Nov 6, 2007
Improve Relationships - Ctrl+Alt+Del your Email for a Day
I have about 42 email id's in my contact list, a few more in my favorite social networking website. A large circle of friends one can say. I have had many conversations with them over the years. Some sober and some filled with laughs. Only, I don't remember when I saw them last. The keyboard has been my mouthpiece, the email and chat my means of dialogue. I have cracked a joke and shared a laugh...and I couldn’t have done it without those emoticons. Of those on the list, a select few are the very close friends. Friends with whom I went miles for a tête-à-tête and a guffaw. Today, its just a handshake across the cyberspace. Of course, I believe our relationship is still going strong but gradually battered by the daily grind it is losing the warmth which is makes a relationship special. All of us confined to our cubicles, staring at a 14 inch plastic cube are losing touch with those who made our yesterday's special. Their might be six degrees of separation between me and another but the degree right now seems rather wide. It is true for me and I have a feeling its true for a lot of others too.
It dawned on me that I answer about 25-30 emails on an average every day. Single line replies, cc's and forwards. I share information at the speed of thought but do I manage to share my feelings with the same alacrity. Is it a paradox that technology is creating more spaces rather than bridging them? I put a lot of thought into this.
I put together the following action steps which I hope benefits you as it did me.
1. We have Friendship Day. Why not have Friendship Days - Any time is a good time to catch up with old friends and acquaintances.
2. Realize that an email or a chat session is non verbal - A phone call is infinitely better. Nothing has replaced the sound of human voice so far.
3. Sms’s are all too impersonal - Use the latest means of communication for your benefit but do not be a slave to it.
4. Keep reminders for all birthdays and anniversaries - They are nice times to reestablish contact and break the ice. The latest mobiles have reminder functions. Their are websites like Birthdayalarm.com or your mail client which can give you advance notice of any due date.
5. Share time - Schedule time for a conversation or a meeting. A face to face meeting with a friend is a wonderful stress buster.
6. Stay away from the send button of your email for a day - Instead, talk on the phone...make your voice heard. Cross the road to meet someone.
7. Be friends with your postman again - Get back into the habit of sending cards rather than those pesky e-cards. I still have all the cards I have received. It's an effort but give the special occasion your caring touch.
8. Share the moments - Always inform your friends of any special moment in your life. Be it marriage, birth of a child or even a second honeymoon.
9. Have your cup of joy - Meet-up over the weekends. Take your family along. Go for a movie or schedule a picnic.
10. Stay logged on - Relationships need work. Good relationships are the result of consistent, time worn habits. Treat good times and bad times with equal measure.