Don’t use your phone as a safety net to avoid social situations

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October 3, 2017

Spencer Traut

straut@uccs.edu

   We are not kids anymore.

    Although most of us are in our early 20’s, it seems that we are still afraid of strangers.  

    To avoid awkward interactions, we dodge small talk or even simple eye contact with strangers on the bus, standing outside of class or in line at restaurant.

    So we bury our heads in our phones.

    It’s a sort of safe zone; people pull out their phone because strangers are unpredictable.

    If someone texts you, you can take all the time in the world to formulate a perfect, mistake-free response. Your cyber-self is a model citizen. Only the best photos and funniest posts are on your profile.

     As soon as someone asks what your name is, your comfort zone is broken. This is a live conversation where you have to react in real time, so it is stressful.

    But we should not use our phones as a way to escape socializing and experiencing the real world.

    Social media only makes an individual lonelier and more anxious because of the way that we compare our friendship networks with others, according to Psychology Today.

    People might pull out their phones when they feel socially inept as well.

    “It is clear that many people use social networking sites in general to relieve themselves of their loneliness,” according to Psychology Today.

    What you are really looking for in social situations is someone to talk to, but you pulled out your phone. You look like you are talking to people, but those people are not there with you, so they can’t be that important in that moment.     

    People who nurse their Facebook or Twitter profile are concerned entirely with their self-perceptions, which makes them hyper-aware of their own awkwardness and loneliness.  

    But pulling out your phone when you are surrounded by others also prevents them from wanting to talk to you. They see you are busy with something on your phone and leave you alone.

    Your phone prevents more social opportunities than it creates and might increase the loneliness you feel.

    If you feel isolated, you need new experiences to break the monotony. You need new people and situations to stimulate your creativity and give your life some challenge and reward.

    You will feel a little strange and uncomfortable at first, but you will gain a more positive outlook on life once you stop thinking about how you’re going to be perceived in a social situation.

    If you choose to fill that empty feeling with new conversation and real people instead of the predictable Internet, you will begin to feel more at ease with yourself.

    You will realize that you can talk to anyone you want to, but you don’t have to. You will feel relaxed and use the time you would normally spend on your phone to examine your life.

 

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