Life

Lost Human Connection

Okay y’all, hang onto your seats for my rant on social media/technology and how it is quite literally killing our human connection.

Let me start with a personal story that has prompted this blog… I will make it as short as I can.

Three weeks ago, while visiting my family in CO, I was sitting at my mom’s kitchen table overlooking Mount Sopris. It hit me then, that people like to see things. We are visual creatures who create dreams, memories and realities based on the experiences our eyes take in. With this thought, I decided that day to change my email newsletter to pictures of what was inside. Rather than flooding your inbox with words upon words that most likely get skipped over, it is now more of a “pick what you want to read” newsletter, with images linked to different topics (Jenesis Fitness, The WILD Women, my blog, recipes, exercises, etc).

This last Wednesday, 2.5 weeks later, I finally finished what I had started weeks prior. With excitement and anticipation of how you all would like it, I hit send.

Not even 3 minutes later I got an email and a text from a “friend” in the online fitness world that I have truly admired. She was accusing me of copying her newsletter layout she had sent the previous week. Stunned and not knowing what she was talking about, I immediately called her on the phone to have a conversation. Texts and emails are read the way they want to be heard, so this was a time for a phone call. She didn’t pick up, so I left a voicemail. I then received a text saying that she didn’t have “time or energy” to deal with this. The floodgates opened and tears started pouring. How could she say the mean things she said in her original text message, but not have the “time or energy” to talk about it?

With no ability to actually speak with her, I did what I hated to do and sent her a text trying to explain this coincidence. A few passive aggressive text messages later with a contradictory “nothing but love” signature, she unfollowed my newsletter and radio silence on the phone front.

WTF!!

I was in tears… granted I am terribly emotional with the unfathomable things that are going on in our life right now. But this just seemed like teenage girl bullshit to me. If you don’t have “time or energy” to discuss a conflict that you brought up, then DO NOT start the conversation. But more importantly DO NOT start the conversation via texting.

Sooo… that’s the story in a nutshell. I know it sounds so childish and petty, because IT IS. But it also hit my heart like a ton of bricks. I don’t have the emotional strength to handle this right now. I have cried multiple times and my heart hurts knowing that someone could be so cold. Someone that I admired. With no time to have a conversation, she still had time to send texts and was incredibly active on social media all day. Benefit of the doubt, it is a HUGE part of her job to be active on social media, but really?

It was then that I realized that social media is literally taking away any human connection we have. I mean I have known it and studies show it, but this time I felt it. We are more wrapped up in how many “likes” or “friends” we have, than concerned about how our actions make others feel. Our heads are buried too deep in our scrolling frenzy to realize what is actually happening in the world around us.

I say “we” and “our” because I have been guilty of it too. We all have. Don’t deny it. But, after this interaction with someone that I thought was a real friend… someone that wouldn’t take the time away from her busy schedule to listen… someone that hid behind her typed words… someone that is an entirely different person than she portrays herself to be on social media. I am done with it. I am calling people out, including myself. I am done with the facades. I am done with people hiding behind their screens. I am done with people not having “time or energy”. Speaking of… the time and energy that is sucked away from our lives on a daily basis with social media is terrifying. The human connection is being lost and I am going to try my damndest to not let it happen to me.

I am not getting rid of social media and texting (although I want to). It is a part of my work as well. When used with some sense of control, it also can be a great tool for staying in touch, educating and even inspiring others. But I am making a pact to you all today to use it for my work and to use it sparingly.

On a positive note, today before writing this lengthy blog, I called four of my good friends. I try to do that every Sunday anyways. Usually, it goes straight to voicemail. But today, all four people picked up and we had great conversations. A bit of my faith in human connection was restored. So, all hope is not lost, we just have to be more aware of being humans and not robots.

22 thoughts on “Lost Human Connection

  1. Great post Jenny!! It’s so true – I think most of us have had some sort of similar experience – and yes it can be very hurtful when people lash out in text or email but are unwilling to have a productive personal conversation. It’s cowardly to hide behind texts saying things you would never say to another person in a real life conversation. We all love you precisely because you are always a positive and motivating force!! Hugs

    1. So true, Jenn! I always tell my girls that texting is one dimensional communication and you can’t really get the full gist of what is being said. Pick up the dang phone! 🙂

    2. Thanks for reading Jenn and for your kind words, as always. I love you my dear and am grateful to have you in my life!

  2. I’m sorry this happened. Part of me thinks social media will help us find out who our true friends really are. I hate it. I hate the loss of conversation. I despise how people will say anything hurtful with no regard because they are hiding behind their device and out of reach. This is wrecking our culture. You hit the nail on the head. My best relationships, the only real relationships I have, are with people that do not have a Facebook account and barely use text messaging. People who want to have a conversation and will talk through disagreements are a treasure these days.

