I glance around the driver's ed classroom, too nervous to look in the eye but attempting to smile. I'm not brave enough to sit next to the only other girl in the classroom so far, but I sit a few seats away. Gradually the room fills in but only a few people talk; most people are busy browsing FaceBook or texting on their Smartphones. There's really no one I can text at 8:00 in the morning, but for fear of awkwardness, I pull out my phone anyway and scroll through this month's accumulation of photos. After the first hour of class, we have a break. A fair portion of the class exits to use the bathroom or grab a snack. The rest whip out their Smartphones and continue their perusal of social network.
The next week I come prepared with a book. But as break rolls around and I pull out my paperback, I realize I'm the only one passing the time in this way. Sure, everyone else is reading - but they're reading the newest status updates, the latest twitters, and possibly pinning the most recent pins.
I suppose it's not valid for me to blame my own unfriendliness on my shyness... but honestly I wish, once in a while, people could put away their phones and iPods, turn to the person next to them, look them in the eye and say, "Hi! I'm so-and-so. What's your name?" or "Hey! How was your week?" Instead we trade possible friendships for introverted conversations with people that are often as deep as, "How r u?" "Good. Wbu?" "Good." "What's up?" "The sky." (etc.)
I'm not against texting - it works great as quick communication, arranging meeting places ("I'm here, are you?"), and fun conversations. I have had great convos with my friends over text, frequently when I am somewhere w/o access to my e-mail. I even enjoy texting and when I first got my phone, I couldn't stop texting. (My dad was very amused by the amount of texts I sent when he got our bill. :p)
But I guess I just want to encourage / challenge you (and myself) to have a deeper conversation once in a while. Sit down with a sister in Christ and ask her, really ask her, how she's doing and / or if she has any prayer requests. Or, take the time to get to know someone you don't know well or maybe a friend who doesn't share the same faith as you. You could turn the conversation to something spiritual, or you could simply work on building the friendship with that person, letting you know that you are there for them, that you care about them. Branch out from the "how r u", put down the keypad, turn to the person next to you and ask, "How are you?"