In case you haven’t noticed, I have the gift of gab. That might even be an understatement. My dad recently told me I possessed “Olympic-level” verbal communication abilities while others tended to be at the “Hershey’s Track Meet level.”
My parents first noticed, when I was about 2 years old, that I was “spirited.” They couldn’t reply to my toddler ramblings with a “Yeah, OK Abi,” or a mindless “Mm-hmm.” I wanted conversation!
My mom likes to tell a story from when I was 3, and she and my dad played “the silent game” with me, trying to buy just a minute of silence. Once, I responded with, “But I have so many words!” I couldn’t imagine even a moment of holding all my thoughts inside.
It seems that, as an 18-year-old, I still have an extreme amount of words. The other day I was telling my dad a story, one that seemed to never, ever end (This is not unusual. I’m sort of known for my inability to summarize). In the middle of my story, he started to laugh, and it wasn’t a particularly funny story.
I asked what was going on, and he joked, “Oh, I just had an idea for an invention.” He went on to explain that I talk more than 250 words per minute, and it can be a little difficult to comprehend. His invention would be a headset for the listener, and it would block out every third word that I said. This way, fewer words would need to be processed by the listener, and my dad could comprehend my ramblings “on a more conversational level.”
As you might guess, I could talk to a person face-to-face literally all day long. A friend and I even refer to our first get-together as “five-hour coffee,” because there was so much to talk about that we just didn’t stop.
I love car rides to physical therapy in Hutchinson with my mom because we just talk the entire time. Even my physical therapists joke about how my verbal test scores must have been through the roof.
Communication is so important to me, but I can be on the opposite end of the spectrum when I’m not physically in the same place as a friend. I can be pretty out of sight, out of mind. If it wasn’t for my use of various technologies, I don’t think I would have stayed in contact with my Hillsboro friends while in Chicago, or my North Park friends while home for the summer.
So, in the interest of wanting to maintain and even further our friendships while away from each other, my friends and I have used multiple modern ways of communicating. To name a few forms, we send text messages, video chat on Skype, send each other Facebook videos, write letters, and send fun and funny care packages.
Texting is our most common form of communication because a message can be typed and sent in less than 10 seconds. Even if a day is too full to call or set up a Skype date, texting is a quick way to let the other person know I’m thinking about them.
I know not everyone works this way, but when I see something that reminds me of a friend, I take a picture of it and text it to him/her. It might seem silly, but when I get messages like that it lets me know that my friends are thinking about me, even if we can’t be together right now.
I realize that texting is controversial, but I also believe it is woven into the fabric of my generation. While I don’t think that text messaging should be used in place of face-to-face communication, I’ve found it can be very helpful in maintaining relationships.
For example, my grandma and I text on and off throughout the week. I love her to death, but, realistically, I probably wouldn’t be able to call her twice a week to talk. Texting helps keep us up-to-date on each other’s lives while we’re in different states.
Another favorite form of communication is Skype, a software application that allows users to make free phone calls and video chat with other users.
Skype can be used for more than just talking, though. My friend Nikki and I watched a movie together the other night. Did I mention she’s in northern Minnesota right now? We used a feature known as “screen sharing” during our call, and together watched the DVD I was playing on my computer.
Even though it’s hard being away from people I love, both while I’m at school and during the summer, I’m thankful for the technology that helps me maintain my desired “Olympic” level of communication.