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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Fake it Til You Make It

When it comes to things I want, I’m quite ambitious (unless we’re talking about the opposite sex, then I run and hide. But that is a different story for a different day). Particularly with work. I really have no clue where it comes from, but if I see something that I want, I go out and get it. One instance in particular was the time I worked at my university at the student technology center.

Just a little background info, I transferred to a school in Arizona from Southern California. Up until new student orientation, I had never been to that region, so I was moving 400 miles away from home, going in completely blind. It was definitely one of the best decisions I’ve made thus far. Ok, so going to school out of state isn’t cheap and a girl needs funds to keep up a Starbucks addiction, thus began my search for employment. I particularly wanted to work on campus because of the work-study program (untaxed paychecks!). I came across a job titled “student tech” and thought to myself, “hm, let’s apply for this one”. Now I should probably preface this by saying I seriously lacked in technological aptitude, but hey, who needs to know how to do their job anyways?

So I filled out the application and submitted it. Shortly thereafter I received an email asking me to complete a short test to vet my computer skills. Since I didn’t have any, I paid my little brother who is tech savvy $20 to take it for me. After the test was completed, the manager asked me in for an interview in the following 2 days. Since I was going up there to get the keys to my apartment and meet my roommate, I figured, why not kill 2 birds with one stone? Of course I was excited, I was getting to start a new chapter in my life and I might have potential employment. Now on to the interesting part.

For the sake of efficiency, I decided to do the interview first before hanging out with my new roomie and her mom. I quickly stopped into the apartment, exchanged pleasantries, and explained that I needed to jet to the interview, and I was off. Since my apartment was literally right next to the university, I thought I would have no trouble finding the building. Wrong. Typically, I’m pretty solid on directions but that day, I was batting a thousand. Worried that I would be late, I called the manager trying to figure out which building it was. She was great at giving clearcut directions. I should also mention that in Flagstaff the elevation is significantly higher than what I was accustomed to and I was wearing heels (something else I was not accustomed to). So I’m stumbling around, sweating, out of breath, trying to get to this building on time. I must disclose that the building was right smack in front of me the whole time.

So I finally find the office and the manager. I was sweaty, breathless, and walking like I had a limp (I only wear flats now). She escorted me to a room with a dozen socially awkward males working on computers. As she opened the door, all of them stopped what they were doing and stared at us as we walked by to go to the conference room (Cue even more sweating). I then sat down at a long rectangular table facing a panel of 3 student tech seniors, the manager, as well as another manager. We exchange the proverbial niceties. I quickly rambled off some facts about myself and then the interview began.

The panel interview worked like this: there were 10 questions they took turns asking me. Now, keep in mind that I had primitive computer skills. So I was faced with a dilemma, I could bullshit the answers and sound completely idiotic, or I could be honest and say I did not know (even still, idiotic). I chose the latter. Question after question, I would say I don’t know, and my confidence was waining and I felt like a chump. Not only was I wasting these people’s time, I felt like a moron. I felt like I was in Guantanamo being questioned on suspicions of treason (I would later come to realize that I was only in there for less than 20 minutes). The last few questions were softball ones so I answered a few (4 out of 10 ain’t bad O.o).

At one point I wanted to run out of the room from shear embarrassment. I was asking myself “I really didn’t think this through, I mean did I really think I could get away with this?”. So after the “interrogation” the manager paused and said “We normally don’t do this right off the bat, but the job is yours if you want it”. I must have had a look of bewilderment because she followed up with “We need someone with your interpersonal skills. Computer information is something we can teach you, being able to talk to human beings, we can’t”. She was pretty funny (we’d later go on to becoming good friends after I graduated and still are). I walked out of the conference room, the dozen socially awkward boys were still staring me down, but I didn’t care. I came, I saw, I conquered. I was on cloud nine.

I worked at the student tech center my whole duration of college. Funny enough, I was promoted to a senior role after being there a year. The one thing (among others) that experience taught me was that you can’t succeed if you don’t try. Sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone to get what you want. If you want it, go get it. The feeling of accomplishment is so worth it. Worst comes to worst they can tell you no, but you never know until you try. I think for my next profession, I’ll become a successful writer, who knows 😉

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Developermemes

I Forgot My Phone

Here is a short video by Charlene deGuzman about smart phones. I was blown away by how profound it is. I think we as a society are so invested in capturing “the moment” that we fail to enjoy it while we’re living it. We then look back at pictures and video clips with pangs of nostalgia never having fully experienced that reality. And we wonder why we can’t connect with people anymore. I for one am going to get off my phone and talk to the person next time me more often. Life is too short to be glued to a phone.

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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