Chris Markiewicz's Blog
Every Monday – thoughts, observations and ideas that hold up a mirror to who & how we are

I just called…….

When’s the last time you picked up the phone to ring someone and said “I just called to say hi, how are you?”

 I don’t know about you, but I love a good natter. Yet, I fear that this is an activity that is becoming increasingly rare.

 So, what’s happened? Why do many of us natter less?

 I’d say there are two main reasons:

 1. Busy busy

 People who live in the former Soviet bloc apparently often bemoan the fact that, since the fall of communism and subsequent growth of a capitalist system, nobody seems to have time to chew the fat (or the cud, if they’re vegetarian) any more. It’s been suggested that this is because they are too busy pursuing their careers and trying to make money. Sitting into the night and putting the world to rights over a bottle of vodka is very much a thing of the past for many, especially in the cities.

 Are you too busy to natter? Might you be seen by others as being too busy to call or visit spontaneously? I am aware that there are any number people I know that I perceive to be so and I don’t risk calling them for a chat.

 2. Tap tap tap – send

 I won’t bleat on about Twitter and Facebook. I use both and enjoy engaging with others through them. However, they fall way short in the natter stakes. These modes somehow lack the warmth of the sound of another human voice along with that “in the moment” spontaneity and flow of a natter.

 Conversation in all its forms is, alongside sugar, my “fix” of choice. Unlike sugar, though, it does me a world of good. I find it immensely satisfying and even therapeutic. For me, there is nothing like putting the ‘phone down at the end thirty minutes or longer of nattering. It can set me up for the rest of the day. Equally, sitting at a table with my fist around a mug of tea immersed in convivial banter with one or more people can be bliss. As for the all-nighter – heaven!

 So, what are the criteria that make up a good natter? 

  • It has to be spontaneous. You can’t schedule a natter. You pick up the phone or pop round on a whim. A natter flows.
  • There is no agenda – no desired outcome such as to get business or a favour from someone.
  • It needs to last a bare minimum of twenty minutes.
  • Absolutely no malicious gossip or excessive whingeing
  • No sharing of deep, complex problems – such conversations may be important to have, but they ain’t nattering.
  • They need to happen in person or by phone, preferably using a landline – mobile phones are likely to cook your brain. Skype may work well, but in my experience it’s not too reliable (at least on my PC)
  • Never, ever in public. A natter is a personal thing, not to be shared by all and sundry in a railway carriage or while  having your toenails plucked in the beauty parlour.

 Fancy a natter then? You could enjoy a really good one in less than the time it takes to watch an episode of Eastenders or the TV news bulletin….. and I know which does me more good.

 Yet, as with so many of my posts, I need to heed my own advice and pick up the phone. So, watch out, it could be you……

 See ya!           


2 Responses to “I just called…….”

  1. The art of conversation – it is an art, isn’t it? Love a natter too. (NB Chris: girly thought: eyebrows are plucked – ouch – and toenails are painted or cut, not plucked (call yourself a beauty parlour – this is torture!) 😉

  2. Hi Chris

    You are a real expert at it too. I really enjoy the times we spend in dialogue (or is that too formal a word for it?) and find it really enriching. I should add, that not many people would call me a natterer.

    Chat time is where connections are made. Certainly it is something that reinforces the “Working with Difference” project I work on. I am always amazed at how little people know of their colleague at work, yet they refer to them as friends. This is exemplified by an experience from this weekend. I went to the 40th birthday party of an ex-work “friend” and when looking for a gift for him, I realised I knew not a thing about him; what music he liked or books he read etc. so ended up giving him the now customary gift card. What a shame and a massive statement about how little we had really talked when we were colleagues.

    Lesson learnt!

    As ever, thanks Chris.

    See you Wednesday, usual place for our now regular natter.

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