Pop Quiz: You have something important to talk about. It could be a deadline at work, a challenge with an ongoing project, or a difficult topic that needs to be addressed. Or, perhaps it’s a challenge with your significant other, your extended family, or something you want to talk to your kids about. Do you:
a. Email them
b. Text them
c. Call them
d. Speak to them in person
If I had to look into my behavioral crystal ball, I’d guess that for your work related needs, most of you chose A or C (at least at first). For your familial challenges, I might hypothesize that B, C or D might come into play a bit more.
The odd thing is, why is D not the go-to choice? For some it’s respect for others time or position. For others it’s because we feel so bogged down in life that to give proper facetime to an issue that deserves interpersonal attention. And for other still it’s a combination of ease and avoidance – “If I type my issue out, I don’t have to face the anger, rejection, or <insert your favorite fear of choice>.”
This idea of speaking with another person to tackle challenges has been on my mind a lot recently and, mostly, because of one of my favorite television shows. Okay…I realize I may lose some credibility with that last statement, but just hear me out for a second. The show in question is “Suits” which I’ve spoken about in my blog before (Who’s Your Donna). One thing that stands out to me on this show is that almost every discussion, confrontation, or admittance of love is always done in person. Every time. Now, part of this is for dramatic effect because filming people talking on the phone for 43 minutes without commercial breaks would be bad television. However, I think there is a lesson there. When you speak to someone directly and honestly, things happen. Action’s get taken, problems get aired out, and resolution is possible. The challenge with email, texts and even phone calls – is it’s easy for the “human” element to be forgotten; simple body language and subtle shifts and intonations are lost so true communication doesn’t always occur which leads to confused intent and lost emotion. And, worse yet, an email or text can simply be ignored (both intentionally and unintentionally) or lost in the shuffle creating a rift that didn’t need to be there in the first place.
Am I suggesting we should stop emailing, texting and making phone calls? No. And this leads me to this week’s challenge. Sometime this week, when you need to communicate something important, consider stopping down to your coworker’s office. Set aside some time with your loved ones to discuss that burning issue or topic that you’ve wanted to open up about. Meet for lunch with some friend you’ve lost touch with instead of emailing, texting or reaching out to them on Facebook. I’m not saying that this will magically fix the challenges in our lives, but I am suggesting it will help us to connect on a deeper level and make it more likely for action to be taken.