In the last few years, the written word has gained increasing importance in how we connect and communicate with people. As we rely on writing over speaking because we all have come to hate phone calls because… reasons. And because we also don’t live in a TV world where friends decide to meet up to chat about the most mundane and vital of topics, we are left with text messages, instant messaging, emails, etc. The problem is we can be terrible at saying what we mean.
Be on your best behavior! Whether you are a leader in an organization or a parent with kids or someone else altogether, who we are is on display for the world to see and take in, In the minds of others, internal notes and understandings about your character and demeanor are constantly being logged, revised, erased, rewritten, tweaked. In case any of you are wondering, yes I am doing this with some or many of you on a semi-regular basis and reflect on who you are and how you became the person you are today and who you may become in the future. Call me curious about the human condition.
… where you can be with friends. At bars. With free waffles.
I’m a creature of habit and comfort. I go back to the things I know and am familiar with more often than exploring what’s new. I will rewatch shows such as 30 Rock or Parks and Recreation (or most recently, How I Met Your Mother) over a new show. The familiar backdrop of offices, apartments, coffee shops, or bars combined with characters I’ve come to know far too well allow me to focus on the deeper themes and tiny nuances of the stories upon subsequent repeat viewings. I start to look beyond the face value jokes and conversation to the deeper meanings and messages of what’s being said.
(Image: Keflavik Airport, Iceland. Its contrast to my post struck me.)
A few years ago, I wrote a couple of blog posts about the lack of interactive and thoughtful discourse (part one & part two). I’ve been thinking about this topic again recently as I’ve watched the ability to have rational conversation deteriorate in America with little visible hope that our behavior will change in the near future. We recoil any time we hear or read something that conflicts with our worldviews. Instead of pausing to absorb the message we took in and understand where that person or group is coming from, the new “proper” response is to lash out and tell them why they are wrong. How dare someone disagree with me!
This weekend I had the pleasure of enjoying a variety of single malt Scotch from my collection, as seen on the left, with a friend after a long work week. You know it’s a good night when the Chivas 12 year blended Scotch is the one with the “most bite” of everything you’ve had. Standards were set high when you start with Royal Lachnagar Select Reserve.
As my friend and I went from one Scotch to the next discussing nuances and characteristics of each bottle’s contents, our conversation flowed from the drinks before us to fun stories with our coworkers to more serious topics and things about ourselves we rarely have a chance to discuss in the midst of a work week at the office. But there was one thing we both agreed upon in the midst of our conversation: a lot of people today don’t do conversation right.
I’ve touched upon this topic a few times in the past in various posts. In fact, I’m realizing the topics of relationship and interpersonal communication are a growing trend on this blog. The fact of the matter is still true and others are finding the same thing. Having an honest to goodness conversation where the other person actually hears what you’re saying and responds to it in a manner where you know they understood you is slowly becoming a lost skill. Instead, we have our response ready for when the other person stops talking and too frequently it’s not a response to what you just heard.
There’s always something about a good drink, especially a nice single malt Scotch, that can fuel a good time and good conversation. I look forward to more of both in the near future.
Pictured (Top: Lagavulin 16 year, Royal Lachnagar Select Reserve;Middle: Glenfiddich Cask of Dreams 2011, Glenfiddich 15 year; Bottom: Oban 14 year, MacAllan 18 year, Chivas Regal 12 year)