Coffee Trumps Emoji
I met up with my friend Ana this week for coffee and a chat. As we were talking about what we’ve been
up to at work and how our love lives are going, we realized we hadn’t seen each other in two years! Two years… surely it couldn’t have been that long… We live in the same city and move in the same circles, I knew that she had switched jobs and seen her family over the break. I knew she had a cat and had gone camping. How did two years go by without us meeting up?
Then I realized how much social media had played a role in our distance. Don’t get me wrong, I think social media is a wonderful and powerful tool. Without it, I wouldn’t have been able to keep in touch with so many people I have met over the years in the different places I’ve lived. People I truly cared about at one point, whom I haven’t seen in years because they live in different cities, countries, or continents. And although we no longer have a close bond and frequent contact, my heart warms every time I see a picture of their beautiful children, their loving partner, their successes at work, or their exciting adventures. I get a sense that I’m still a part of their life, and get to share in their joy. As happened with Ana.
I knew about Ana’s joys, I shared in them electronically, sending a smiley face or a like, sometimes a couple of words, even. But I fell for the illusion that our social media contact was enough. That since I knew what she was up to, there was no need for us to get together. Maybe it’s the holiday season making me feel nostalgic, but there is something irreplaceable about face to face contact. It’s really the only way to build deep relationships. In our fast-paced, busy lives, it’s easy to forget to stop for a second and share a moment with the people you care about. So today, I am making a commitment to reach out to the people I’ve been meaning to meet up with, but haven’t, thinking I know how they’re doing anyway. As much as I love social media, a good laugh over a cup of coffee will always trump an emoji, no matter how well-meant.
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