In this world of dry texting, monosyllabic chat, and single emojis that drop into our social media comments, text messages, DMs, and even video chats, does true communication even exist anymore? When the most you can hope for is short terse answers to questions that run through your mind, answers with no tone, and plenty of room for supposition, how do you get to truly know someone? Have we lost the art of communication?
It’s even more of a disaster in the dating world at my age, as people think answering a like, DM, text or even a phone call should be immediate. If a message isn’t responded to in a timely manner of a day or two, I understand, maybe that person doesn’t want to talk to you.
However, the number of people my age, who think a message should be replied to instantaneously stunned me. People, let’s play nice and work on our patience.
The number of fellas who have liked my dating profile in the last two months, only to ignore me because I didn’t respond immediately, 24. Twenty-four, hopefully, nice guys didn’t have the patience for me to reply to a text until after I got off work. They couldn’t wait 8 hours, not even a whole day. And it wasn’t even a real conversation. I do not get it. I don’t mean to sound crass, but it’s their loss. And really would I want to be with someone who has the attention span of a gnat? Probably not.
Being a creative type adds another layer of complication to communication altogether. When inspiration strikes you must strike with it, otherwise it just disappears, like dust in the wind. I’m not saying I’m losing it or anything, just some days the creative process can be like a squirrel on crack, I can be all over the place at once. I know it is that way for a lot of creative people.
Usually, when I feel something resonate with me and the gears start to spin, I will have a vision in my head of what something could be and I can’t let it go until I do something with it. It can be pen to paper, graphic design, paint to canvas, fire to wood, or thread to material, it’s a motivating force. An artist friend told me, he couldn’t get the noise in his head to stop until he created what he was thinking. I wish I had approached my art that way more often when I was younger.
Creativity can also be an isolating force. Most people don’t understand the sudden lack of attention (I am generally a detail-oriented person) or see the shift in focus when an idea is spinning in the creative process. That alone can make a relationship hard to maintain and this is where communication is key, I had to learn to tell people that I was going to be unavailable.
Most people say they understand the creative process until I don’t answer the text, the phone, or the email because the music is up and I am dancing around barefoot with a paintbrush in my hand, or humming along while I sew, or building something with power tools. They don’t understand that I have to get the vision out into the world, or like grapes, it dies on the vine and becomes a thorn in my side.
All they see is me ignoring them when that’s not the case at all. Eventually, I have to come up for air and focus back on the real world. I once again long for real connection and communication. My love languages are Quality Time, Touch, and Words of Affirmation, but those are hard to give or to get when no one can communicate. It’s like the 80s song by the Buggies, Video Killed the Radio Star, except I think, Text Messaging has Killed the Conversation.
I would like to think that in my years as a graphic designer listening to a customer’s vision and creating it, or my time in the newspaper business listening to an interview to get the story I’ve become a better communicator. Or maybe it is just me getting older and I call it as I see it. I try to say what I mean, let people know what I need, and clarify if needed. Someone told me I was intimidating and I couldn’t help but laugh, the last thing I wanted to do is intimidate anyone. Still, I am amazed at the people who don’t know how to ask for what they need, or even say what they really mean. In the long run, aren’t they just hurting themselves?
The art of conversation is a rare gift. When you have it treasure it. Good conversation is a balm to the soul. It creates a connection and is the building block for any type of good relationship. Connection isn’t just about the words, it’s when you can sit across the table and look into someone’s eyes and see if they are sincere in what they are saying, or see their eyes smile even when their face doesn’t, and read their body language, there is subtext and nuance no text message will ever have. A good conversation invites you in, gets you comfortable, and puts you at ease, there is give and take, it’s a two-way street. And when it’s done, both people walk away feeling understood, like someone actually heard what they had to say. That’s a beautiful thing.
You would think that post-pandemic, we would all be longing for real conversations, not ones related to the screens in our hands, but I just don’t see that happening and it breaks my heart a little.
As far as the online dating world is concerned, it’s a hot mess out there. The men who want to sext you up and haven’t even met you, aren’t worth your time, ladies. If I’m going to engage with someone, I at least want to look them in the eye, is that too much to ask? Personally, I find that I am a sapiosexual, and find intelligence sexy, so give me great conversations that make me think and get my gears turning any day.
Thanks for reading and stay safe out there, it’s a crazy, wild world.