Some of my favorite times are when I’m in a deep discussion with someone who shares my passion for whatever it is we’re talking about. Alot of times it’s with my wife when we go on long car rides. We might randomly give each other some scenario and then discuss what we would do in a situation. It may sound kinda dumb, but I think it really excersises the brain. Conversation is one of the most important aspects to being human, yet so many people don’t know how to do it anymore.
We all see it everywhere we go. People sitting next to each other glued to their phones as if nobody else existed. We are under the impression that social media brings us closer together, but come on how does a minion meme allow you to get to know someone better? It doesn’t. I recently deleted my Facebook account after I came to a startling realization: I really don’t care about most of the people I’m “friends” with. I don’t hate them, but I don’t care about what they post. Ever. And the ones I do care about, I keep in touch with their lives by actually talking to them from time to time. Now, I’m not anti-facebook. It just wasn’t for me. I know alot of people use it because they have actual friends who post actual things that are actually happening with them. And I get that. But Facebook, Twitter, Instagram; these are things we should use when there isn’t anybody around. Not when you’re sitting at the dinner table with family and friends. Put the phone down, and ask questions. Give answers. Tell jokes. Do whatever you have to do to converse with each other. Learn about each other.
When I was at basic training for the Army, we didn’t have our phones. There were people from all over the United States and even a couple people from other countries. When we had down time on Sundays, or when we were cleaning our weapons or up at night for guard duty, we had to find something to talk about. Trust me, what you have to say isn’t stupid. We talked about everything you can imagine. Movies, food, our families, religious debates, we talked about it all. If we had our phones, none of us would have gotten to know each other near as much. Not even close. I had to find things in common with someone from a completely different culture than me. I also had to learn about them and I got insights on how different people think and how different people grow up in other parts of the country.
It seems like every other person I meet has some sort of social anxiety or they just flat out don’t like talking to people. I understand some people can’t help real social anxiety, but alot of people who claim to have it just aren’t used to talking to people. It’s ok to say hello to a stranger on the sidewalk or to ask someone about their clothes or their phone. Get over yourself. They’re not judging you or making fun of you in their head. And even if they did, who cares?! They’re the ones missing out on getting to know you. Put away your phone and enjoy life a little bit. Learn something new about someone, whether it be a stranger or someone you’ve known your whole life. Everybody has a story, and everybody has something to say. Just remember that everybody you meet knows somethong that you don’t. Don’t waste your opportunity to learn about people by staring at your phone.