I am seriously wondering if facebook and twitter are affecting my ability to make polite conversation! ?I was never the most tolerant of people, limiting my exchanges about the weather to a couple of sentences before moving on. Coming out of church, I would see women my own age making what looked like animated conversation with women thirty years their senior and I would wonder would I be able to maintain more than three sentence with most of them. Don’t get me wrong, I am perfectly happy having a good conversation with the occasional older or younger person but it has to be a proper conversation, not just words for the sake of it.
Image: Free Digital Photos
When Will was little and we had just moved back to Ireland, I joined a couple of different toddler groups in a bid to get to know people, my old friends living miles away and anyway, we were all at different stages of life in terms of the ages of our children etc. ?I found that at one toddler group, the conversation seemed to revolve around our children’s feeding and sleeping habits for weeks on end and never seemed to move on (not a great topic either as my children scarcely slept at night, let alone nap during the day), whereas at another group, I made friendships with a few mums that have lasted and we know each other very well.
I’m the type of person who likes her own company (as my disgruntled husband has been heard to mutter on occasion – just as well! but that’s just when I’m hormonal) and I don’t feel the need to phone people for long conversations yet when I do make the effort, I usually enjoy a good catch up.
What I enjoy about twitter and facebook is the ability to be able to scan all these statements, updates and little conversations and simply engage with those I feel interested in. ?These micro conversations can be extended, you can ignore them if you aren’t interested or you can come back to them later if you’re busy or just not in the mood at that time.
The debate regarding the quality and quantity of friendships on social networks such as Facebook is a much discussed one and yes, of course, you are in more contact with those friends on facebook but the argument usually goes that the quality is much better with those friends you meet offline (and if you can balance the two with friends, all the better).
I find myself become more anti-social for want of a better word, I prefer to stay silent than warble on about inconsequential stuff, although I will pass the time of day for one or two sentences and then that’s it. These occasions happen at places such as outside church, after school meetings, picking up the kids from parties, at the kids parish youth club once a month. At the last parish kids club, the kids wanted me to stay so I ended up bringing a book as I couldn’t bear having inane conversations for 90 minutes. ?In case I am sounding like a complete Victor Meldrew, I do enjoy nights out with one or two friends when ‘proper’ conversations take place but find when this increases to 4 or 5, that the conversation just never really takes off. ?Is anyone else finding this? Am I coming across as someone who is ridiculously anti-social and intolerant? Is that my enjoyment of blogging and social media means that I am only interested in chatting to people with similar interests (ie who know what ?a blog is rather than confusing it with bebo!) and it just happens that takes place online? ?Am I just not polite enough? Or is it the fault of twitter and facebook and my use of their micro conversations? ?Thoughts welcome as I feel myself turning into a Victor Meldrew type recluse up here on the hill!