All Articles Tagged "conversation"
Walk into any lounge or bar in DC at 5:15 PM on a weekday, and there’s a good chance that it will be filled to the brim with young professionals, looking to hide out from afternoon traffic or perhaps meeting up with friends to take the edge off of a long work day. Some of these people will work in the federal government, some will be lawyers or work for non-profits, and others will be accountants or financiers. No matter. It’s likely that when you go up to a bar seeking out a stiff drink to wash away the shittiness of your last team meeting, that someone will ask you the inevitable.
What do you do?
In large cities like DC, NY and LA, this question is a way to weed out the boys from the men. How you answer determines how (some) people choose to interact with you, fair or not. The most annoying thing about this question is that it’s not really a genuine attempt to get to learn more about the ins and outs of your profession. No. It’s a filler conversation, a way to critique how high or low on the totem pole someone believes you to be, and gives that person a road map for dealing with you with the appropriate level of interest. If they like what they hear (read: if it seems like you have a high profile gig) then the business card gets whipped out with the quickness. If not the conversation will be deaded faster than pigs in Chinese rivers. I’m sorry, but I don’t want the contact information from anybody who thinks I’m just a stepping stone. The next time someone asks what I do I’m going to say “urban fiction author” or “video vixen” and see what the reaction will be.
I believe a part of the reason why people are so anxious to spit info to random strangers (and have them do the same) is because as a whole, Americans have allowed the work day to melt into social settings in a way that’s creepy and weird. Some of that is due to fallout from the Great Recession, but I think some of it is just folks liking to feel like “big shots,” and doing whatever it takes to appear that way. Take the person who eats lunch at their desk, all the time, instead of busting out of the cubicle just so it ‘appears’ that they are grinding, all while getting paler and paler as a scary hump develops on their back from hovering over the fluorescent glow of a computer screen. Or take the cornball who uses nothing but bullshyte jargon in and outside of the workplace in a desperate attempt to sound smart. These words are used with such smugness that it puts even Donald Trump to shame – leverage synergy ‘generate mutually beneficial returns, matrixed – seriously, GTFOHWTBS. Nobody wants to hear about how you “leveraged synergies across the matrixed organization to generate mutually beneficial returns,” because nobody can figure out what the hell that means!
What would happen, I wonder, if in all the bars on the Hill and in SoHo and in Hollywood, people initiated conversations by asking something like, “how was your day?” or “what do you like to do for fun?” or “that bowtie is fly, can you teach me how tie one?” These less invasive queries could possibly produce an interesting discussion, and maybe even a new friend in the process. To me, that sounds like a better way to meet new people without seeming like a total douche bag. Wondrous things happen when you put your business cards away.
By Nicole Thompson
There are millions of people, adults and children alike, who spend more hours texting, tweeting, Facebooking, Googling, YouTubing, Pandora-ing, Huluing, Netflixing, Skyping, Tumblr-ing and any other computer-mediated communication than they spend carrying on actual conversations with people. Who needs to actually pick up a phone and call, or better yet, sit down and have a conversation with someone face to face when you can spend an extended period of time sending cryptic messages back and forth? (That was sarcasm of course.) To some, that’s fine because communication is communication, and that’s just part of being in a technologically advanced age, right? No, not so much, because failure to participate in verbal communication, especially for teens, leads to stunted interpersonal growth, which will hinder them when they need to socialize with their peers, and will hamper them when it’s time to head to college and the general workforce.
The perpetual use of technology enables anti-social behavior, which is reinforced by the introduction of technology into classrooms, and the requirement for social media interactions at certain jobs. The “memo” culture of passive aggressiveness and faceless communication has become a mainstay in our society, moving from the boardroom into our classrooms and personal lives. It’s getting worse because we’ve reduced our language to abbreviations, acronyms and initialisms –further muddying the way that we communicate with one another. It has begotten a system of communication that is absolutely void of emotion, with the exception of the directives provided by winks, smiles and other emoticons, intended to help us to know how we’re supposed to feel (and a majority of the time, the smiley face emoticon and “LOL” are used in a phony manner). Pre-teens, a demographic that is most affluent in the technological world, are the most affected by this because they have no preexisting knowledge of formal communication, they use the Internet as a crutch for social interaction, and they become crippled by their dependency. So, when they are online, they are able to emit a vibrant virtual personality, with the ability to converse fluidly and share ideas and thoughts, but when the screens shuts off, they are not able to duplicate this personality in real life –because they aren’t armed with the understanding of how to flourish vocally.
Even for older people trying to get to know new people or hit the dating scene, many men and women would rather text a person they’re interested in to death rather than muster up the courage to hold an actual conversation on the phone. Too many people have decided to hide behind computers and phones.
