People no longer seem to really like or enjoy personal communication. It seems we have developed this bubble and don’t allow anyone inside of it unless they are introduced through a mutual friend. We now see friendly people as “creepers” and if someone were to randomly come up and introduce themselves to someone, it is likely they are either going to feel like they are about to receive a business proposition, or uncomfortable. The most common thing people feel especially here at BYU-Idaho, is that if someone comes up to you to chat, the conversation is going to end in being asked out on a date, fated to become that person’s image of their future spouse.
I’ve noticed as I was walking around campus that people really only stop to talk to their immediate friends. Now this could be because they don’t want to be bothered or because they feel they have no time-they have places to go, people to see, assignments to terminate. But a lot more people either have their ipod buds in their ears, or they chose to look straight forward. My roommates and I have discussed this and sometimes, you just don’t feel like doing the Stop-and-Chat. No one wants to be forced into listening to someone they don’t care about blab on about their day and their frustrations, and no one likes to act fake and pretend they have serious concern. So most of the time, people will walk either looking down, looking at their cell phones and texting, talking on their cell phones, or just pretend not to notice the person waving their hands frantically.
Some people I noticed as I was walking on campus also do the “false glance” where if they accidently meet eyes with someone they aren’t supposed to, they will quickly turn their head and act like they were looking anywhere around the person, except directly at them. Then it becomes up to the other person-are they looking at me? Did they notice me? Should I say hi? And will either “bump” into them (to which the false glancer will say “Oh! Oh my gosh, I didn’t even see you there!”) or pretend they didn’t see them as well.
All in all, we do seem to be a friendly campus. However, are we lazy? Yes. Are some of our fears supported? Sure. It’s not unusual for someone to become your friend here if they think there is potential and that is the only reason they strike up a “casual” conversation. On the other hand, people who choose to get involved or are just social people are not in few numbers here either. I admit, I’m guilty to sometimes pulling these social moves on other people. I even have been in such shock and need to be avoided that I pull out my ipod and pretend to be searching for a song-everyone knows that takes a millisecond, not 30 like I pretend. The solution is simple-if you are asked out by a creep, say “Thanks, I’m flattered, but no thanks.” If you don’t have the time to talk, say so! We don’t have to step around everyone’s toes, but we should know to whose feet those toes that do get stepped on belong. We shouldn’t be hermit crabs-leave that to the crabby people. If we’re a happy bunch, generally, we’ll make someone else’s day just by being happy to them as well.