Why Interpersonal Communication is Dead

Today, I was going to write about my fondness for admiring older men (another story for another time), but I find myself baffled by the complexities of topics such as harassment and the like. I wasn’t going to talk about such subjects because as a woman, it appears that I may have differing opinions on the matter as opposed to the masses. However, after watching some troubling YouTube videos and reading about scary moments when a member of the opposite sex tried to strike up a conversation; I have become to believe one thing. Interpersonal communication is dying among Millennials.

What is Interpersonal Communication?

 Interpersonal communication is the process by which people exchange information, feelings, and meaning through verbal and non-verbal messages: it is face-to-face communication.

 

Obviously I don’t mean that everyone under that category cannot speak to one another, but as we all become so engrossed with our precious technologies, we seem to have forgotten how to talk to our fellow man. When was the last time you talked to someone you didn’t know who was within 10 feet of you? Furthermore, if someone approached you offering casual conversation, would you accept and engage? I’m not talking about the cat calling weirdness that sometimes happens, but if a person poses a legitimate topic, would you write them off?

I ask this because all too often, I’m seeing/hearing people complain about harassment when the question was harmless. Since we seldom interact with each other in a spontaneous fashion, it seems as though our ability to do so has diminished severely. What I mean by this is that, communication/interaction is like a muscle, if you don’t exercise it from time to time, it will become underdeveloped and essentially useless. I grew up in a small  town in Southern California, where if you were in a long line, it would be completely normal to strike up a conversation with the person standing next to you. Nowadays doing that same action results in the recipient either thinking you’re weird or are trying to hit on them. Even more so, that one encounter becomes the cornerstone argument that harassment is a real and rampant thing that is oppressing the female gender. One Youtuber even went as far as saying that a woman’s #1 fear is rape. Uh, my biggest fear is snakes…so… yeah. I’m not saying harassment does not exist, it does. Has it happened to me? You bet. However, I do not live my life in fear because of a few instances. What’s even more frustrating is that hashtag movements have become a soap box for individuals to talk about the one time they got hit on at the bar by someone who was either incredibly nervous or could have been a jackass.

Let’s be honest, going up to a stranger and starting a conversation is hard, for everyone. It requires one to muster up the courage to speak with you in the first place, which seems like a miracle since we’re so distant from each other anyway. We’re already so closed off from the idea of talking to others without it coming from a cellphone, it’s not even funny. So my next question is, if talking to someone in a line, at a bookstore, or in a bar is so taboo or considered harassment, how are we supposed to connect with one another? Personally, even as an introvert, if anyone offers something interesting to say, I gladly welcome the interaction. Why? Because I appreciate the effort of a person wanting to interact and be human for a minute. What’s not human is being glued to a device as your only means of connecting with the outside world. Also, I find it entertaining as some of the very same people who are for this “movement” are the very same folks who complain about having trouble making friends or meeting potential partners. Well those types of interactions require you to speak to one another. It’s not rocket science.

To be clear, I am not downplaying anyone’s plights or dealings with harassment of any kind. I believe that everyone has the right to feel comfortable and safe. My problem is with the growing few who interpret a book recommendation as a scary experience thus deeming someone creepy. Guess what, not everyone is trying to sleep with you. Sometimes it’s nice to speak to someone new using your voice and not your thumbs. Let’s turn off our phones and get to know each other in the old fashioned way. So, with that being said, I’m off to go to a new coffee shop and speak to a stranger. I encourage you to do the same. 🙂

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Why I Hate Those “25 Things You Should do at 25…” Lists

So I’m gonna go on a little rant here. I was on Facebook (first mistake) and saw that an acquaintance posted a list from Thought Catalog titled: 25 Things Every Woman Should Have By The Time She Turns 25. Naturally I clicked on it (second mistake). Then finally, I read the whole entire thing (third and final mistake) It lists a bunch of things like “having a best friend that’s like a sister” and “having thank you cards in your drawer”, the list goes on and on. Please feel free to read it to get the gist of my annoyance. While I understand that the writer is trying to “empower women” and all that jazz, I can’t help but be supremely irritated by lists of this nature.