Another issue with social media, in reference to school-age children, and in some cases adults, is that it extends the reach of bullying. Because of social media outlets, taunts, torments and teases which were once only shared in the classroom or on the school yard have followed kids home. This rattles young people, because not only are they not safe from ridicule at school, but they must also read about their short-comings on a Facebook post in the comforts of their own home.
Yes, technology is a necessary utility in today’s society, that’s inarguable, but the fact that we’re always “connected” challenges our ability to effectively communicate with the people around us. This is seen most often when people don’t focus their attention on those around them when they’re out with friends or family, but instead peruse the endless pages of Facebook on their handheld devices. Or, when a person is so busy “checking in” or sharing exaggerated comments about an event/restaurant that they’ve attended, that they don’t take the time to truly absorb and enjoy the experience.
Actions that can be instituted in order to help children or adults to communicate more effectively include insisting that he/her share personal stories, particularly emotional stories, in order to encourage them to vocalize emotions. Also, systematic breaks from technology can help to improve a child’s attention span, communication skills and attitude; a bit more time away from the computer screen also means more time outside with other children (hopefully), and hopefully more opportunities to talk with them as parents. I know we all love our phones, our expensive computers, and our highly decorated Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter accounts, but the social media world is slowly but surely making us mutes in the real world.
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As a recent college graduate, throughout this year that I’ve been out in the real world, I have had to deal with the normal transitions that any college student faces post-graduation. What do you do with your life? What are your options? Can you afford it? I always used to say that college is a perfect little bubble where nothing is real and you are untouchable. Everyone has their ups and downs but for the most part college is a great experience. When you walk across that stage and realize that the real world is waiting for you everything changes, from bills, to lifestyle to even dating. Dating out of college can be difficult because you are to approaching the game with a college mindset. It may take a minute to wrap your head around the new dating rules of the real world, and for some it can be hard to adjust. Here are a few differences between dating in college and dating in the real world that I’ve found so far:
The Thirst is Gone
In college, especially freshman year, it seems like it’s quantity over quality. Everyone talks to everyone because you are in a brand new environment so you are just trying to test out the waters. You may be talking to three guys at a time, and it is nothing serious. Both guys and girls are very open to talking to new people, so everyone gets a chance. In the real world though, it is not that easy. People in the real world don’t have the same drive to want get to know everyone that they meet. They already have their group of friends and associates and are cool with that. In college you can walk in a bar and make four new friends and end up dating them all, while in the real world, unless you came with your girls, you might be spending the night sipping on your drink alone in the corner.
Opportunity Doesn’t Always Come Knocking
College is the land of endless opportunity when it comes to dating. Even if you are not looking, there is always a friend of a friend who you think is fly or is interested in you. There are enough cute dudes who you can meet while in the dining hall, or while pretending to pay attention in calculus. In the adult dating world I find that opportunities are not as readily available. It is not as easy as they make it seem on sitcoms sorry to say. Trying to balance work alone takes hours out of your day, so it is easy to fall into a routine (the sitting in front of your TV eating ice cream routine for instance). You can go months without meeting a potential mate.
Numbers Are Not Always Exchanged
In college everyone exchanges numbers. Because everyone is on the same page of trying to get to know one another, it is damn near customary to exchange numbers after having a conversation. Even if it doesn’t work out, you always can say you made a new acquaintance. I have realized that in the real world, just because you talk to someone for more than 10-30 minutes and have pleasant conversation does not mean that at the end of it, he will ask you for your number. It could just be a situation where you simply had a nice exchange, or where he found someone to talk to while his friend macked on another young lady and that was it. And sometimes, even when numbers are exchanged, that doesn’t mean you will get a call.
Signs Can Lie…
In college you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out if someone is interested in you. The signs are pretty obvious. You can get used to feeding off signs from another person and use that to gauge your own reaction and interest level. This is not so in the real world. You can be at a bar and exchange flirtatious pleasantries and at the end of it he might simply say, “All right, well, have a good night.” You might have felt that all the signs were there, but in the real world, just because someone is being social doesn’t mean they’re trying to take things further than throwing about a few niceties while sipping martinis.
Indeed, dating post-graduation can take some getting used to. College romances just seem easier to manage, but nothing lasts forever. The whole point of college is to one day prepare you for the real world and all the experiences that it has to offer, and that doesn’t just mean career and educational experiences. It’s a bit awkward at first, but eventually, everything gets easier–including dating.
