As I sit down to write this post there is the dreaded sound of a prolonged vibration as my phone skids, bouncing and sporadically across my desk. This is perfectly ideal and ironic distraction that actually befits the very thing I am thinking about and from which it is distracting me.
Have you ever been in a situation where you are sitting down to dinner with your family, or meeting up with your friends for a drink and people just have their heads down at their cellphones, tablets or other mobile devices? You might have thought to yourself, what has become of society? Most of us probably have used our phone during most recent social gathering, whether it was to send a text, take a photo, or receive a call.
This ‘always-on’ reality has disrupted long-standing social norms about when it is appropriate for people to shift their attention away from their physical conversations and interactions with others.
The purpose of social media was intended to help people share important information and we are faced with a very “connected”world. But that virtual connected-ness is very shy, confused and often lonely.
When I was in college, me and my friends; none of us touched our phones unless we received an international call because most of us were away from home. Obviously we did take pictures while waiting for our food to be served but we never really texted or scrolled through our FB or Twitter because it was just rude. I am just glad that we did and I wonder if people even do that these days ? What if we had just finished the meal without talking to each other, watched a game and live tweeted it. Would our friendship be the same ? Would everything be like whatever it is now ?
The people I know are very good when it comes to messaging or expressing their views online but when you meet the person face to face, they cannot just communicate. Maybe they’re introvert and shy or just not used to it. So if you’re one of them, here’s what I’ll say to you “Being socialable is a very easy thing to do, and it shouldn’t be something you’re either good at or not.” A lot of people, while out, wait for other people to talk to them. Just remember that people are out to be social. You have small groups of people who are sticking to themselves, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to meet new people.I know most of us get caught in the situation where you’re being invited by a friend and you join them out of courtesy even if you don’t know any of them but just learn to enjoy the company. Try to have a good time.
People enjoy talking about themselves. Take a genuine interest in people. People are very interesting, so actively engage in a conversation. There is a lot to talk about in this world, small talk isn’t all that necessary – particularly because it can be painfully boring.
Talk about something that interests you. People love explaining things they know, so when you don’t know what someone is talking about, ask them. Don’t pretend like you know, they will be more than happy to teach you.
I generally ignore my phone if I am meeting people. There is something very rude about being in the middle of a discussion and being shut off by a phone call. You’re left in the lurch, sipping your drink with no one around.
I’m quite adverse to small talk. You really don’t need to ask the standard ‘interview’ questions. “What do you do?” A lot of people have fairly uninteresting jobs and know that. People are out to forget their work lives, so why bring it up?
Don’t judge. You’re making it very hard for yourself when you are continually judging people before talking to them. Almost no-one’s personality matches their look.
So do yourself a favor by putting down your phone and start socializing offline ?