I’m sure the title of this post got your attention!
I was a wee-bit hesitant to use this title for this post so I reached out to my pastor – who happens to be extremely knowledgeable in all things related to the Queen’s English – and he assured me that it can be used in a secular setting!
I’m using this word for one simple reason. On Friday, January 1st the folks from Lake Superior State University released their annual list of “banished” words for the coming year and, to my great dismay, the word CONVERSATION is on the list.
I am not impressed.
In fact, I find the inclusion of the word conversation in this list to be egregious and yes, blasphemous.
Lake Superior State University notes that “online publications invite us to ‘join the conversation,’ which is usually more of a scream-fest” and shares a comment from one of their respondents who wonders if “debate has become too harsh for our delicate sensibilities. Now we are all encouraged to have a ‘conversation,’ and everything will somewhat be magically resolved” as reasons and possible evidence why the word should be banished.
When one considers the increase use of social media and messaging apps (see the recent Pew Research Center report on Mobile Messaging and Social Media 2015) and the fact that everyday seems to present us with new and exciting ways to communicate with people, it may make sense to banish the word.
I’ve made it clear in my past writings that I believe in the power of conversations. I host a podcast dedicated to long-form conversations. My ‘day-job’ requires me to be in conversation, thankfully over coffee, on most days. To put it simply, conversations matter. Meaningful, in person, face-to-face conversations matter.
Because through conversations relationships are formed, knowledge is shared and, more importantly, life happens and finds meaning.
The dictionary (I use Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary circa 1987) defines conversation (n.): as the oral exchange of sentiments, observations, opinions or ideas. Maybe that’s where we’ve missed the boat, we forget the “exchange of ideas and opinions” part and expect, and in some cases, demand that people agree with our beliefs. And when they don’t, we dismiss them – sometimes with choice language – and never give them the time of day.
Conversations matter because they provide us an opportunity to broaden our perspective.
Conversations matter because they provide us with an opportunity to make a connection with someone.
Conversations matter because through them we can discover who we are.
Don’t Miss The Opportunity
Sometime today or later this week, you’ll have an opportunity to be in conversation. It might be with someone you know well or it might be with a complete stranger. When this opportunity presents itself, try not to find refuge in your social network feeds or dismiss the opportunity out of fear that this person will disagree with your view of the world.
Instead, be vulnerable and immerse yourself in the possibility that this conversation might be the one that will change your world.
If that sounds too corny or unrealistic, just remember, that one conversation might be the one where you learn something new about yourself and your world. It might also be the conversation that becomes the cornerstone to an incredible friendship.
Let’s not be too quick to banish the word conversation from our vocabulary … #justsyaing!