January 28th, 2018
As I mentioned before in yesterday’s blog post, technology is incredible and I deeply appreciate it. Technology on a daily basis assists us in life, inspires us, gives us opportunities to learn more, helps to entertain us and has so many more uses that I have yet to experience. I do have to say that there is something that should always trump technology and that is human interaction. How many times have you had a friend over and the moment they sit on the couch there they go whipping out their phone to send a text or you are in the middle of a conversation and ask them a question then there is a long pause because they are finishing liking and commenting on a picture on Facebook. I don’t mean to bash technology rather my intention is to understand and appreciate the long lost skills of social interactions.
When did this:
Turn into this?
It is imperative that we learn to focus on the people that we are with. Are you giving your attention to social media while spending one on one time with a friend at coffee shop? Don’t you think that the person in front of your face is more important to communicate with than growth of likes that you are getting on your picture of your breakfast posted online? I appreciate value and that includes being valued by others. I have let go of friendships that didn’t have qualities like punctuality, attention, communication, opinions, effort and diversity. All of these qualities can be quantified by value. How much value are you giving to others around you, I don’t mean the ones on your friend list but in your day to day life, the ones that you interact with in person?
I know that it might sound harsh to say all of these negative things about technology but I do believe there is a practical and incredible use for it, my only caution is that we abuse technology. I remember as a kid my brothers and I were outside from sun up until the street lights turned on, or when we heard my mom’s very specific whistle. We played sports with kids in the neighborhood and always came home covered in dirt and a new “battle scar” or dripping in sweat. I am so thankful that I grew up in a time that kids were still active and technology was not of high importance, don’t get me wrong because we played video games and surfed the web. But we were not addicted and we were generally kicked outside after an hour or two. I am thankful that my parents got us outside more than we were inside.
It starts with us. What we do will be reflected in those around us. Valuing our friends over our phones will let them know how much we care about them, in turn they will put effort in the relationship because it is worth while. The same goes for children, put them in front of a screen and you will have a stranger living in your house. Interact with your kids and take them camping or outside for a water fight and you will have a kid that grows up with social skills in a world of unsocialized people.
My greatest memories do not include my phone, computer, tablet, TV or video games. The unforgettable recollections that I hold dear are the ones with childhood friends playing sports, going on a road trip with my husband, camping with my family and catching up over coffee with loved ones. Do not forget your social skills even though they are becoming less common, work on improving them. It is easy to become alone and not notice because we have over 500 friends on our social media platforms or even thousands. Nothing can replace a good handshake followed by a fascinating conversation. If you are intimidated by interaction with others, here are a few pointers with social etiquette.
- Stand up when someone walks into the room.
- Eye contact, do not look at your feet when meeting someone.
- When you shake someone’s hand introduce yourself, if you are with others then introduce them as well.
- Smile when you meet another person.
- If the other person is nervous they might not introduce themselves, ask them their name.
- A firm grip is a must in any handshake, not hard but not delicate.
- Depending on the setting after the introduction is complete ask the person to sit. If you are having a bar-b-que offer them a drink and show them around.
These are helpful if you are meeting someone new. Like anything else in the life the more you do something the better you get at it. You might stumble on your words or offer your left hand instead of the right for a handshake but just move on. Keep the skill of human interaction sharp. I enjoy meeting new people and getting to know them. When you feel stumped in a conversation your best bet is to ask questions and listen well. Stay engaged, you show value and respect for others when you give them your time and attention. What is one area you can work on with your social skills? (Speaking up so others can hear you, remembering to shake hands when you meet someone new, making eye contact during conversations or just putting down your phone.)