“We’re all becoming lonely. We’re all feeling unloved. Each one of us is talking about it. What is going on? Is it technology or what?” I asked my friend.
“Well, you hardly call me anymore,” she said.
“I feel like I’m interrupting you. I usually get your answering machine. We’d connect if I texted you, but I want to talk with you. When we do connect you say how busy you are. It feels like you’re saying to not contact you.”
“No…I want to hear from you. You just have to understand that I have to take other calls if they are business,” she said.
“I understand that. I was a business person. I’m talking about always hearing how busy you are.” It felt wonderful being able to finally talk this through with my cherished friend.
We remembered how we used to gather over a good lunch, long coffees or a social event. Something shifted and we stopped sharing these times completely. Other women have experienced this, as well. They also described how loneliness has crept into their busy lives.
Before I began sharing these feelings with friends, I thought I was alone. Turns out we have similar stories. I wondered if it was because of texting, but some have cell phones while others don’t. We all love new technology – to varying degrees – but what was this sense of being alone and left out?
I didn’t limit my research to close friends. I found parents of adult children who are flummoxed by the fact that their kids don’t respond to their phone messages. Grandparents work at dispelling stings they don’t understand due to the seeming rudeness of curt, ambiguous or absent responses.
My findings? People are feeling dissed, folks.
Communication may be enhanced, but intimacy is being neglected. Connectedness is not intimacy. Contact will not send the needle of our heart’s gauge to FULL. Without care, our love tank will come dangerously close to empty.
A string of responses on Face Book or masterful tweets on Twitter may feed the ego for a while. Would that string stop being clever, witty or cute long enough to offer us a bowl of soup if we were flat on our backs?
I love my blog connections. I love spending time on Face Book. Who wouldn’t love a platform that brings so much attention on a birthday?
I thrill over finding a bone fide message from a friend through email. Or a birthday letter sent snail mail by a sister.
However, these alone will not feed the soul. True intimacy comes from contact that includes touching, smelling, feeling, and seeing a human being nose to nose.
Overcoming loneliness means opening to, and responding to, another human being.
Someone used to ask me, “What has made you happy recently?” She’d wait for my answer, then truly listen. How did I know? By the questions she’d ask. I left her company feeling seen, heard and loved.
Dale Biron recites a poem by William Stafford, titled, “A Ritual To Read To Each Other”:
This video was presented by Dr. Robert Rossel who asked “…what would the Buddha have done if he had access to the Internet?” . Under the title, “Surface and Depth” at the blog “Into The Bardo”, Dr. Rossel shares his wise insights in answering the question.
♥ On Valentine’s Day, let’s give our attention and time.
Watch out for the magic. ♥