“We don’t talk anymore”

Posted by Prospect‘s Asia Pacific Team

‘We don’t talk anymore’  Cliff Richard, 1979

The fact I have titled this blog after a song written in the late 70’s, shows you that I am not a millennial or a Generation Z-er. I didn’t grow up as a child with an iPad in my hand for entertainment, nor did I chat to my friends via WhatsApp as my ‘social life’.

I am a communicator. I like people. I like having interactions with people. I like to talk, some may say I talk too much, but surely that’s better than not talking at all, right?

Whilst having lunch alone yesterday it became apparent how anti-social we have all become.  Now some of you may feel that eating alone is anti-social however I took this 45-minute break on my own as my thinking time- time away from my desk; to get away from interruptions and away from my email and smart phone. I needed time with myself; to hear my thoughts and ideas – just me, my notebook and a pen.

I went to one of my favourite lunch spots in Wan Chai and ordered my food. It’s a popular restaurant so I had to share a table – no problem there at all of course, that’s just life in Hong Kong! I sat next to 3 people who may have been millennials, or at least looked very much like millennials, and they were all glued to their screens. As I started to let my brain wonder, hoping to come up with creative ideas to solve a current problem, my mind kept coming back to my 3 co-diners. They were not talking or having any interaction with each other – at all. They were just eating whilst their eyes were locked onto their phones. At the end of their lunch break, one of them said in Cantonese, what I can only presume was, “Best we get back to the office”. They then put their phones away and proceeded to walk out of the restaurant. I am at least hoping that they will have talked and had some conversation on their way back to work.

I wrote this blog looking around the restaurant and at least one person on every table was on their phone- ignoring their work colleagues, family or friends and being ‘sociable’ with something or someone else on their phone.

When did we become so anti-social? Have we lost the ability to socialise person to person? Will we all end up being lonely and mute as we have forgotten how to verbally communicate with each other? Does sending a WhatsApp message with an emoji mean we are developing emotional, real relationships? NO!

So readers, please can I ask you all to take 30-45 mins off your phone, to write down in a notebook your ideas, thoughts and solutions to problems or go and eat lunch with friends or colleagues and leave your phones behind. Nothing should be so urgent that you cannot wait 30 mins before responding. I can guarantee that laughing and talking with another human being, face to face, will inspire you, will make you feel more positive and will enable you to go into the afternoon with passion, ideas and energy.

Go on – give it a try!!