The Art Of Communicating

I was going to call this post the lost art of letter writing and then I thought better of it. It's not lost. In fact, I'm predicting it will make a comeback.

The proliferation of free Internet-based texting has been amazing for my communication with friends and family abroad. I love the fact that sometimes on my commute into the office I can chat live with my first flatmate in London, Emma (who saved my live), and unfortunately for me, now lives in Australia.

Getting my Mom onto What's App, that's been great too. She was skeptical at first, but she told me that it was the best app she downloaded in 2015. And she is no techno slouch.

But the other day, one of my friends in the States, who I usually text with, sent me an email. It was just a usual email, nothing particularly special or exciting about it -- except it was special and exciting. She had a bit more space and time to expand on what was going on in their lives. I learned just that little bit more about what she and her husband were up to at the moment. In comparison to our usual interaction, it was like receiving a letter. It was such a treat.

It made me think. Maybe I need to be more vigilant about my communication with my friends to avoid falling into communications ruts. If I mainly text them, I should stop and write an email sometimes, or call them. Or if I mainly email them, maybe I should set up an online video session.

Maybe I should write them a letter and sent it by mail. That would shock them!

All our new methods of communication are great, but I always think that the more things change, the more they stay the same. For us expats who want to feel connected to our family and friends far and wide, it's great having the instant connection of seeing photos and postings on social media. But we can't forget that nothing matches a conversation -- in person if possible -- although video calling offers a pretty good alternative. Over Christmas I was able to "see" lots of my family members this way and it really did feel like I had a visit with them.

That said, often I just prefer that old-fashioned technology of a voice call (whether over the Internet or phone lines), because let's face it, if you want to do a video call you have to sit up straight and make sure your hair doesn't look too messy. And it's always distracting to see yourself -- no matter how small you make the box and try to hide it.

Either way, mix it up. Write a letter. Set up a phone call. You won't regret it.

Photo credit: gxr-11 via photopin (license)

Photo credit: Studio via photopin (license)

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