If someone were to ask me what an essential quality is, I would say communication. This is a quality in all respects from a friendship to a romantic partner and even to an employer. This is also a quality that all people need to have regardless of whether you talk, use sign language, write, or type through a computer. Babies start communicating through cries and sounds and kids are often really good at telling their parents what they want (or what they don’t want). However, it seems as we get older and as the years pass by, communication skills are depleting. Now I admit, I am someone who would rather text or email instead of calling someone, but I do prefer to speak in person or over the phone when it seems necessary. Necessary in-person conversations would be any really serious discussion. Sure, text your friend about some random thing you saw that you thought of them, but call your parents to tell them you lost your job. Text your boyfriend to tell him you love him but speak to them in person if you’re in a fight or breaking up. Human beings have been communicating and sharing stories for millions of years but real communication seems to be a thing of the past.
MTV’s Nev, from the show Catfish, has teamed up with iO, an activist and artist, to bring the world a new show called Suspect. The premise of suspect is simple – One person is worried about another person and thinks something is wrong so Nev and iO swoop in to do some investigating and bring the two together so they can reveal the “secret”. The most recent episode had some fraternity brothers worrying about one of their brothers who hasn’t been around lately. That brother was late on his dues and so they began to wonder, is it money problems? He likes to drink, is he suffering from an alcohol or drug problem? Is he doing Porn? I cannot quite remember what made them conclude that maybe it was porn. That was probably just TV Drama. What is going on!!!??? Eventually, Nev and iO confront the brother that everyone is worried about and he reveals the truth – the secret that he has been keeping. Then they all go and confront the frat brothers together and the secret is revealed to all. The secret in this story was that the brother was gay and didn’t know how his fraternity would handle it and he hasn’t been around because he has been hanging out with other gay people that he can better relate. Each episode has two stories that each go like this with every secret being slightly different.
So what does MTV’s Suspect and communication have to do with one another? If you were worried about your friend, especially your best friend, why would you not ask them yourself? How is bringing in two complete strangers and a bunch of cameras make it easier to communicate? I would also think this might make the relationship worse, I know it would be if someone did this to me. This show proves how terrible we are at communicating as human beings! Now, I’m not saying that coming out is easy for a college guy to do to his fraternity brothers. I’m sure that revealing to your best friend that you have HIV or to your sister that you’ve done internet porn, or that you’re taking their money for college but not going to college. All of these scenarios having been addressed on the show. Communication is not always easy, but it is a necessary evil and honestly it is also a respectful thing to do to people you care about or who are important.
When we are in those awkward pre-teen/teenage year of our lives trying to navigate crushes and afraid to tell our crushes we like them, I would consider that an excusable lack of communication. I am in my 30’s and I still get nervous when I have a crush on someone to tell them. However, we eventually need to grow up and learn to communicate. If you are mad at a friend and you do not tell that friend you are mad, how can you expect that friend to even know that you are mad yet alone apologize? If you have an employee who is not doing their job up to par but you do not tell them where their failure lies, how can you expect them to correct the issues and work up or above par? If you’re having relationship issues but do not communicate them to your partner, how can you expect your relationship to last? In that same respect, if you are worried about someone, why is it so hard to just ask what is going on? A friend is just there for another friend and if you’re there for them, they will probably open up to you. Also, if you keep your secret for so long, it makes it harder and harder and harder to reveal and the more it will hurt when it is revealed.
I can think of so many instances in my own personal life where I have failed to communicate but also where a lack of communication has really hurt me. Not telling someone something is very much the same as lying by omission. When you do finally reveal what you have been hiding or the person finds out, it often hurts more that it has been going on for so long and they never knew. Again, this is something that hits home for me. Sure, it would have hurt if you had told me right away, but when you tell me 2 months after it has been going on, it hurts so much more.
I have watched every episode of MTV’s Suspect and I have no intention on stopping, but I watch more out of the amazement of how bad we, as a society, have come to killing communication more than for entertainment.