Friday, May 8, 2009

Try Yelling.

Have you ever noticed that the farther away someone is from you, the more difficult it is to communicate with them?

If this were the 1920s you would say, "Duh!" But we have e-mail, instant messaging, cellular telephones, texting, blogging, Facebook, Twitter, etc. This was supposed to level the playing field and allow you to communicate evenly with your neighbors and your relatives in Poughkeepsie.

It is easier, but I still find myself contacting people in my vicinity more than those distant. Why?
  • I have business with people around me. Appointments. Meetings. Parties. I make more contact with people I see face-to-face.
  • I know what they are doing. I try not to call when it might interrupt things like sleep or work or dental appointments. I know better the schedules of people I see regularly.
  • Formality. To call someone I rarely see requires me, out of politeness, to inquire at length of their welfare, and to respond symmetrically to their inquiries. It's often a burden I'm glad to ignore, unless I have good reason.
  • Out-of-sight, out-of-mind. I'm not implying I forget people when they disappear. No, my neurotic mind assumes they won't remember me. Why contact someone who has probably moved on, while I am fixated on reliving a distant memory?
Does this hold true for you? Are there other reasons you would add? Does this phenomenon explain same-room-texting?


Hosander said...

I agree. I am careful about interrupting people's lives that live far away, they probably aren't thinking about me, so to call out of the blue is disrupting.

Also I assume people forget about me very easily.

But you can always call me. Well, when I get a new phone...then you can call me.

Megan said...

Well put, Thad. It's exactly the same for me. It is definitely a challenge keeping up to date with people you don't see regularly. And let's face it, it's just more fun when a conversation is about how that event-turned-out-you-were-telling-me-about or random funny stories than the old standard "catch-up" questions and answers.

Bus Gillespie said...

We all have a number of persona's that we can get into to feel comfortable. As myself, I often feel that I might be intruding and that other's really don't want to break from their activities and talk with me...I wonder how much that is a reflection of how I think about others coming into my life.
But as "the Bishop" I could easily take on another persona. I could easily go visit other people and had the feeling that they wanted to see the bishop and were appreciative of my visits. maybe I had the courage in that instance because of how I would feel if the bishop were to come and visit me.?

Jen said...

So I totally agree with what you said...but I also have some additional comments. The odd thing to me is that if I call someone (take David for instance) on the phone and chat..we have to go through the whole how are things going..what's new in your life..stuff. But if I just come visit.... we don't usually do that. we like..go play frisbee or something...and then I leave and I'm like wait..did we catch up?..and I usually have to call him back. On the other hand, my aunt lives about 45 min away from me...and I am lucky to live so close to family...and yet I don't see her nearly as much as I thought I would when I moved here... I am so busy with my every day life that I can't even go 45 minutes driving to see her as often as I go 3 hours or so to NJ to see the rest of my extended family. I'm more motivated to make that long trip or to see people really close than I am to see people within that middle, so close but still so far, distance.