Put your phone away and talk to people

Daniel McKearn, Columnist

I can guarantee that those minutes before class officially starts, you are on your phone. Most are probably getting those quick texts or snaps in, browsing Instagram or scrolling through Facebook.

There always seems to be a reason to use your phone before class starts, but there are far greater reasons to talk to those around you before class starts.

It may be awkward or cumbersome to most, and that is all part of life. Comfort comes to us so easily, and when it’s time for something uncomfortable we often choose the stance of not partaking.

Texting has no delay; it is instant communication that we can do comfortably most anywhere and anyplace in our daily lives. And that’s why we do it before class; it is easy, comfortable, and gets us out of talking to others for a while.

Tatum Spevacek
Graphic by Tatum Spevacek

Many of us are avid texters, and we know how to talk through the phone. But face-to-face communication is a whole other world.

There is body language, speed and tone of others’ voices and eye contact. And it is precisely those factors that can be awkward when talking to someone for the first time.

Everyone we meet is a stranger at first — it is only through those first conversations you have that they eventually can turn into a friend. Who knows, maybe another great friend is out there just waiting to talk with you.

Wouldn’t it be better to know who is around you instead of that awkward silence of staring at your phones? And if they don’t turn out to be a great friend, at least you are more comfortable with having a conversation with new people.

Those instances where you are surrounded by people that you don’t know — like getting a new job, moving schools and having new classes — are just a small set of examples where unknown people will be around you.

Learning how to talk to strangers now is better than dealing with it later. Even a simple greeting can evolve into a greater conversation.

Communication is a powerful and unique aspect in our lives that can allow you to lead better lives, both socially and professionally.

An example of how it helps us in life includes teaching us how to be patient. It cannot be taught, so only through experience can we learn how to master the skill of patience.

Now, more than ever before, we live in a time where we can receive information in an instant, thanks in part to our phones and other technology.

We can figure out what is happening all around the world through social media and order almost anything we desire online with a few clicks. But at what cost?

We find it troublesome and almost problematic to handle certain situations of delay in our life. Waiting in lines, getting stuck in traffic and waiting for classes are just a few examples.

Being on our phones during these settings takes away that lingering anxiety of wanting to do something.

Phones are a great device for communication, don’t get me wrong, but they are also a great way to get distracted very easily, which may lead to procrastination, and that doesn’t manage to get us very far.

It is important to emphasize the power of conversation. It teaches us important skills such as patience through listening to others and unique and meaningful interpersonal communication skills that allow us to handle potentially awkward situations.

It may be that your neighbor in class is too shy to strike up a conversation. You need to be the one to break the ice and start talking to your new friend.

Start talking before class starts. It may be a burden at first, but it is worth it.