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How important is sex to a man? Would he be willing to forgo sex in a relationship? A few years ago I decided to take a hiatus from dating to regain focus of my life as a single woman. I didn’t want to engage in any type of relationship with the opposite sex because I needed time to learn how to balance everything that was going on in my life. With this hiatus, I realized that I subconsciously and consciously made the decision to practice celibacy. I say I made this decision subconsciously and consciously because during this time, subconsciously, I did want to have sex, but I didn’t want to deal with the emotional and possible physical consequences that come along with it, and I didn’t want to have another meaningless sexual experience. Consciously, I had plenty of options and chances to indulge in sexual intercourse, but I didn’t, and that’s when I realized I was going to try and be celibate. After this realization, I decided to do some soul searching to really understand why I was celibate, and to decide whether or not I would stand firm on this decision.
During my soul searching, I reflected back on each of my relationships, and I discovered that I was sexually intimate with the men I was involved with before I had a chance to be intimate with them. I didn’t take the necessary time to learn who they were and develop a close and personal connection with them for the people they were before I developed a connection with them sexually simply because I was physically attracted to them. I also realized that I went into each relationship with my feelings and not my faith, which in turn led me to be misguided. After this discovery, I made the decision to forgo any sexually intimate interaction, and remain celibate until I am married. The beginning of this journey wasn’t difficult because I was on a hiatus from dating. It almost seemed easy and unreal, but when I decided to go back into dating, things got real. I met a wonderful man that I seemed to have everything in common with. We liked the same foods, we communicated well with each other, we share the same favorite color, and on and on. Most importantly, we both wanted to start our new relationship as friends.
I recall one evening when I was on the phone with my new male ‘friend’. We were engaged in a great conversation when the subject of celibacy came up. I shared with him that I have the honor of teaching a class on celibacy very soon, and I told him that I was nervous about it. He then told me that I would do fine, and as he started another sentence he abruptly stopped and asked if I was celibate. I replied with a nervous, yet firm yes. He immediately replied “Oh, oh no, I can’t do that…yeah, we are definitely going to be just good friends.” I said okay, no problem, and started to move forward with the conversation. While moving on to a different topic, I noticed the tone in our conversation went from upbeat and funny to slow and drab. Where there were no awkward moments of silence in our conversations before, there were now more than enough to make up for it in this one. I could tell my friend was uneasy about what I told him, but what did it matter? We were just friends anyway, right? So my decision to be celibate would not affect him in any way, right? Wrong.
I believe my friend thought we were going to develop a great friendship that would lead into an even greater monogamous relationship; and with a relationship comes sexual intimacy. Or maybe he thought we were going to be friends with sexual benefits, and with news of me practicing celibacy his thoughts were shattered. As much as I tried to move forward with the conversation it was difficult, because I knew my friends thoughts of me and our relationship had changed. After our phone call ended, my decision to be celibate and the effects of that decision stayed on my mind. Yes, things got really real.
After hearing and comprehending his reaction, I was slightly disturbed, and a little disappointed because subconsciously I thought we were going to develop a great friendship that would lead into an even greater monogamous relationship without having sex. But clearly I was wrong. And even though I was flabbergasted with his reaction, not once did I doubt the decision I made because I’ve learned to stand firm on the standards I’ve set in regard to my body and relationships even if it hurts.
I’ve also learned that I can’t expect someone to change their expectations to meet my standards, and not to change my standards (my non-negotiable standards) to meet someone’s expectations; they are who they are, and I am who I am. Although it is still slightly difficult for me to grasp the fact that my friend and I will only be friends, I respect his honesty, I look forward to our growing friendship, and I am looking forward to learning and growing on this journey through celibacy and dating.
Liz Lampkin is the author of Are You a Reflection of the Man You Pray For? Follow her on Twitter @Liz_Lampkin.
Have you tried to be celibate? How did that affect your dating life?
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“The turtles legs are falling off,” sang my co-worker’s fidgety 5-year-old son as he moonwalked across the waiting room with a carelessness that only comes with not knowing any better. We had driven 35 minutes during rush hour traffic to bring their beloved bloated reptile to the vet since she had Googled “turtle dying symptoms,” dialed local vets and stressed throughout the workday. Unfortunately, after hearing the opposing advisory of two vets, giving the pet vitamin shots and a taunting turn for the best, my co-worker found the pet’s limp and lifeless body resting on a rock two mornings later. And that same boy who was re-enacting Michael Jackson’s Motown 25 “Billie Jean” performance while the family pet gasped for air in the next room, burst into tears at the news that Scooter was “no longer with us.”
