Where has communication gone? We’ve all seen those memes that depict groups of young people sitting at dinner tables, all deeply connected, deeply involved in whatever was happening on their cell phones. And those photos speak volumes to something inherently broken in the world: the ability to communicate, openly, honestly, truthfully.
My coworkers had a tiff and when one confronted the other and asked, “Why did you assume that I was being devious?” The other replied, “Because people assume the worst of other people” and aside from that statement, played it pretty safe, not ‘choosing sides’, not defending anyone, not being partial, not being kind and considerate. After this whole big dramatic unfolding had finally rested its head, the coworker who I feel was in the ‘wrong’ (for lack of a better term) said, in the midst of all this, “Some people are too sensitive.”
Sensitive people have a place in the world too; they hurt deeper, and because of smaller things, and the big things are a hugely, timely process to ‘get over’, if you ever really ‘get over’ them at all. That’s sensitivity. And if you’re sensitive, you shouldn’t be shut off by someone who claims to be concerned or who claims to ‘put things into perspective’ by accusing someone of “being too sensitive”. All feelings are valid.
That being said, this tension would not have escalated to such a level had there not been for communication. In an office, it’s necessary; you have to communicate because you have to get things done so you can get paid, and you have to work together to get them done and teamwork is just easier when people like each other and communicate issues, criticisms, sorrows. If you can’t communicate like this in an office, especially when the people in your office are friends who you’ve confided in, who you care about…
What about friends? How do you communicate with friends? What if there’s a problem and you both choose to address it? What if circumstances call for information or an explanation that you can’t provide because you’re afraid, reproachful, or you just don’t know how? What happens then? It ends up festering and hurting deeper and deeper until it’s a black current in your veins that hurts so deeply, too deeply.
As human beings we’ve lost along the way, that feeling of having intense, long heart-to-hearts that we can walk away from and still hear that person’s voice, the deep soul of the conversation, echoing and soothing you into your dreams as you go to sleep. Those are feelings I haven’t felt in a long time. I’ve been numbed. I’ve been held against my will in a cage, this sea of technology and a lack of face-to-face communication and pain and isolation. I want to communicate, but no one else seems to want to. Everyone else seems afraid and nervous to explain how they really feel. Everyone else seems to walk with ghosts. Everyone else doesn’t care to communicate because it makes friendships and relationships feel ‘easier’, because you can just let conversations slide down the other side of a rocky hill and nothing needs to be discussed. Sometimes things are smoothed over with a little discussion. Sometimes hurtful things sound and seem differently coming from someone’s mouth as oppose to through someone’s computer screen. Sometimes we’re so afraid of judgment, so afraid of saying the wrong thing, so afraid of the awkwardness that can ensure from a particular conversation, that we opt to say nothing. We opt for silence. We opt for a failure to reach out to the heart of someone. And we regret it, or wish we could do more until it’s too late. Even if it wouldn’t change anything anyways…
We’re broken. We’re all broken. We’re all to blame. And here I am alone in my apartment, wishing I didn’t have to be in a situation that’s been dictated by endless factors of talking and listening and writing and typing and texting and telephones and computers that makes communication feel empty, un-necessary and impossible. The lack of communication with others has for me, led to my undoing, and led to my lack of well-being and led to me being here, somewhere between ‘numb’ and ‘sad’.