How many times do we see people sitting together having lunch, or walking together and not looking at each other at all? When was the last time you put your phone or tablet away and actually looked at the person next to you long enough to notice? Did you notice their face changing in any way; a new wrinkle; the colour of their eyes; a new hairstyle or just how wonderful their smile is?
When was the last time you looked at someone to see their beauty, inside not just out?
In this day and age of high levels of communication and technology we are missing what’s really important – understanding non-verbal communication. Have we come so far that we are lost – that young people feel estranged and lonely from their friends yet their Facebook says they have hundreds of them. Their Instagram is full of photos and yet there is no one to listen to their opinions.
Research reported by Time Magazine, finds that the younger generations and students have less empathy and ability to understand and share the feelings of others than students of previous generations. Digital communication, social networking, video conferencing and other forms of new media are being blamed for this loss of empathy.
In this day and age it’s much easier to say negative things about others if you don’t have to say it to their face and if you don’t like engaging in your problems, you simply log off or even ‘unfriend’ yourself.
But then who do you talk to and who do you believe really understands what your going through?
The trouble with the easy option of technology is that there is no empathy, when we don’t work to understand the needs of others there is also a significant loss of trust. If someone doesn’t really know you and what you’re thinking then it has been proven that they trust you less. This is why so many young people feel more isolated.
This can have major implications for their personal lives and when they go into the business world where trust is essential for successful leadership and partnerships.
The most important thing is that when you respond to the needs and feelings of other people, you gain their trust.
Others may be labelled uncaring and insensitive, but you will be trusted when you’re able to understand and respond to the needs and values of individuals, and the group.
Take the time to get to know someone around you that you have not spent any time with, especially in your workplace. Look at them and find out through old fashioned interactions of face to face who they are. You just may find a great new friendship, a trusting relationship or a long term ally.