Author Topic: Is anyone else losing their conversation skills?  (Read 947 times)

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Just Lori

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Is anyone else losing their conversation skills?
« on: November 09, 2012, 08:36:11 AM »
I am a writer by education and profession.  However, I've always been good at looooooong telephone conversations.  I used to have weekly calls with friends and families, where we'd recount our weeks and solve each other's problems.

Thanks to computers and smart phone, though, I now have the bulk of my conversations on a keyboard.  Conversations are reduced to "Hey, I'm checking in. Everything OK with you?"  If a friend isn't on Facebook, our relationship is in danger of fading away.

I also notice myself getting irritated with the phone.  How dare someone call me when I'm in the middle of something?  I've gotten spoiled by emails and text messages, which I can respond to at my leisure.  I also find myself distracted during phone calls.  My mind is always in multitask mode, trying to listen to the conversation while planning my next activity or chore.

I miss good conversations, though.  Am I the only one?

Yvaine

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Re: Is anyone else losing their conversation skills?
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2012, 08:37:13 AM »
I don't know, I never really liked the phone much! But my handwriting has become atrocious.

lady_disdain

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Re: Is anyone else losing their conversation skills?
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2012, 09:05:51 AM »
Not really. I still have plenty of social events that revolve around talking, like dinners, for example. I call my boyfriend nearly every night, when we talk about our days, what came up and, like you said, try to solve each others problem.

TurtleDove

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Re: Is anyone else losing their conversation skills?
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2012, 10:07:09 AM »
I've never been a phone person, and I tend to even text in complete sentences.  I prefer to have oral discussions face to face though because I am pretty animated as are many of my friends and we accidentally talk over each other because we can't tell when the other is about to speak or is done.  Generally, phone discussions are to set up in person events.

Yvaine

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Re: Is anyone else losing their conversation skills?
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2012, 10:08:55 AM »
I've never been a phone person, and I tend to even text in complete sentences.  I prefer to have oral discussions face to face though because I am pretty animated as are many of my friends and we accidentally talk over each other because we can't tell when the other is about to speak or is done.

I think they've actually found that cell phones exacerbate this! The lag is different from that on a land line, so you try to hold the conversation with the usual "rhythm" of how long you pause before starting to speak, etc., and then end up stepping on each other anyway.

TurtleDove

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Re: Is anyone else losing their conversation skills?
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2012, 10:16:55 AM »
I think they've actually found that cell phones exacerbate this! The lag is different from that on a land line, so you try to hold the conversation with the usual "rhythm" of how long you pause before starting to speak, etc., and then end up stepping on each other anyway.
Exactly! It's comical how horrible my attempts at phone conversations are, especially when I am trying to talk with my four year old or have her say hi to Grandma or something.  So many, "What? What?  I'm sorry, go ahead....no you go ahead..."

JennJenn68

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Re: Is anyone else losing their conversation skills?
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2012, 11:12:02 AM »
I have a dirty little secret--I've always hated using the telephone.  Even when I was a teenager, I didn't call anyone, and generally, when my friends called me, I sat on the other end of the line hoping for a chance to hang up.  (Remember when phones had cords?  You were basically limited to how far the cord would stretch, and ours never went far enough so that I could get comfortable or else find something to occupy me because most of those conversations required nothing more of me than "mm-hms" because they wanted to talk, darn it, not listen to anything I might have to say...) ::)

It got really bad a few years ago when I foolishly volunteered on a distress phone line.  It got so that I would cringe every time I heard the phone ring.  I still have a vestige of that feeling to this day, even though that was almost twenty years ago.  I fielded enough wrenching calls that I find it hard not to associate the phone with horror and heartbreak.

I have a cell phone, as I think I've admitted before on some other thread, and it's a relic "made of stone knives and bearskins", to quote Mr. Spock.  Half the time I forget to turn it on; most of the rest of the time I don't notice it ringing until it's too late.  I don't give the number out to anyone except those that I can trust not to abuse it.  I don't want to be available to everyone 24/7.  Only my husband and son have that privilege.

Oddly enough, the one "modern" convenience (and I use the term loosely, since most people now seem to find this an amusingly antiquated method of communication) that I use on a regular basis is email.  Not only do I use it, I flatter myself that I use it fairly well and in fact prefer it to most face-to-face communication because I can edit, compose, re-draft, and ditch entirely if upon further reflection I deem it necessary.  I don't know if this preference has contributed to the breakdown of my face-to-face conversational skills or if was my lack of ability in the latter that led to the former, but I do enjoy writing emails (and eHell posts!) and the fact that I type (and think) very, very fast makes the whole thing infinitely easier for me.  (Years of speech therapy for a rate control problem and almighty hard work on my part have improved my ability to speak to others, but it's tiring and I tend to slip when I get excited and/or agitated.)

And has anyone noticed that people frequently think nothing of interrupting one in the middle of a sentence?  That really throws my rate control out of whack.  It's not just children anymore.  I've heard that half of the time in a conversation, while the other person is speaking, one isn't listening but is really composing one's next statement.  People don't even compose their statements anymore; they just blurt out anything that shoots into their minds, even over top of another's speech.  Is it the fact that instant communication leads to a compulsion for instant gratification?  The two seem to be connected, but I've always strictly maintained that correlation does not equal causation.

(Or should I be enrolling in grad school to test this thesis? ;D)

Mikayla

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Re: Is anyone else losing their conversation skills?
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2012, 06:17:12 PM »
I'm another one whose handwriting has bitten the dust.  I've actually reverted to a style that is more a simple "print each letter", because I can't remember the cursive stuff. 

On conversations, I can yap with the best of them, but I do worry about the younger generation in my family.  I've got all sorts of nieces and nephews in the 8-15 year age group.  They all hate talking on the phone, but I don't see it as a dislike.  I see it more as an inability (due to lack of practice). 

And it's no coincidence that the parents who wired their kids into texting and IM'ing the earliest have the kids with the biggest verbal problems, whether phone or in person.  So I do think this has a potential to be a big problem somewhere down the road.