My day job takes me all over the world; I have traveled to7 different countries over the past 11 years and have enjoyed the ability to make friends in places I never thought I would. I have good friends in Brazil, UK, Sweden and Germany. Friends that I will chat with via email or visit when I get the change to fly there, one such change is coming up, I will be heading off for a 3 week trip to the UK, Germany and Sweden this November. Along with all the work I have to do why I am there, I will also get a chance to visit with my friends. It’s always nice to sit and talk to good friends over dinner and a glass of wine.
The chance to chat with friends is one that I rarely pass up, I love to sit and just “shot the breeze”, it allows for the conversation to take on a natural organic flow. Creating an atmosphere of family, there is something worm and comforting about that, each time I travel overseas to work, I always make an effort to make time for conversations.
Conversation is the corner stone of any relationship; it is where true friendship and love are forged and where they can also be dismantled. It is in conversation that we discover the truth of the person, not always what they say, but how they say it, or how they react to it. Conversation is the alpha and omega of relationship; it is the center and outer rings of complex situations.
For example, take the current political session, each candidate is involved in a conversation with America. Each is trying to create the groundwork for a more personal relationship with you. We, as Americans rarely vote on issues, we vote on how we “see” the candidate. We look for moments of connectivity, moments that define them to us. We base our vote on the conversation they had with us.
We can also us our faith life as an example. Many people attend Services; they invest themselves in the process by volunteering their time. They allow the conversation of the church they attend to penetrate themselves. They like what they hear, or they feel safe in the situation.
The traversed can be said also, for both examples. Many people will not vote for one candidate, not because they don’t agree with the issues, but because the candidate “feels” wrong to them. Or a person my not volunteer because they do not feel they are with family, they do not feel safe.
A conversation is the cornerstone, the foundation that must be laid if we want to build upon any relationship, be it personal or professional. Without a strong conversation the whole social structure you have worked to create will crumble. Without a strong foundation to build upon your work is in vain.
We have seen this throughout history, week foundations in negotiations results in a breakdown of talks, failed relationships results in wars and so on. We have also seen strong relationships built because of conversations that were honest and solid. Wars have been obverted and allies made. Conversations are the key.
In today’s outlook on the world, conversations have been reduced to sound bites and text messaging. We have allowed technology to form us instead of us forming it. We see it in the news, where important information is reduced to a 30 second sound bite, or tragedy is given a catch phrase and logo. We experience with our youth, where text messaging has replaced true conversations. I have watched as two teens argued via text messages, there have been news reports of Hollywood stars breaking up via a text message (of course it was in a 30 second sound bite). We are losing the art of conversation; we are creating cornerstones out of fluff rather than solid materials. We see it in the inability of our youth to carry on conversations without the use of their phones.
Some will argue that text messaging is the new “writing Letters”, I would argue that it is not. With a text messaging your message is abbreviated, both in words and in depth. We have a generation who have taken the art of conversation and reduced it to communication with no true feelings.
Sure I email my friends and even have IM sessions with them, but when it comes to building a relationship with them, when it is truly important, I want to have a conversation. I want to sit with them, face to face, to forge a bond that is strong for years to come.
So I am looking forward to this trip overseas, I am looking forward to adding to the foundation of the friendships I have forged, the foundation built upon good food, good wine and great conversations.