Sunday, 11 March 2018

Making More Of An Effort Offline

Making More Of An Effort Offline
I met up with my friend Alex on Friday after not seeing him for almost a year. We'd planned to meet for drinks on on far too many occasions but in the end one of us would always fathom an excuse and bail. Over time, we'd drop each other Facebook messages, exchange likes on Instagram and reply to each others Snapchats but ultimately, when it came to meeting up in person, quite frankly, neither of us could be arsed. 

So on Friday, whilst sitting in the bar laughing and catching up, I got thinking about a Zoella Q&A I watched last week (Skip to 12:33). I thought, the reason neither of us could be arsed meeting up despite living no more than 10 miles apart was because we already felt like we'd caught up because of what we'd seen online. The more we chatted, I realised I already knew about his trips away over the past year and gigs he'd been to, he knew about my promotion and even who I had round for Christmas dinner. 

For almost a year, we'd managed to fool ourselves into thinking we were great at keeping in touch but as the cocktails kept coming, we started to realize that we'd been neglecting our friendship massively. 

Then, I started thinking back to my birthday on Tuesday. Some friends and family wrote on my Facebook to wish me well but as I read through each one liking them aimlessly, I noticed that there were some people that hadn't posted. I don't know what's worse. That they'd seen it was my birthday and chosen to ignore it or that they didn't know it was my birthday because they hadn't been on Facebook. Do you see what I mean?

Either way, it makes me a little sad that we rely so heavily on social media to inform us of these things - Myself included. I have no idea when my sister-in-laws birthday is and it's just occurred to my that I didn't even ask her about her trip to Dubai because I'd seen it plastered over her social media pages.  

I'm not naive,  I know full well we live in an online world that advances everyday and for the most part, it's great. I've made some amazing friendships online and managed to keep in touch with those who I can't see everyday. The thing is, I no-longer want social media perusing to be my poor excuse for communication. 

I'm not trying to imply that we should give up social media, quit posting online or stop communicating through the internet all together. What I'm saying is I don't want to scroll aimlessly not conversing, not engaging - I no longer want to sit back, make assumptions or just be damn right lazy. 

I don't want to feel like I'm catching up with someone when I haven't really seen or spoken to them. I want to more of an effort to meet up in person or even just pick up the phone. My friend Ben and I caught up over some tea and biscuits back in February - He's been to San Francisco with his boyfriend since and the most I've heard is the mini review he sent to my work email. I don't think I even replied - Why didn't I just call to ask how the trip was?

Also, I want to stop making assumptions - I don't want to assume who went for drinks with who or who's sleeping together purely based on what I see on social media. We've all done it and besides the odd Sherlock Holmes feeling, we mostly assume loads of shit and find out it wasn't true anyway. 

I know that this must seem very dramatic and slightly woe-is-me but after having such a good night with Alex, I kind of forgot what it's like to have fun and really connect with people, not just hope that someone replies to my Snapchat story to ask how my day was. 
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What are your thoughts on online and offline communication? How do you keep a balance?

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