How do you communicate in 2019?

By Bruce Hartley


Life Columnist

How do you communicate best with your grown kids, aging parents and significant others? What works best? Is it face-to-face, emails, phone calls, texting or social media?

For many of us, texting is a common form of daily communication. My nearly 30-year-old grown kids use texting to check on me or ask questions. We also share funny photos and sayings via text. Texting is our regular communication mode.

I have found that my 80 something mother even enjoys using text as her regular form of communication. Since she has discovered texting, she appears to enjoy it. I wonder if this comes from her being raised with a focus on writing notes and letters?

I have learned that a quick text from me goes a long way in helping us feel connected. I try to send her a text a few times each week to demonstrate I’m thinking about her. As with my grown kids; I have found myself saving a phone call to cover a more detailed topic or concern.

Figuring out what type of communication method works best for family and friends has been tricky. I often tell my communication students that we need to figure out how to connect with our target market or audience. The responsibility for communicating with each other effectively is on the shoulders of the person sending the communication message and not the receiver of the message.

I am still an old school communicator, and I like to talk and listen. I tell my communication colleagues that I’m worried our world will lose sight of how to talk and listen to others if we rely mostly on digital communication methods such as texting.

One trick I have learned is to use downtime for making phone calls. My daughter is the queen of this practice. She often calls me when she is commuting home from her, and her commute gives her free time to call. I love being able to hear her voice and catch up on her life.

Parents never get tired of hearing the voices of kids at any age.

My mom has told me that my sister calls her when she is commuting to and from work, as well. My mom likes these phone calls because they are personal and don’t tie up too much time. My mom doesn’t want to feel like she is taking time away from her kids and their families, and that works well for them.

I live about two hours from my mom, and I often call her when I’m driving back for a long weekend or break. This phone call helps me pass the time on the road, and it helps us catch up before I arrive. We usually have more to talk about when I arrive, but this allows us to be free to do fun things that we both enjoy from watching TV, going to a movie or flea market shopping.

Finally, there is my fiancé who also lives two hours away. We use texting to say good morning and for basic connection during the day. We’ve been doing this for five years, and it works for us. We save our phone calls for important things that come up during the day and for our nightly goodnight call.

Two thousand nineteen will be wild for us as he will be moving to Oklahoma next summer and will be getting married next December. It will be interesting seeing how our communication methods change when we are in the same house. 

Happy 2019!

Copyright The Gayly - 1/20/2019 @12:25 p.m. CST.