In Praise of the in person, Not the Virtual

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There is no substitute for visiting someone and talking to them face to face. I often think about this after a satisfying lunch meeting, or a few drinks with a friend, or a romantic rendezvous with my partner. That despite all of our interconnectedness, despite now much we get to know our friends by following their actions and comments on Facebook and Twitter, these interactions, no matter how seemingly intimate, are not the same as seeing them in person.

Having a conversation that goes around and around up and down and then sideways is what you can do when you’re seated across from your friend at a restaurant, like I did today with my pal Jim. Running into people in the flesh, people you like but haven’t seen in a long time, feeling a hug and looking into their eyes, this is all stuff you gotta do in the REAL WORLD.

You just can’t run into an old friend on line, nor can you dance from topic to topic with no random order, no then it’s all lineal, and much more reliant on following the conversation through. Yet it in these random assorted topics where I find the most interesting things out about people.

My friend Jim told me that he’s so glad that I’m always asking him to get together, that I’m one of those people who organizes these ‘in the flesh’ visits. “Keep doing that!” he said.

I made a commitment after I closed my office that I’d get out of the house more, and make regular lunch dates, or bike riding dates, or walk dates. That I would reach out for more of these real world exchanges, and not let the virtual world rule my life. I have found great solace in sharing my anxieties and my triumphs with friends like Jim and Ed, and I’m never not glad I made the effort to get in my car and show up.