It can be an extremely difficult thing for a parent to explain life’s limits while looking into the bright eyes of someone whose life has barely begun, but as a parent there will come a time where you’ll be forced to do so if you haven’t yet volunteered. I still remember my father struggling to explain to me why my rabbit urinated on him before taking its last breath in his hands. There were tears and feelings of loss that a 7-year-old just couldn’t understand.
If you’re having trouble initiating the dreaded “all things die” talk, you have to try to see things from your child’s point of view. This talk can sound completely different depending on whether you’re addressing a 5-year-old or 15-year-old. Until children are about five or six their view of the world is very concrete. This probably explains why my co-workers mini moonwalker couldn’t associate the turtle’s ballooned legs with sickness at the very least, let alone death. Since children at this age are so literal, it’s important to avoid cute sayings that only make the parent more comfortable like “Grandma is sleeping for a long time,” which could result in your child developing anxiety issues with sleep. Children also have trouble grasping the finality of death and the fact that it occurs to all living things. To make the process easier, talk about death in a very physical way such as, “Grandma’s heart stopped working” or “Grandma is at the cemetery” instead of trying to break down intangible concepts of an afterlife.
You also may want to take a look at your own feelings and beliefs about death. It’s important that children learn the proper way to grieve through example. They shouldn’t be discouraged from crying or talking even if you still have issues with death yourself. As much as loved ones may have good intentions advising, “You have to be strong for your children,” it’s important for your children to see that it’s okay to be sad, resentful, angry, or mournful, but those feelings should be brought to the surface and dealt with in a healthy way instead of being hidden. You want to be a solid source of support for your children; find a balance between crumbling into pieces and being an emotionless brick wall. You’re a parent, but you’re only human and it’s healthy for your kids to see that.
Around the ages 6-10, children may develop natural fears about death associated with myths and stories they hear (i.e., the boogeyman and ghosts). It’s important to not feed into fears and give them honest, clear information about death. Instead of simply sending your child back to bed when they say the boogeyman’s in the closet, explore the closet with them and show them there’s nothing to be afraid of. Ask them what they think will happen if the boogeyman gets them so they have a chance to express any fears about pain and what death “feels” like.
Falling asleep right after sex is usually a sign that you just had a great session that literally put you to bed, but researchers say this tendency also increases your partner’s need for post-coital cuddling and conversation.
“The more one’s partner was likely to fall asleep after sex, the stronger the desire for bonding,” says Daniel Kruger, a research fellow at the University of Michigan and lead author of the study published in the Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology.
In an anonymous online study, researchers questioned 456 participants about their sex-sleep lives, asking them who falls asleep after sex and who falls asleep first when going to bed not after sex? Participants whose partners nodded off immediately after sex were typically left wanting more.
“Falling asleep before one’s partner may be a non-conscious way to foreclose on any commitment conversation after sex,” says co-author Susan Hughes, associate professor of psychology at Albright College in Reading, PA.
That statement may make you think men are more likely to catch some Zs right after sex but there was actually no difference between men and women’s behavior. But, women were more likely to fall asleep first when they didn’t have sex. Dr. Hughes says this could be an “artifact of mate guarding — making sure the woman doesn’t leave them for another partner,” or men may just stay up longer trying to convince the women to have sex. I’m betting on number two.
Fighting off the urge to go to sleep after sex is no easy task, although most people enjoy a little post-sex cuddling. I say you should take immediate post-sex sleep as a sign of satisfaction. The partners who are staying up wondering why their partner fell asleep probably have other concerns about the relationship that they need to address, and they’re taking their partner’s sleep as a sign of something being wrong and a lack of affection.
Do you prefer to cuddle after sex or are you usually the first to be knocked out? Do you take it personal if your partner falls asleep right away?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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Let’s face it. It’s hard out here for the grown and shy. Unless you have goals of being an indefinite hermit, you have to learn to mix and mingle with others, and at times even spark up conversations. In most careers and even in relationships, shyness can most times get you overlooked or over-used. So for the naturally shy gals, it’s important to learn ways to combat social anxiety.
Whether you’re meeting your significant other’s family for the first time or attending a networking luncheon, here are a few icebreakers to hopefully assist you in initiating a conversation that allows you to loosen up and kick your social anxiety, at least until the event is over.
Even some of us social butterflies get choked up when we want to step to a cutie who’s caught our eye. It can be a bit daunting; men are typically expected to do the “chasing” and so many of us are totally unused to making the first move. Meanwhile, the girl on the other side of the bar is preparing to swoop in while you twiddle your thumbs and hope that he approaches you. It’s 2011, dolls. If you want to holler at a dude…do it! Here are a few tips for the novice mackstress…er, shy flirt who wants to step up and speak out first.