    Keep on doing what you do. You, my dear are genuine.

    1. LeeAnne, thank you for taking time to read and thank you for your kind words. I like your thought that possibly social media’s tool is to help us “weed” out the real from the fake friends. I do think it serves a great purpose when used appropriately, but if people don’t have the guts to face you and have conversations (or even arguements) face to face or voice to voice… that is a problem. That’s the weeding!

    1. It seems like we are not alone on this one. But, we do have the power to change the way social media effects us personally. And hopefully it will trickle down!

  3. Jenny, I’m floored and so sorry to hear this happened to you. This is my same story about a year ago! I can so relate! We can chat over a hike sometime soon. Thank you for painting such great pictures for us and I always feel value and feel your heart in all of your social media communications! Love you girl!

    1. Thanks my friend… and yes a hike sounds wonderful! I truly appreciate the time you take to read my stuff, give me advice and mostly just be present in my world! I love you sweet girl!

  4. Ahhh Jenny… I had to reach out to you on this. I’m sorry you are hurting. I don’t have anything groundbreaking to offer but I wish you comfort and validation that you are doing the good work. Social media can be an ick thing as much as it offers a bit of spark to help create connections that hopefully become genuine and lasting. I’ve been here, and in a way probably always will be with the work I do…and I’ve deduced that with billions of people on this planet we all see eachother now, and the original concepts that once were(or what we thought were) are not. With only so many layouts, formats, design, etc, etc, etc it’s a really small playing field that no one can claim ownership to, and we can only offer our unique “fingerprints” among everyone else doing the same thing. There is only one YOU and you can only offer YOU, your spark, and that is the differentiating detail from from all others.

    Keep doing you. Integrity, positivity and being a grown-ass woman is everything. They will be them. Insecurity is a tough B and I hope they find confidence to work through. XX

    1. Thanks Shannon! Words of wisdom from you my friend. “Integrity, positivity and being a grown-ass woman is everything.” LOVE!

  5. Jenny I am so sorry you had to deal with this issue. Life is to short and we have to think better of ourselves and make each day count. Saying that, yes it’s very difficult and if people want to vent and then not back it up with talk, it hurts and we just have to let it go. Knowing you, it was your intention to make the best Newsletter you could with your own knowledge and personal experiences. The other trainer should be thrilled that you both are on the same page at this time in your lifes without even talking to one another. Yes I too have made mistakes with this social media stuff. I forget once you hit that send button it’s out there for all to see. Remember true friends like you for you. Mistakes included. Since this friend could not talk with you about this issue and distanced herself from communication, she was never a true friend. Friends a those that help us and are there for us, might give us advice and maybe even disagree with us but they never leave us. Let’s do lunch soon! Love Ya

  6. I’m sad you had such a bad experience with a “friend.” It appears she’s not such a great “friend” after all. It’s a good reminder for all of us to be better friends, and your conclusions are spot-on!

    1. Thanks for reading Karen. I hope my post came across as not complaining about the interaction, but more just realizing that human connection is precious. We all need to be better friends than texting, “liking” and “commenting”, like you say! 🙂

  7. Oh, Jen! How could anyone who knows you believe this of you?!?! That blows me away. It speaks volumes about that individual that it was handled in that way. Your shock and dismay are completely justified.
    I completely agree with your feelings about social media. While there is so much good about how it has increased accessibility, it has this ugly underbelly. We are losing our true, meaningful connections. I love that you are fighting against that, Jen. You are a woman of impeccable character and ethics.

    1. Your words touched my heart sweet girl! Thank you! I am SOOOO looking forward to White Rim with you in September!

  8. Hi jenny. I was talking to a friend about people who were my friends at my youngest ages and you must have slipped into my subconscious because I had a dream about you last night. On a whim I decided to look you up. I don’t usually use social media but I was suprised to see you all over the internet. I’m so proud of you. I had no idea you were doing so much and so well. I’m sorry about your problem here. I agree. People need to get off of their social media and out into the world. I also didn’t know you had epilepsy. I was pretty naive when I was young. My sister has epilepsy after a fall down the stairs about 8 years ago so I understand how scary and intrusive it can be so I’m sorry you have to deal with all of that. I hope you have an awsome life that you love because you deserve it. I’ve always thought highly of you mostly becuase you were kind to me when others were not. I know… I can be kind of weird. I don’t have Facebook or anything like it so if you want to say hi back you will have to email me. Not that you have to.

    1. Nikki.. oh my goodness… so great to hear from you girl! I was walking with my dad by your old house when I was home last time and we chatted about you. I sure hope life is making you smile! Oh and don’t feel naive about not knowing about my epilepsy, I didn’t really tell anyone until a few years ago… it was my little secret because I was embarrassed of it. Now I realize it’s an opportunity to help a lot of people.

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