Cut It Out

Cut it out! We hear parents say it to their children. We hear teens say it to their friends. We hear seniors say it to politicians. And truth be told, even though it has its cutting side, it’s usually a statement born of frustration moreso than anything else.

The world has become a more negative place in which to live these past few years. With the drop in social graces, the disrespect for rules and laws, the lowering of moral standards (compare advertising 30 years ago and advertising nowadays if you have any doubts whatsoever) and more, is it any wonder that people are becoming more abrupt?

Back in the day (and I’m talking a hundred plus years ago, not a couple of generations back), one could be politely abrupt without ruffling any feathers. Back in the day, it was acceptable to answer your front door when someone came calling without advance notice and to inform the person at your front door that you were not “in.” It was obvious to both parties that whoever was not “in” was most assuredly physically “in” however it was also understood by that statement that it was not a convenient time for the visitor to expect the person called upon to accommodate the visitor’s unexpected visit.

These days, there’s voice mail, e-mail, Bluetooth and Blackberry options, YouTube, tweets, status updates on Facebook and MySpace, Skyping, texting and so much more. People are inundated with technology and nearly everyone expects everyone else to accommodate their unexpected technological visits without consideration for the fact that their unexpected technological visits may be intruding on another person’s time and space.

This is surely the Instant Gratification era.

Oftentimes, complete strangers have commented negatively — and without invitation to insert themselves into my space — that it’s horrible that I obviously do not have ‘texting’ ability with my cellphone. I don’t want it; I don’t need it. Passing acquaintances bellow at me for not answering my front door when it is obvious I am at home just because they feel I should listen to inconsequential comments right at that moment — because it’s convenient for them — that have nothing whatsoever to do with me and that have no impact on my life.

There isn’t anything so important in life that it can’t wait for the right time and the right mode of communication.

It’s not that I don’t care about others because I most assuredly do. However, there’s a time and a place for everything and this is what has been lost in the headlong run towards technological over-connectivity.

The simple pleasures of finding a real handwritten letter in the mailbox from a friend or answering a long distance phone call from someone living abroad have been cut short or obliterated completely thanks to over-connectivity. While I have felt this way for quite some time, the point was driven home some months ago when I unexpectedly received a handwritten letter from my best friend who lives in the United States.

What this letter said before I even opened the envelope was that I was important to my friend … important enough to invest time and effort into sitting down, picking up pen and paper, and actually investing one’s self in writing the letter. I was important enough to that friend to have the letter carefully folded, caringly inserted into the envelope where the address was also handwritten and purposely taken to a post office where it was stamped and handed to U.S. Postal Service for delivery.

Anyone can text. Anyone can email. But it takes a lot of special consideration to deliberately write and send a handwritten letter to someone else.

Remember this the next time you want to make someone feel special. It isn’t the big things in life that always stand out the most in people’s minds but rather the important little things that make lasting impressions.

Isn’t it about time people ‘cut it out’ and made use of old technology a little more often? I think so.

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