1. They are just as oppressive as the oppression they are trying to go against

I can tell you right now that I know a bunch of people (myself) included who do not fit this criteria who are either 25 or near it. So apparently I’m doing life wrong according to this list. Let me go crawl into bed now that I’ve realized I’m a failure at life. WRONG.  The author I guess identifies herself as a feminist, yet uses words and phrases such as, “tact, grace, and the ability to find shoes off of a 40% off rack” to describe how women should act or aspire to be by 25. I’m not even going to get into the gender connotations those words and behaviors imply. If you were going for gender equality, boy you sure nailed it. She also talks about the confidence to eat whatever and to be herself. Hm, how about the confidence to realize and justify that this list is chock full of romanticized crap that I nor anyone else has to adhere to. I mean seriously? How about this, I’ll “be myself” and forget that I ever read this list. Anyone (both male and female) should be able to live their life without having to check with a list to see if they’re doing it right. Life is not a “one size fits all” endeavor and everyone comes into their own path in a unique way.

2. It perpetuates the “Should” mentality

Everything on this list tells you what you “should” be doing. People are impressionable and by creating “standards” for them to live by can make them feel like crap if they haven’t achieved them. One of the biggest problems I see in our (millennial) generation is that we compare ourselves to each other way too much. The only thing that you “should” know when you’re 25 is that life is a confusingly beautiful adventure and it’s yours to do with as you see fit.

3. It is saying that every 25 year old has the exact same aspirations and expectations out of life

We are all different in this amazing and crazy world. My “norm” may be completely off base of what your “norm” is. And you know what? That is perfectly ok. We do not have to see eye to eye on everything, nor should we aspire to be cookie cutter drones. The dangerous thing about lists like these is that the author is perpetuating her sense of normalcy onto others and is passing it off like it’s dogma from the heavens. Who cares if you waited until you were 35 to learn how to change a tire. Maybe you hate shopping and are not savvy at a clearance rack. The beauty of life is that, as long as we’re still on this earth, we have the ability to learn, grow, and change when the time is right for each and every individual.There are no time limits on growth and all expectations need to be thrown out of the window.

Ok, now that I’ve said my peace, my only “list” for you is to live your life in a manner that makes you happiest. So long as you are not hurting others, be free to be whoever you are. Don’t take lists like these to heart, if you are 25 and you don’t have 3 months of livable income in the bank, don’t fret, most people of that age don’t (I mean, student loans, anyone?). Let’s stop placing our expectations of one another and just enjoy life as it comes. Lastly, if you value your life at all, forget that Thought Catalog ever existed. You’re self esteem and wellbeing will thank you for it. Also feel free to ignore my advice, I don’t have all of the answers either, nor do I want to place my values on others. On a side note, today is the 1 year anniversary of this blog (yay!) I will do a post on that later, as for now I’m off to find a 40% off shoe rack… 😉

 

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Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day: The Pitfalls of Growing Up in an Instant Gratification Society

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Whenever I try something new or resolve to make a change in my life for the better, I expect insta-success. Whether it’s a new workout regimen, getting up earlier, or just being a better person, I often feel “failure” because I haven’t seen the results in the short amount of time that I begin these endeavors.

Growing up in an ever-growing technology based world, I’ve grown accustomed to not having to put much effort into certain tasks. For example, the ability  to communicate with someone across the world within seconds. Before you had to use snail mail and it would take a few days. But now, you can do it almost immediately.  You can order virtually almost anything online and have it shipped to you rather quickly too. Hell, I can order food and literally not have to interact with anyone. If I hear a song on the radio and I have to have it, I can go on my Iphone and buy it right then and there. I don’t even have to go to the store or even my computer anymore.  We’re all about the now now now.

I love all the technological advances we as a society have made, but I fear it has made me impatient. Keeping up a solid workout schedule for instance. If I’m not seeing the process instantly, I give up thinking I’ve failed. When actually it takes time. Another example, in the past my organizational skills left a lot to be desired (translation: if my head wasn’t attached to my body, I would have lost it years ago). Currently, I’ve had 7 days worth of solid success of getting my crap together. I’m trying to get back to the basics. Patience is a virtue, and good things come to those who wait.

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