for a relaxing, restful weekend at home. Besides baking pumpkin bread, making homemade soup, painting, and wrapping Christmas gifts, I watched some movies. It has been a long time since I saw Fried Green Tomatoes, which originally released in 1991, but I settled in to enjoy it. If you have never seen it, I encourage you to watch it. It isn’t full of special effects but rather tells a story through an elderly lady.
The story transforms the life of the gal who hears it, but what captured my attention was the lost art of conversation. Each week, the young lady comes to visit the elderly woman in her nursing home to listen to her life story. They would sit together for hours with nothing but each other and the occasional donut. No television, laptop, cell phone or tablet. Okay, when was the last time you listened to someone for hours? Suffice to say that most of us rush and hurry our way through conversations to get them over with and on to the next thing. We can thank cell phones and social media for that! We have become a “scanning” nation: we scan the news, and scan Facebook feeds to find what suits us. If it takes too long, we skip it and move on to the next thing. We have lost our ability to have meaningful conversations.
I believe our relationships are suffering as a result. We expect people to give us the down and dirty, quick synapsis, and if they don’t, we dismiss them. We can’t be bothered to listen, but we are losing out on so much. Through the ages, stories have communicated truths and traditions on down the generations and have shared faith and family rituals. Conversations often share glory stories or victories that encourage others to keep going – that someone has gone before them. Without success stories, we begin to feel we are alone – the only ones who have ever suffered like this in the history of mankind! It becomes a very lonely place, but the good news is that we can turn that around by having quality conversations.
What better time to sit down and talk with family and friends than Thanksgiving? I know we are facing unusual circumstances this year due to COVID-19, but that doesn’t prevent us from picking up the phone! Ask someone in your family to share a memory from childhood or to talk about a favorite holiday gathering. Reminisce and remember and create new connections at the same time. If we get so wrapped up in making a living that we forget to acknowledge and love the living, we aren’t living at all. Carve out time this holiday to BE in the moment and treasure the little things like meaningful conversation.
My book, Leveraging Your Communication Style, helps you understand the styles of others and how to build bridges. Learn how to communicate more effectively and reduce conflict, and that will make life worth living.