If you frequently use the metro while travelling you must have noticed people slouching over their phones, lost in their own little world oblivious to the surroundings. This is just one of the many examples where we prefer our mobile phones over human interaction. But then, what else can be done? Of course, we don’t know the person sitting next to us in the metro or any other public transport. So why to bother with them, anyway. But, then what’s wrong with talking to a total stranger for a few minutes? Even if it is completely random.
The simple answer is because conversations are dead. Real, actual, face-to-face conversations. Spending hours on our phone whatsapp’ing people has become more important. Who cares about a total stranger sitting next to us on a public transport, when we care more about our phones than people who should actually matter! Now hanging out with our friends include elaborate plans over WhatsApp that mostly never see the light of the day. And even if those plans happen, meeting friends over coffee or lunch has become equivalent to us staring at our phones, ‘talking’ to people who are not present in the moment. These days we exhibit less of a need to hide the fact that we are splitting our attention in any social gathering.
Face-to-face conversations are dead to the point that our interaction is now limited to sending ‘wassup’ and emojis, to flirtatious texts and video calls. Nobody wants to have a real conversation minus the virtual screen. It’s safer and painless this way, I suppose..but the pain is the real point. The complexity and messiness of human connection cannot be defined in a simple text. And thus, it results in a downward spiral for our relationships because it is a great way to miscommunicate what we mean and interpret the same.
Despite appearances, I am not anti-texting. Like any technology, texting has its place, especially for a simple banter, a quick hello, or sometimes even making plans. But when did minimal virtual conversations become this essential to us that we willingly sacrifice our relations over it without any hesitation? When did spending 10 minutes away from the phone become this hard? When did conversations die?
Call me old-fashioned, but no matter how advanced the technology gets, nothing can replace the enigma of a real conversation, talking face-to-face with a person, watching how beautifully their eyes sparkle when they talk about the things they love, or how numb it gets reminiscing the past. The smile on their face, the glow on the cheeks, no smartphone or messaging app can ever replace these ‘little’ things. So put down the phone in your hand, and maybe talk to the person sitting next to you like we did in the 90s. Trust me, it will be worth it.