Big Wide World

Or:
A 5 Step Guide to Maintaining Friendly Connections

image

In
this modern world, with its abundance of gadgetry to keep us connected, there
are some rules that should be adhered to for the sake of sanity and good
manners. Yes, manners. Good ones. It’s the only way for many of us to retain
confidence in our fellow humans and to be assured that we do have actual
friends and not just people we know on social media but don’t actually interact
with, virtually or otherwise.

So
here it is, my 5 Step Guide to Maintaining Friendly Connections:

  1. Be an organiser once in a
    while – most organisers don’t want to be the chief boss all the time (though I
    grant you there are exceptions!); but in any case, be the instigator every now
    and again so you can appreciate the skills and work of your organising friend –
    and they can bitch and moan when your choice
    doesn’t work out so well instead of vice versa!
  2. Respond and interact – conversations are
    important and people will always need to talk to each other in order to develop
    deep and meaningful relationships. With so many ways to interact now, it’s
    bizarre how few real interactions I actually have these days!
  3. Acknowledge invitations –
    if someone’s gone to the trouble of inviting you to something, the least you
    can do is acknowledge it – and I mean before the RSVP date – unless of course
    you don’t like the person, in which case, keep ignoring any invitations they
    send and they’ll eventually get the hint and cease all contact with you.
  4. Social media is about
    interaction – if you never ‘like’ or ‘heart’ or comment or ‘pin’ or share,
    what’s the point? Am I being paranoid or are you sitting in silent judgement
    all the time? And if so, no fair, because no one can return the favour if you
    never put yourself on the line!
  5. Stand still when you’re on
    your smartphone – maybe even try sitting down in a comfortable position –
    you’ll be amazed at how few people and inanimate objects you crash into when
    you’re not reading, texting and scrolling on the move! And how much faster
    you’ll be when you’re not multi-tasking.

I’m
sorry if any of these offend you, but really, it’s tiresome how casually rude
people have become because they’re allegedly so terribly busy. Busy on Facebook
and Twitter and Pintrest and Spotify and Snapchat and on Stan and Netflix and
on so-called interactive games. Busy reading endless sources of news. Busy
getting distracted at work and then staying late to finish it. Busy being busy.

No,
I just can’t deal with it anymore! I need more connection than what I get on a screen and I suspect you do too. It’s time to bring back the dinner party and
the Sunday lunch. Hello, games night! Let’s have a fondue! Let’s go to the
movies.

Let’s get into the garden
or plant a tree.

How about a bike ride or a walk? How about a crafter-noon? Let’s go to the playground and the skate park. Let’s have an excursion to the zoo, or the museum, or an art gallery. How ‘bout a show? Let’s get a cuppa
together.

There’s
a big wide world out there. You can see it reflected on screens, but it’s not
in them, no matter how big or small or smart it is. We have lots of tools to use to connect deeply with the people we care about – and to discover connections we didn’t realise – only use them and we will connect, and grow, together.

Dedicated to EM Forster, who knew how much we could be if we would ‘only connect’.

©
Palitja Moore, text 2016, and image, Shiraz Trail Trees Willunga to McLaren Vale, May 2016.

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