My youngest daughter and I were on our way to her school early this morning for her senior trip. She was excited and waiting on a call from her best friend. Once she called and they discussed where they would meet she hung up and said, “She sounds so different on the phone. Why do you think people sound differently when in person versus the telephone?” I answered that it could be technology.
Once I dropped her off I took the scenic route home through the mountains. The sun was settling in such a lovely way that a few times I had to stop and take note of it on the side of the road. I began to think of our conversation. It is true, people do sound differently on the phone. I believe it is because we are hearing them rather than being distracted by their physical appearance when in person. I am not a phone person. I hate to talk on the phone. Perhaps it is due to a thousand years of customer service and purchasing jobs. I get a lot more out of a person when they are in front of me. I can sense, see and feel the things that aren’t being said. The phone, to me, is a shell that echoes what you are truly trying to convey. And, yes, we hear differently. We are forced to be present (or not, depending on whom you talk to). When you sit with someone you are engaging in all of them. You are not just listening to the sound but experiencing the gestures, eye movement and energy. However, to others the phone is a perfect way of hearing exactly what they need to hear without having to look at the body language or enter the depth of communication.
Speech is the most powerful source of communication. There are over 7,000 different languages and dialects in the world. Conversing on the phone has its own form of interpretation. As we dive deeper into technology we, as a whole society, have lost the art of personal communication. It is easier to text, email or Facebook another. Are we really governed by the rush of being constantly charged by cell phones, emails, computers, IPOD’s and any gadget that is supposed to make our lives easier, when in reality they handicap our social skills? The reality is that if we could stop all these noises and return to simplicity we would actually heal from so many of the stressors in our lives. I was reminded of how things were in the 1980’s. You had to wait to get home in order to speak with someone. When you were “on the phone” you were actually sitting near the phone jack. We had no cell phones, no computers, and no other distractions. If there was bad news we waited to get home to discuss it. Likewise if there was great news that anticipation made it more special when we got together. Life was simpler. We were human beings interacting with each other. We prayed more, or at least it seemed like that, because there was nothing distracting our thoughts immediately. This is why I love being in nature…it is the simplest form of communication for me.
Communication has such a diversified psychology to it. We enter therapy and pay a ton of money to be heard. We read all the books on how to better ourselves. We all want to be heard. Whether it is through a phone call or technology, we want to have our stories acknowledged. But, “Sometimes, reaching out and taking someone’s hand is the beginning of a journey. At other times, it is allowing another to take yours.” ~ Vera Nazarian. And, dear friends, there is nothing more compelling than talking to a live version of you. Let your voice be heard. Speech is a murmur from your heart. Let it take you to the inner places and outer banks of another while touching the truth of what needs to be heard.