Thanksgiving is a time of family, togetherness, and of course, conversation. One thing I know about the holidays is that it’s one of the only times of the year that I get to see certain people in my life. When I haven’t seen someone in a long time, it can be hard to think of what to talk about with that person. It’s hard to answer the question “What’s new with you?” when it seems everything is new since the last time you talked with them. But young people today are having a hard time engaging in conversation, and not just with people they only see a couple times a year, but with the people they see every day. Why is that?
Why are people having such a hard time holding a conversation? And why are some choosing to simply avoid it altogether?
Every year, the week of Thanksgiving is celebrated as Better Conversation Week: a time to practice your conversation skills. While I love this idea, I have noticed that there is a significant amount of people who don’t know how to hold a conversation. With an increasing reliance on cell phones and social media as a means of communication, we have begun to lose the skill of holding a conversation. That’s right, I mean in-person, face-to-face, unedited speaking in real time.
I think a lot of people get so worried about messing up or not knowing what to say. Or perhaps the stress revolves around the lack of time to come up with the perfect response by editing, reorganizing and polishing that one would otherwise get in sending a text message or email.
But when we choose not to converse with others in person, over time we simply lose the ability.
The purpose of this week is to have more meaningful conversations with the people in our lives. Use this time to practice your people skills and discover the value of face-to-face human interaction!