All Articles Tagged "meeting people"
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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