Relationship and Social Trend Predictions for 2010

I am sure the internet will be full of financial, technological, and global affairs/issues predictions so I will not bother speaking about things that other people are way more informed than I to speak on. What I will talk about is relationships and social communication trends. There is a long list of reasons as to how and why I have become so tuned in and passionate about social shifts and how they are affecting our relationships. I do not share my thoughts with you because I am particular fond of worry or doom and gloom. I simply believe a little awareness goes a long way and the result of actions based on awareness, creates more opportunity for positive impact.

Top 5 Relationship and Social Trend Predictions:

An Urge to Tune Out to Tune In – We are bombarded by new information at a rate that is often too fast for processing.  When we can’t process things we want to process or think we should it leaves what I call a “fact or fiction film” (FFF) in our minds. We want to move on and dismiss the need to learn new information yet somehow we can’t let it go. Layers of FFF builds up in our minds; to clean it out we have to take the time to slow down, stop thinking for a bit and then go back to it ready to discard what we don’t need and learn more about what we do.

Pitches of Promise Lead to Excess of Expectations – A good sales manager will train salesmen to “Under promise and over-deliver.” A relationship consultant will advise couples that unspoken expectations will hurt and destroy a relationship. The lure and promises of new technology will be promoted in a matter that anything and everything can be automatic and more advanced than human integration.  This thinking goes beyond gadgets that make our life easier. In the New Year we will hear more and more about Technological Singularity, the creation of smarter than human intelligence. We may start to think, if this device, software, etc. can’t solve my needs I will just find another one that can. This theme will spill over into human relationships creating more expectations; without awareness to this, relationship will become increasingly hostile and temporary.  As our brains become overloaded with information without even knowing it we may expect others to account for things we don’t know and when they do not clear our minds of the overload we become irritated much quicker than before.  Why? Because common ground means of instant communication like texting and Skype leave us anticipating nothing, without anticipation, relating becomes the tragic baby that as the saying goes is “thrown out with the bath water.”  It does not matter what your role is: friend, spouse, employer, employee, consultant; we all have to be sensitive to this and be responsible for our communication or lack of and how it affects the nature of a relationship.

A Turn toward Music for Guiding Philosophy – Some say that trends in music are connected to trends in drug use. A good example of this connection is portrayed in the movie/documentary “24 Hour Party People.” Newest trends in music are showing more of a connection to shifts and advancement in technology. How many songs can you think of that mention cell phones or texting? With technology comes demands and longing for emotional intelligence, musicians have been singing about this and predicting the effects of technology for years. Listen to Our Lady Peace’s album released in 2000 called “Spiritual Machine” from start to finish. This concept album was inspired by Ray Kurzweil’s book, “The Age of Spiritual Machines.” The music in this collection brilliantly simplified complex concepts by expressing the need for humility in relationships and love. At the end of the day is “Love All We Need?” There are plenty of songs that lead us to believe so and we love them and the artist that sing them. 

Religion Redefined – Religion is defined as a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe with great consideration to the nature of which it was created by and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs. As religious leaders work to communicate and interpret earliest works of religious archives, they often overlook the importance of the community they are speaking to and what is necessary to keep that community together. People may come together because they share a similar believe yet they remain together based on an acceptance and understanding that is based on things they do not have in common with each other. People are starving for communities that support and inspire individuality. Church communities have the greatest opportunities to bring people together and connect them to each other yet churches do not usually promote individuality and so church membership is declining. People thirsty for a spiritual foundation and/or wanting to connect with people so they can openly question and explore faith are turned off by traditional religious communities because it seems judgment far outweighs the rate of acceptance. Many people find more opportunity to grow spiritually through reading books by authors like Karen Armstrong, participating in cause-related movements that support their beliefs and concerns and finding community via unique experiences like the Burning Man Festival. Note: I do not say these things to anger church leaders or challenge anyone’s religious beliefs, I am more interested in bringing much needed community to this world. I think there is huge opportunity for churches to rethink their community building practices and any an organization that is working towards bringing people together and keeping them together deserves some credit for doing so.

Conversations of Introspection Gain in Popularity over Social Small Talk – Being able to relate to people is the luxury that is missing in our relationships. The “Don’t Worry Be Happy” patterns of consumption founded in the 80’s have in some shape or form managed to stay with us, forcing us to face them head on in 2008 and 2009. Our government, banking system, business and life as we know it has changed. It has caused confusion, hardships and reasons to evaluate our methods. There is an abundant of resources to look to for the answers yet the sources of the most value will always come from conversations with people you trust. The capacity for learning greatly increases when the source is a person whose heart we trust. We don’t find or develop these sources via small talk, they come through the willingness to be vulnerable and transparent and the ability to recognize, listen and treasure when others are doing the same.

This post was  featured in a global e-book published on Jan 12th, 2010.