I have a friend that I see about six times each year. Between our busy schedules, it’s difficult to find the time to meet up and catch up on life. I’ve noticed that when we first see each other after a long absence the conversation can be a little “generic.” It takes a little time before she or I feel comfortable sharing about something personal or meaningful. This could be based on what sociologist Sherry Turkle has identified as the “seven-minute rule in conversation.” Basically, most conversations start out with small talk but with patience and focus, they can progress into productive, memorable moments centered on what matters most in our lives. But how many of our daily conversations never get past, “Hi, how are you?” and “Just fine, thanks, how about you?”
Could technology be interfering with our ability to have meaningful conversations?
Amy Crouch, author of My Tech Wise Life joined the Barna Group to research technology usage. Their research showed that 68 percent of us acknowledge that electronic devices keep us from having real conversations.
How do we reclaim conversations in person, face to face, with those who matter most to us?
One way to have that type of interaction is by giving yourself the time to have longer conversations, at least 15 minutes!
Now, I’m not saying you need to set a timer. That would take your focus away from the person who is supposed to be the center of all your attention. But you could turn off notifications on your phone and put the phone in another room so you’re not tempted to glance in that direction. You could also take off your smart watch and put that away too. That would be a blessing to the people in your life.
While you’re at it, try these same strategies with prayer. What if you could give at least 15 minutes to God each day and engage in active conversation, listening and contemplation – with no distractions. That would be a blessing to you.
Learn more at MakingSpaceforGrace.org