"I am large. I contain multitudes." - Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Pay Attention

"Pay attention to the people who take the time to hang out with you." ~ Anonymous

I read this line and saw this photo on Tumblr today. I am pleased to say that I try my best to do this. Pay attention, I mean. If you and I are friends and we met up for coffee, you wouldn't see me on my phone until the end of our meet-up and probably only because I needed to get my wallet to pay and saw my phone.

If you and I see each other in person, I can tell you this much: You will have my full attention.

I always consider attention akin to a gift. After all, my attention is my life and my love made manifest. That makes attention a gift - and a privilege and honor - that we give each other.

Last year I gave up Facebook. I still have an account because it's my default address book and possibly the easiest way to get in touch with me. But I'm no longer engaged in that space.

There are a lot of things I learned from my disengagement.

One of them is that very few of my friends will purposefully let me know what is up in their lives because most of them assume that once they've posted it on FB, everyone would know, including me. I grasped the fact that others may not consider my friendship valuable enough to go out of their way to share their lives with me, specifically. I say that with no judgement. I will say though with honesty and a sad heart that I miss meeting up with friends who want to let me know about their lives and want to know about mine. Because, isn't that what friends do?

The way we communicate with each other has changed. The onus is now on me to know what is happening with you. And if I don't know, it's not because you didn't tell me, It's because I did not seek you in the spaces where you would broadcast your life.

One of my joys now is meeting up with friends who are either not on Facebook or don't make it a huge part of their everyday lives. I enjoy their company in a most special way. They don't assume I know anything about what they're up to and take the time to tell me. In turn, they ask how I've been. And with genuine interest and curiosity, we listen to each other. Confide in one another. Laugh together.

God, how priceless.


cee said...

Wow! This post has made me resolve never to look at my phone when hanging out with people and really pay attention. (i really don't want to be like the people in the picture)

Anonymous said...

Great !!!

Tammy Roush said...

Read your post and loved it! How true it is that we find our lives revolving around a simple device that can, if we let it, control us. It's almost as if we have a relationship with a "thing" that has many of the characteristic of what we ultimately want in a friend, right? We always know it's going to be there, it always gives us feedback, and never betrays our trust. If only we could find true friends the way we've found and chosen the perfect phone that fits our needs. I loved your post! Found it relateable to my every day dilemmas.

Mayang said...

Thanks for your comments, Tammy. I think all of us will have to consciously deal with this dilemma but it's good to be aware of it so we can address our behavior.

Love is giving attention, as they say.

Happy weekend! :)

Twenties Panic said...

Very true! A good friend of mine just left her Facebook and I honestly didn't understand why. She then explained that she was starting to live her life for Facebook and not just using it as a fun way to share. She would think about doing something then quickly think up the post that she wanted to create for it.

Mayang said...

Yeah, I can so relate to your friend. Please tell her it gets easier! And life gets better. She'll enjoy living in her own skin, not having to have to please any audience. Self-love first. You can't give what you don't have.