More conversations, please

 Instead of a conference room I have a conversation space at my office in the 1774 Shakespeare Head Building in Providence, RI.

Instead of a conference room I have a conversation space at my office in the 1774 Shakespeare Head Building in Providence, RI.

Have you ever read a book about a destructive habit and thought, "Oh, NO, that's me!"

Last Friday I heard Sherry Turkle, MIT professor and author of the new book Reclaiming Conversations, talk about how we're destroying our relationships by hiding behind our screens.  It's an epidemic. And I plead guilty.

The vast majority of us prefer to use texts, Tweets, emails, and other person-behind-the-screen communications than having a conversation.   Without conversations, our relationships turn into transactions and we lose our capacity for learning, friendship, love, and empathy.

(In fact, college students are 40% less empathetic than those of 30 years ago, according to research by Sara Konrath, a professor at Indiana University.)

"People would rather text than talk because there's safety hiding behind the screen," explained Sherry. "Conversations take place in real time and we reveal ourselves in talking together. There's no control.  If you'd rather text than talk to someone you might want to ask yourself what you're trying to avoid."

In today's Quest2017 prompt, Best Self Magazine Editor Kristen Noel asks:

Where can you be brave enough to bring forth even more of yourself — to infuse your work, creativity and business with that which is uniquely YOU, thus inspiring others to do more of the same?

In 2017 I am going spend a lot of time with people, having good conversations.  Maybe some of them won't be "good" but uncomfortable. And that's OK, too, because relationships are messy.  But far better to show up as ourselves and listen with a naked heart than hiding away behind a screen.

Transactional relationships don't inspire me or serve as a creative muse. But conversations full of provocative ideas, wonder and human warmth? That's what I need to infuse my work in 2017.

So if I don't see your Facebook post, Tweet or email, call me. Better yet, come to my sun-filled office in the 1774 Shakespeare's Head building, home of the first bookstore and newspaper in Rhode Island. It's a great place for people to come together.

One caveat: I think the building may be haunted. Perhaps it's time to have a conversation with those revolutionary spirits from Colonial America.

There's so much to talk about when we stop hiding.