Living and Giving

Would You Say No To a Text? (Third in a Series of Three)

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This is part 3 of a 3 part series that talks about finding and developing relationships you care about when social media can make it confusing to determine which are real. 
As you saw in my first part of this series, being present at lunch can make all the difference. (Read before about my lunch with Steve Mitchell from Ernst and Young, and the gift making each moment about people, relationships and being present. And in the second in our Series, we spoke of \”Saying No to Social Media\”.
So here\’s where we are getting to the crux of what relationships mean in our day-to-day.   I am mentoring a few university students on their projects. Often times, the calls veer into day-to-day questions about values, and what is important in life. These conversations are very sincere, caring as students share their deepest thoughts.
I received this call the other evening from a very smart, engaged engineer who wants to make a difference in clean energy.
\”I\’m feeling really concerned. It feels off,\” he said.
\”What\’s going on,\” I respond.
\”I was just realizing I am walking around campus and I know 100 people.  They know me. We say hi and we are friendly and it\’s like I know all these people.\”
\”But I don\’t,\” he continued.  \”At the end of the day, who of these people has my back…?\”
 
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He was really worried.
It\’s actually a good marker he was worried. For what he was driving at was that he desired substance.  That true connection, that life is about people, relationships and being present. And he didn\’t necessarily feel that.  Who would have his back, or, be there for him?
 
Conversations like these show a natural backlash to our texting and social media norms.  They confront what being connected, feeling loved and feeling safe means.  So we have to work on having relationships in our lives that really make a difference. 
 
\”Deepak,* you\’re having the right thoughts. You\’re valuing people and you\’re seeking greater connections.  But the question I would ask is not \”who has your back,\” but \”whose back do you have?  Who do you really care about, and of those 100 people, who do you really want a long-term, positive relationship of care and true sharing?\”
 
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When we ask how we can care about someone else, we start taking practical steps to connect with them.  We will listen, help them grow and cheer them on.   Now you \”have their back,\” although I would say you\’re seeking a way to connect mind and hearts. We\’re not just trying to protect ourselves or others. We are seeking enriching, loving relationships.  
 
This led Deepak to start thinking about who he wanted a deeper relationship with. Maybe that was more lunches, study times, or shared activities with a few people.  It brought relief to his mind. He had a plan on how to care more deeply about others, and how they in turn would do the same.
 
In this digital world, we get caught up in texting, social media, and simply \”waving to 100 people\” who we might not really know.  For a true connection in life it\’s about people, relationships and being present. How will you connect and care for someone today, offline? Please share!
*name was changed for confidential reasons