Using Your Cell Phone to Look Busy
You know you've done it … you're walking across campus and you see someone walking towards you from about fifty yards away. You don't know this person and you uncomfortably realize that the two of you are going to have to come face to face as you pass each other. For a brief instant you consider your options; you can make eye contact and offer some type of recognition, you can simply look down at the ground and ignore the person, or you can whip out your cell phone and pretend like you need to make or receive a text at THAT very moment. Most likely, you will choose option number three.
If you spend any time people watching on campus then you will see this scenario play out over and over again. However, the question remains, why do we do this? Is it so difficult to smile and offer a brief hello, or at the very least, a nod of acknowledgment?
Now, I don't have a degree in psychology, but the more I thought about it and observed the other students on campus, I realized that the awkward part of these encounters isn't the moment you pass, but the ten or fifteen yards before that when you are within sight and speaking distance, and you aren't sure when to make eye contact or offer a greeting. If you do it too early, then you are forced to stare at the person far too long. Alternatively, if you wait until they are right beside you, then you have nowhere to gaze your eyes in the meantime. You can't look down at the ground or you will appear socially inept, you can't stare relentlessly straight ahead without looking like a possessed person on a mission, so it seems the best option for many of us is to look at our cell phones and pretend like we are incredibly busy.
However, I fear that our cell phones are becoming a social crutch. I recently read an article that said one in eight people use their cell phones as a means of avoiding social situations; with many actually faking phone calls to evade talking to others. Now that the cat is out of the bag and we are all wise to this ploy, I say that it is time to end this practice.
To fight this trend and to prevent us all from becoming socially incompetent, I challenge you to put your cell phones away as you walk across campus. Undoubtedly, it is going to be difficult when you are approaching that first stranger and you feel the itch to pull out your cell phone and affix your eyes to its comforting screen. Just know that each time you fight the urge it will become easier and easier. Eventually, we may all be able to pass one another in stride, look confidently at each other at just the right moment, and offer a friendly, "hello."
Topic: Using Your Cell Phone to Look Busy
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