Friday, 27 December 2019

Connection and Challenge: Because Not Every Phone Call Is a Great Phone Call and That's Okay

I’m not trying to make a huge thing out of this but it struck me that sometimes there’s a value in connection, in reaching out to someone, that goes beyond whatever words might be exchanged in the course of the call or conversation or whatever it might be.

Audio version here (YouTube)

A friend messaged me today to ask if I’d like to have a call with her while she was traveling to meet up with somebody. And I was “Yeah cool, let’s do that!” Unfortunately, although we started off really well, by the time my friend got onto the bus we discovered it was actually quite hard to continue with the conversation. I’m not sure if it’s because she was on the bus and maybe traveling in and out of a decent signal area, or whether there was some other technological reason, but it became difficult to hear each other. So after a little while, before we got too frustrated with it or with each other, we decided to leave it there. We’ll pick up another time.

Afterwards, I messaged my friend to say thanks for the call. She replied, “What, even though we could hardly hear each other?” And I was like “Yeah, yeah, absolutely!” That got me thinking because on one level — as a phone call, in terms of being able to talk with each other — it wasn’t the best communication experience in the world. We did get to chat a bit initially before the signal started to go dodgy, but no it wasn’t great on that level. But for me — and I like to think the same goes for my friend — it was still a success.

It was lovely to hear her voice (while I could) and to just connect. The connection itself, the fact that she wanted to connect and to call me, and that I wanted to have a call too, that has meaning in itself, over and above the success or otherwise of the call. And I’m not trying to make a huge thing out of this but it struck me that sometimes there’s a value in connection, in reaching out to someone, that goes beyond whatever words might be exchanged in the course of the call or conversation or whatever it might be.

Right now towards the end of the year I’m looking back over the past twelve months and forward to the year ahead. My two key words this year — for the past few years actually — have been Connection and Challenge. And in microcosm that little experience with my friend today sort of summed it up. Connection, certainly. There was value there for me and hopefully for her too. Challenge? Well, when I think of challenge I’m usually thinking of bigger things, but there was a technical challenge for us both which we handled pretty well. We didn’t get upset, we didn’t get cross with each other like, “It must be your fault.” “No, I think it’s your fault!” We just accepted the situation. Hey, this isn’t working for us right now is it? Let’s do it another time. We ended cleanly and nicely and rounded everything out.

In a very small-scale way it just made me smile and if I can carry that forward into next year with the small things and the bigger things then I think I’m doing okay. Because that’s what matters to me. That’s what brings value to me. Connection – with my friends, with other people, and with myself too.

Maybe it’s that no man is an island thing? I don’t know. For a long time I had very few connections or friendships outside my immediate family. And now I do! It’s not the quantity of those that’s so important it’s the quality. I have people — I have connections — which mean the world to me. They are not always easy. They are not always smooth-running. They can be challenging. Not just on a technical level like today but the connections themselves, the relationships themselves, can be challenging. But that’s what brings value to my life, and I hope through those connections I bring value to other people’s lives too.

I think I’ll bring this to a close. I don’t want to make too much of a big deal about it but it just made me smile today. If my friend’s hearing/reading this she’ll know who she is and what it’s all about.

So, keep the connections strong, keep connecting, keep the communication flowing. Bye for now.

 

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