Social networking hinders social skills

You’re sitting on your bed. You got her number earlier in the day. Your phone is set to call her number. All you have to do is push that green dial button, and the phone will start ringing.

You did it! You pressed that button, and the ringing begins. But for every ring that passes and she doesn’t answer, your heart beats faster. Your voice sounds weaker. Ring, ring, ring. No answer. You can’t take it anymore, you’re too nervous. You hang up. Failure.

What do you do instead? You send her a text message. Or maybe you post a comment on her MySpace/Facebook.

It’s so much easier than actually speaking with her. So now when she reads your words, instead of hearing them, she imagines you as a smooth talker. Like James Bond smooth, right?

Wrong.

You fail.

It amazes me that most people don’t realize that by choosing not to talk directly to someone, they are hindering their interpersonal communication skills.

They hide behind that wall of text because they don’t want to go too deep. They are scared of rejection and would rather run like a pooch than face rejection head-on.

Technological luxuries such as text messaging and the Internet hinder the development of interpersonal communication.

Men hide behind texting and social networking sites when trying to communicate with women so much that when they try to talk to women in person they screw up.

Their ability to speak confidently has withered away. Their body language shifts and they don’t know what to do with their hands when they don’t have the luxury of “time to think of what to say” that technology provides.

Women, don’t think you get off so easily. Women’s magazines like Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire have hindered their communication skills just as much.

These magazines give them “advice” like: “don’t answer his first couple phone calls,” which only contributes to the decline of their social skills.

That’s why they are just as nervous to answer the phone as men are to call them. Thus, the reason why they ultimately prefer texting.

“Texting is a lot less pressure for me,” says Fullerton College student Krystal Kohlberg. “I don’t like the pressure of a phone call. I want to take my time and think about responding to what he says.”

The “pressure” is caused by the reading of articles about male manipulation in Cosmopolitan.

By looking to media for solutions on “playing” men, women create anxiety for themselves. Looking to ease their anxiety through media actually makes people more aware of it, causing women to feel “pressure” when talking to men on the phone.

They hide behind text messaging to relieve themselves of this pressure.

I’m not giving men any slack either. In fact, I’m trying to help my brothers.

Take this Cal State Fullerton sophomore psychology major for example: “I got my first girlfriend over MySpace,” says the sophomore who wished to remain anonymous. “I sent her a message asking her out. She replied and said ‘yes.’”

“It allows me to be more comfortable before I meet them in person.”

Seems cool, right? But no, it’s not cool.

“I have trouble making small talk. If I had something to talk about it would be easy. I’m better at talking online,” Mr. Anonymous admits his social skills are not strong because he relies on Facebook and MySpace too much.

When he talks to a woman, he chokes; but on MySpace and Facebook, he sounds just like James Bond. Or at least he thinks he does.

Texting and social networking sites cannot be avoided for communication in dating. People just need to realize the strain it puts on their social skills.

Are your skills weaker because you rely on technology too much?

Think about it.

About Derek Opina

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