The art of socializing and etiquette seem to be dying off at an alarming rate and it really makes me sad. I know a couple of people who just had weddings, and less than 1/3 of the guests bothered to RSVP. They planned this huge wedding and 1/3 of the people couldn't be bothered to put the pre-stamped envelope in their mailbox with the box checked yes or no. They had no idea how much food to buy, how many tables to set, how big to make the dance floor. I'm trying to work through exactly why this bother's me as much as it does and I think the answer is two fold. First, I didn't get a lot of respect growing up and being disrespected just pushes my buttons. I feel like not sending an RSVP says to the person who sent it, my life and my plans are more important than whatever you have going on, so I'm not going to bother making this a priority.
The second reason is much deeper and more complicated. I have anxiety, actual, clinical anxiety and this issues triggers it on so many levels. I'm all for using technology and social media for good, healthy, positive things, but I fear that we are drowning in it. When was the last time you sat down in a public place and struck up a conversation with a stranger? I know that not everyone is an extrovert, and I don't expect them to be, but look around the next time you see people sitting around. They are usually on their phone or tablet. I was in Hobby Lobby yesterday when an elderly lady starting talking to me. It startled me at first, because I was in the zone, but then I engaged in conversation. She just wanted to talk about the Christmas decorations and this really cute thing she had found that made her laugh. We don't do this often enough. So many people become so focused on what they have to do or want to do or need to do right this second, that they don't stop to smell the roses.
I love this blog, and I love those of you who read it. I love connecting with old friends on Facebook and watching a good show on Netflix, but I also value the time when I close my laptop, put down my phone, and walk away. My birthday party was amazing because I got to talk and laugh and cover myself in temporary unicorn tattoos. I was present and engaged. It is my deepest fear that we will eventually lose that ability to connect. That we will go to concerts only to watch it through our phones video recorder or spend the whole time texting our friends and surfing the net. That we will stop sending RSVPs for parties because we can't be bothered with the effort it takes to respond. That we will over book ourselves to the point that we no longer have time to go to parties where we laugh, and talk, and cover ourselves in temporary tattoos. That we will stop taking the time to talk to elderly women in Hobby Lobby.
Times, they are a changing and I'm digging in and holding on. You can count on me to RSVP, and you better believe that this manatee will probably never stop talking to strangers.
I'm a blogger and educator breaking through stigmas and helping women find their voice.