We live in an era where communication has brought us so close together, but yet we have drifted so far apart.
With all the social media channels available today, we are able to pick and choose who we talk to, who we ignore and who we simply block. Our “e-circle” of friends revolves around our common interests, our families and a few of our closest friends. And this is how it’s supposed to be.
However, we have no problem sharing information that would have otherwise been unthinkable just a few short years ago. We, sometimes, expose our most inner secrets to the world, and then we yell and complain because our privacy has been violated. We demand that rules and regulations be set forth to protect us from, well… ourselves.
I have created an on-line circle of friends in three different social networks (Facebook, Twitter and Dailymile) with whom I mostly share my fitness and exercise passion. Facebook is an exception. I have amassed a circle of friends that in addition to the above mentioned include family, personal friends, classmates, co-workers and some (well, maybe more than just “some”) that share my political views.
I do not believe in using the “hide” option on Facebook. I will, and have on three occasions, removed someone from my friends list, but not because I disagreed with their views but because they were disrespectful. This, on my pages, I will not tolerate. I have been more aggressive on removing followers from my Twitter account. This I do when I realize that there really is no common bond to keep us together.
My Dailymile account is used for tracking my training. I have tried others but this seems to be to do the job just right. Additionally, the community that Dailymile has created is tremendous at giving feedback and support to each other. This is extremely important to me.
All this is good and well, however it comes with a hefty price. We have sterilized our world, we only allow a few certain chosen few in.
Today, communication with total strangers is non-existent. When someone stops you on the street, the supermarket, the restaurant, the gym, your first thought is “what do they want?”
Add to this the advent of the smart phones, mp3 players and texting features and we totally emerge ourselves in our own private world, allowing no one in for even the slightest of moments.
It is very rare to see two strangers strike up a conversation today. It is not because society has chosen to go down this path, it is because we do not have the “courage” to say hello to someone we don’t know.
As they years have piled up on me without much notice, I have become more aware of my surroundings and I have become more apt to say “hello, how are you today?” than I would have just a few years ago. I have grown to enjoy the looks of dismay and disbelief when I do this, as well as the smiles that some people give you when you do take the time to just say “hello”.
So my challenge to you my friend is simple. Take off your earphones, put down your phone and smile. Say hello to a stranger without expecting much in return. Who knows, that simple act of friendship may be just what that person needs to turn their day around.