Thursday, January 19, 2017


"Coffee is a language in itself." 

- Jackie Chan

I've been to my local coffee shop more times in this single past semester than I have in my entire life. 

Here's why: I decided a while back that, despite my raging-introvert tendencies, it's way better to talk to people face-to-face. 

Today's world of messaging leads to shallow convenience. It's so easy for me to get caught up in a conversation online with someone and not think twice about what I'm telling them, or how I'm telling it. Tone is lost, so I find myself desperately hunting for emojis, or juggling the decision of whether to add "lol" to ensure the person I'm talking with recognizes my sarcasm, rather than taking me seriously. 

Online conversations aren't all bad, by any means. I message and text friends frequently, and I've had a lot of great "talks" that way, because my best form of communication is the written word. When I'm serious about something, it works best for me to write it out.

But in casual conversation typed across a glowing screen, I miss the color of a person's tone, the tilts of their head, the way they slide their coffee mug gently around on the tabletop when they're thinking. I miss their reactions, whether they burst out laughing or chuckle quietly, and their frown of concern as they listen to me, really listen. I miss how they burst flustered into the coffee shop to tell me that they're usually always on time, but something was just off about this particular morning. I miss how they shrug and offer unmerited forgiveness the times when I do exactly the same. 

I can't ask to try a sip of their hot chocolate when I'm texting. 

I can't sit in comfortable silence with someone in Messenger. 

And I can't ask the deep questions or tell the long stories and experience the same effect, the same impact, that it would have face-to-face. 

Us humans, we were made for communion. We were made for sitting beside and across from each other at tables, eye-to-eye, sipping drinks and breaking bread and telling stories and making music with laughter. We weren't made to hide behind the screens, inside our homes; community is too important, too vital to our existence, even if it's just one person across the table from you at a coffee shop on a cold morning. 

It may seem like a simple thing, meeting for coffee or tea or lunch. But when you make the effort to step outside the house and meet someone because you care about them, because they are worth your time, it paints a picture of image-bearers mimicking Christ, who met with us, broke bread with us, told us stories, laughed and cried with us. Face-to-face. Because we were worth His time. 

So, in essence, I appreciate modern technology, how it allows me to stay in touch with people throughout the day and write down my thoughts when I can't articulate them well out loud; but I've come to realize how important it is to spend time in person with those people, too. 

Here's to friends, family, and local coffee shops. 

(And, let's be real here, gift cards. Because I'm a college student, and I don't always have four dollars.)

/ / /

Do you have a favorite place where you enjoy meeting people? 



  1. I know what you mean! This past Summer I met someone face-to-face that up to then I had never hardly spoken to except through writing. Sometimes you forget what it is you're missing until you have it. I realized even though I liked the person a lot the way we had been communicating, I liked the real version a lot better. Same with my brother during Christmas break. I do spend a lot of time chatting with him (but he's one of those who doesn't come across real well through writing or even talking on the phone or skyping), but when I am with him in person, I remember how much I just like him and miss him. With technology giving you the illusion of fellowship and community without the work of going out the front door, it is so easy to fall into complacency. You just get lazy and quickly forget what the real is like. I've always found I get a buzz after positive face-to-face interactions and end up craving more, but I'm in a bit of a pickle because the people I usually hang out with are more introverted than keep them from getting too sick of me, I end up doing a lot of messaging instead of face-to-face conversations.

    P.S. Read 'Ender's Game'. It was interesting. I can't really decide what I think. I liked how they ended it, but the process was unexpected and kind-of bittersweet. It's interesting comparing that book with the writing for the same-age character in 'To Kill a Mockingbird' (even though they are utterly different), and then trying to remember what I was like when I was six-years-old and older...I guess when you write younger children, you have to really calculate how their life was up to that point and their circumstances. There's a lot of factors...I really liked the introduction I read to it. Told about how the author came to write it, and I really like to read about other writers' journeys. Thanks for the recommendation!

    1. Yes, exactly! It's an illusion of community - again, not that it's bad, but it's not the same as the real thing. It's always been funny to me, too, how one's online presence can seem sometimes very different from how they are in person.

      Cool! You're very welcome! I'm glad you found it interesting. I did too. It's not a book for everyone because of how different it is, but I think that makes it unique. And I agree entirely about the process - unexpected and bittersweet are accurate words for it. (I'd also recommend Ender's Shadow - I might even have liked it a smidgen better than Ender's Game.)

  2. This is wonderful! It's true that it's important to communicate with people face to face!