The dying art of talking to strangers or patiently waiting

I recently made the switch to an iPhone, a decision I am quite happy with for a number of reasons, including that I no longer have to bring a phone, iPod and camera everywhere since it contains all of these features and more. However, it has definitely raised some concerns about technology usage. Having Facebook and the Internet, my entire music library, photo editing, and so many apps is certainly convenient, but not without a down side. It is disheartening how easily we can avoid interacting with actual people, forget meeting new people. The gym is full of people with headphones on, store lines are full of people typing away, anything to avoid engaging with strangers, or even people we know if we’re so inclined.

My younger sister and I, both iPhone users, recently discussed how easily my mother seems to speak to new people, and how that somehow wasn’t passed onto us. Obviously some people are more adept at this to begin with, but it certainly seems that our technology is aiding us in putting up walls. Too much multitasking and constant entertainment at our fingertips, too little face time, silent contemplation, simply waiting patiently, exchanging pleasantries with those around us. Without a common thread, my sister and I tend to be sort of shy around new people, opting for­ the comfort of our phone over potentially awkward silence – or discussion – with strangers around us. It seems that striking up a conversation with somebody new is a sort of dying art in the already full hands of Smartphone users.

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