Social media and a lot of apps seem like they are meant to connect us with one another. But if you take a moment and shut down your screen, you will see that they are really meant to feed a need in us. And this is the need to be validated and entertained. This does not take away from their usefulness by the way. It is just a silent extra feature.
When that need is taken out of the equation. then real life has to be faced. And facing reality is not a natural skill given to us all from the moment we were born. Constantly facing reality head-on is an acquired skill that comes with finding courage and daily practice.
Unfortunately, a lot of people do not know when it is time to put down the social media technique of posting something that incites responses/likes; and pick up the technique of having real interractions.
Well, the above is usually my short answer to the baffling question, ” Is it so hard chat?”
N.B or P.S (depending on your origins): In these parts, chat ot chatting means the use of Whatsapp or BBM(blackberry messeanger) to have a conversation… forgive me if you already knew this.
But apart from that being my main reason for peoples laziness at carrying conversations(due to the afore-mentioned social media trap); I have other theories, these are:
- They want a different relationship from the one you currently have with them. It could be that you are aquintances and they want to be really good friends. But are either scared to explore what it means to be your friend or are again just social media lazy. How else would you explain someone writing ‘Hi!’ and you replying with a ‘Hi back at ya’ and then it takes them three days before they reply with an annoying ‘Hello’.
2. A proper relationship is what they really want. For females, if the guy is not making any move, they try to stay within the line of sight. Hence the daily ‘Hi’s’.
Here, we haven’t evolved to brazenly asking a guy out. And in this case however, I think it is also this singular focus of getting the guy to make a move on the girl’s part that it becomes so paralysing to try to do anything else.
For the guys, they do not yet have the courage or focus(not-sure-I-actually-want-to-be -in-a-relationship-with-her syndrome) to make the move. So they keep it consistent with the ‘Hi’s’ and the ‘Sups’ untill that great day.
I am not sure it occurs to either of them to try to have a conversation in the meantime; which might just be a faster way to get to their final destination. It is either this, or the social media trap mentality or plain laziness at making the effort to engage another person.
3. You may unknowingly be in a cold war with the other party. This has happened to me a lot. As a scatterbrain with the unknowing ability to offend and fail at uknown(at least to me) expectations, peoples toes sometimes get stepped on.
The senario usually goes like this, a person starts a chart with you, followed by monosyllibic answers to your questions/statements then followed by the silent treatment.
N.B or P.S: The proper Whatsapp silent treatment goes something like this: You send a message and it has been instantly read, as indicated by Whatsapp. But the reply comes 10 hours later and the next reply another 15 hours after the first. And nope, their phone didn’t die as Whatapp gives you an update of the last time they checked in, which is every half hour.
In this situations, I have learnt to get straight to the point by stating I sense a coldness and then I ask if anything is wrong. The real story usually comes out.
4. Fear of rejection or being misunderstood. I personally think this fear is heightened when you aren’t standing face to face with the individual. Some have argued that most people are emboldened when behind their phone or computer screens. These people are interesting to chat with but when met in person turn out to be boring and unable to carry an actual conversation. I feel those people may not be interested in having a real friendship or relationship in the first place, so they assume a persona that makes the virtual relationship interesting.
Someone genuinely interested in the first two senarios mentioned above will have the normal fear and anxiety of not knowing if they are acceptable or not. I have felt more anxious sending texts and not knowing what the reply might be than having one on one conversations in a related senario.
Words are the most functional tools I find, not because I am a writer but because it is the clearest mode of expression.
Actions are more powerful than words, true, but also more easily misunderstood, ignored or taken for granted. When you write something clearly, unless the individual reading it does not want to engage(which is a clear reply in itself) , it is hard for anyone to claim you meant something else. And people will try to do so, if your words make them feel a certain type of way, All of this is meant to indicate how they want to relate with you (especially when you are being clear).
These are my own theories, for why some people find it hard to be engaging in a chat. I have been asked more times than I care to state why I am engaging and entertaining while chatting or in a conversation. And after my many confused, “Isn’t everyone?” and “I don’t believe you. All humans must be naturally good at chatting, we have words!!!”. I decided to analyse a few chats and put my theories out.
Honestly, I just didn’t want to chalk it down to laziness, confused entitlements and emoji’s. Life is more complicated than all that put together.
Why do you think people find it hard to chat?
Images via Flickr