We live in a day in age where we get to experience the life of others through a mobile device. It’s that simple. We’ve gotten to the point where we have separated the people we know and love with their social media profiles. There is Sally, your best friend and there is @SallysoFly, your Instagram follower. In my experience with some of my closest friends, I have found myself feeling uncomfortable with them sometimes when we are face to face. I’ve never had an issue with these people, they were my closet friends for God’s sake! So, why did I have a sense of awkwardness and anxiety when they were around? Why did I feel more comfortable with my friends via social media? I guess because it’s the world we live it, right?
People can draw so many conclusions on why the standard social interaction, apart from social media, is awkward and unusual. However, I can boldly admit that, from observing culture, we haven’t even thought about this issue. Ask yourself, are you more comfortable with you best friend, friend, or sibling in-person or on social media? If you are more comfortable with them in person, my friend, you are goals. For those of us who still struggle with this strange dose of awkwardness, we have some work to do.
I have put together 5 challenge points to help us grow in building personal connections with our fellow humans, not profiles.
1. Seize an opportunity
I recently moved away from most of my dearest friends and family, so connecting can be hard sometimes. It’s easy to adapt to a place where you’re living your life through the lens of social media, phone conversations, and text messages. However, with my current job, I’ve had the opportunity to visit home more than usual so, I have the chance to see these people in person more. With this being the case, it’s an opportunity that I cannot miss! If you have similar chances to connect in person, ask your loved ones or close friends to dinner, coffee, play cards, or just chill. This way you can focus on them as a person more than what they post on social media. We can do it!
2. Put the phone away
Gee, when you are finally at a place where you can have a face to face conversation, don’t let a text message ruin the moment. I am guilty of that! I have experienced great conversation with one of my best friends that I haven’t seen in a while get turned into distraction after distraction after distraction. If you can, try to put your phone on silent and into your bag. I would even ask this of the person you are meeting with at the moment. Building requires sacrifice and I can guarantee that you will naturally spend every other second on your phone anyway. For the sake of growth, disconnect and enjoy the moment.
3. Be their biggest fan – in person
Let’s be real. If we are always on social media, we know exactly what most of our friends are up too. This is another opportunity to seize the moment. Highlight what you’ve seen on their social media, specifically the positive things. (Unless it’s your bestfriend, you call out his or her negativity in hopes to splash in some positivity.) For example, one of my closet friends briefly shared his business desires online. When we met up to hang, I asked him how his business was going. Just like that! The awkwardness is avoided and a conversation has begun. However, for those of you who are thinking to play devil’s advocate, I’ve beat you to the punch. Suppose your friends don’t post on social media that much, what do you do now! You still be there biggest fan. Ask them everything that you already want to know. It’s simple. If you have good friends and had good relationships, you know what is important to that person. Ask them about it. Be selfless in the moment for the sake of growth.
4. Appreciate the discomfort
It seems like social media has altered the persona of the human nature. We tend to be super uncomfortable at times that we really can’t even explain. Well, at least I can say this for myself. Like, why am I so uncomfortable in this moment I am having with my cousin that I’ve known since diapers? It’s crazy being that we just had a long night of Facebook messaging about everything that we were talking about now. This level of discomfort should trigger some type of warning signal and if it doesn’t, then shame on you. I immediately noticed the awkwardness in certain conversations, but I’ve also noticed that overtime the moment gets better. You are focused on the topic, you remember all the good talks you’ve had growing up, and you enjoy the person that you always knew. Sometimes, from my experience, it takes me getting through my discomfort and focuses on the big picture, the interaction. It’s priceless.
5. Be yourself and love yourself in the moment
Most of you may be confused on how this can relate to this topic. However, I’ve noticed that when I am confident in myself in a conversation, it tends to go a lot smoother over time. Awkward moments don’t cause me to draw out points, weird comments don’t trigger weird facial expressions (well not all the time), and the person who I am communicating with has a sense of comfort in that moment. Insecurity can have a lot to do with our ability to be forerunners in social interactions because compared to the face to face moment, social media gives you the opportunity to hide behind yourself. You can drift into your own shadow online. If we get to a place where we can appreciate ourselves and what we bring to other people’s well-being, then we can optimize the natural beauty of seeing worth in looking into other people’s eyes. Making physical contact with ourselves and our truth that we are both human with a lot to be thankful for.
I am not in any way shape or form an expert on this subject matter. I simply consider myself a person who reflects and share experiences. I know that most people may have encountered the same things in regards to personal interaction. Let’s keep up with the world, but also not forget its essence. We make up the world, people. Let’s look up and notice humanity in its rarest form, being.
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