Close all your apps and step away from your smart device! How cool would it be if we humans were held accountable for our time spent staring at our screens? There is probably an app for that! Seriously, is there not an app for everything these days? Technology sure has made many things more convenient for the human race. We can pretty much do everything remotely: work, attend school, exercise. We can live stream worship services, “meet” new people on any social network imaginable. We shop online. During these uncertain times, it sure does help to have anything available to us at our fingertips.
Could it be that technology has made things too easy for us? If you have ventured to your local hang out recently, chances are you may have noticed some people are severely lacking face-to-face interaction skills. People are hesitant to approach others simply because they do not remember how to. Here are a few pointers to help you bounce back from your Zoom screen into the public scene so your face-to-face interaction will be effective instead of embarrassing!
- DON’T BE A PHONE SLAVE: Whether you are making a quick run to the supermarket or dining out at your favorite restaurant, make a point to silence your phone. Better yet, shut your phone off completely. Back in the day, it was considered rude to interrupt your table conversation by answering a phone call or checking your latest Twitter response. Guess what? In 2021, that is still rude. When you put the person who is right in front of you on hold so you can check your phone, you are proving to that person you value your social connections more than their company. Strolling down store aisles is just like driving your car on a two-way street. And you really cannot drive safely while looking down at your phone, right? Looking down constantly at your phone while shopping on foot is distracted shopping: don’t do it! It slows you down, you get in others’ way, and you miss out on your surroundings. So unless you are expecting an urgent call or message, leave your phone in your purse or pocket and focus your attention to what is going on around you. Remember that your phone does not run your life; you do. You can answer that Facebook message when the time is convenient for you.
- FACE-TO-FACE TIME, NOT FACETIME: Video calls used to be a futuristic fantasy we read about in grammar school. Now they are commonplace and that is awesome! We can still talk to and see our friends and loved ones in real-time via video chat, which makes enduring the pandemic that much more bearable, not to mention safer. Could you imagine if we did not possess this communication tool? It would be like living a real-life “The Walking Dead”! Hang on, because although this is a great way to keep in touch, there is still a barrier between us. Whether you are on your smartphone or talking via webcam, there are some pixels and devices that separate us, which makes us feel lightyears away from each other. If you can safely meet up with someone at their house, or a coffee shop for some human interaction, do it! You will feel refreshed. After all, human beings were created to fellowship with one another.
- TAKE SOCIAL MEDIA WITH A GRAIN OF SALT: Unless you are promoting a business, do not let your follower count or lack thereof mar the perception of your real-life social circle. That cool chick you just met at the bar is a lot less concerned with how many likes your latest Instagram post received than you are. Leave that drama for the beauty community. According to Youtuber Morgan Adams, a social media plague has wreaked havoc on the influencer world and it is known as the “30% Rule”. In short, certain beauty influencers will not associate with anyone who has 30% fewer followers than themselves and will only befriend those with 30% more followers. This social media abomination has turned the idea of friendship into a cash grab. Who has the time to worry about how many followers one does or does not have? To reiterate, unless you are on social media for business purposes, the analytics have no say in your real social life!
- SAY HELLO!: You will not believe how many people mess this one up. Picture it: you are at a pub enjoying some cool music with a drink in hand. Suddenly you are awkwardly approached by someone with the corniest of pickup lines to which you have no answer. You are annoyed, they are uncomfortable and now you just want them to go away. You feel bad when they do but your remorse is fleeting. But cut that person who ran away from you with their tail between their legs some slack! It is hard to get the nerve to chat a person up because people are stripped from the safety of hiding behind their screens, and instead are met with (gulp!) face-to-face interaction! Ladies and gents, here is the secret to never sweating the art of approaching another person. SAY HELLO! Yep, it is that simple. To take a step further: say hello, introduce yourself, and most importantly make sure to ask the other person for their name. For example, “Hey, I’m Dana. Nice to meet you. What’s your name? This is a cool place. Can I buy you a drink?” Either one of two things will happen next: your person of interest will be flattered and take you up on your offer, or they won’t. That is the absolute worst that could happen. So what are you afraid of? Everyone is at the place for the same reason: to socialize and have a good time! Still feeling those butterflies swirling at the thought of going up to someone? Just remember that people appreciate being noticed because whether they are open to your invitation or not, your earnest approach is flattering!
- DO YOUR OWN DIRTY WORK!: Focusing on your fear of talking to someone you find attractive will start you off on the wrong foot already. Nothing will make matters worse than copping out by sending your friend over in your place. Truth time. Playing chicken is never attractive! You know how it goes: “Excuse me. I don’t mean to bother you, but my guy friend thinks you’re gorgeous and was wondering if you have a boyfriend.” Your first instinct is to ask why the guy failed to come up to you himself! MAJOR TURN-OFF! If you are that scared to introduce yourself how can you expect to handle a conversation, nevermind a long-term relationship?! Give yourself some credit and take the risk. You will either score a chance to get to know the other person better, or gain more confidence to try again next time. It will come easy with practice and the payoff will be worth it!
By: Dana Nuzzo