We Need To Be Mindful In Our Conversations

'Getting It On' Does Not Mean Flirting, And Other Awkward Conversations That Show The Difficulty of Communication

Yeah, my eighth grade self apparently didn't understand the definition of "getting it on" until I'd told half the school I was doing it.

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As a public relations major and advocate for the importance of relationships, I believe in the power of communication, especially when it's done right. However, I understand how easy it is to misspeak or misunderstand. I understand how frustrating it can be. However, I believe we need to be mindful in our interactions because so much can be misunderstood and even harmful, with the potential to hurt both personal and professional relationships.

One of the main instances that comes to mind for me goes back to eighth grade when I told all of my girlfriends that this guy and I were "getting it on," thinking that meant flirting.

Yikes. I still simultaneously awkwardly laugh and cringe years later.

And then there's that time in high school when everyone in the student section of football or basketball games would should out random insults to specific players, and I tried to be ironic and yell out a random compliment, except "artistic" sounded like "autistic" to my best friend beside me, who glared at me without my understanding why.

Yeah, that took a lot of explaining.

Even when we feel we're being so clear and so obvious and so intentional, we aren't always received that way by the other person. For those of us with anxiety or depression, we sometimes doubt what our friends say or feel we aren't worthy of their compliments. This is something we need to keep in mind as friends of those people and for ourselves.

It's also important to understand your loved ones' love languages, in which you can take the test here. My main love language is words of affirmation, so I basically need you to tell me how great I am and how much you love and appreciate me all the time. I'm lowkey Trixie Tang, but it's fine.

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But the thing is, that's not everyone else's love language. We have to keep that in mind when we're giving and receiving love with other people. I know my friends love me when they're not actively affirming me and when they're showing love in other ways, like quality time. And even though I don't walk around complimenting my friends all the time, I love them all the same.

We need to strive to be mindful in our conversations with other people because our word choice matters more than we may realize. For example, I try to grab the attention of groups of people by saying "Hey y'all" or "Hey everyone" rather than "Hey guys" if I'm not talking to a group of guys because I don't want to exclude women or nonbinary folks. I also would rather be called a survivor than a victim, but I understand that some people prefer victim. In one of my organizations, we have to be mindful when we use the word "fat," because in the activist world we know it's important to reclaim the word and emphasize how it's not a bad thing, but a descriptor and macronutrient; however, we know that not everyone has had that experience or has thought about reclaiming it and that we are primarily people of thin privilege, though we welcome people of all sizes.

Communication is undoubtedly tricky and nuanced, and that can be frustrating. We all make mistakes and have to learn. Communication is something we have to consistently work on because it's so important to our relationships, our roles as leaders and activists, as employees and more. Communication is the basis of everything, so let's work hard at it.

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10 Abnormally Normal Things About College

Some stuff just doesn't fly in the real world.
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College is a weird, weird place. For whatever reason, the young adults who are supposed to be cultivating their minds with all of the worldly knowledge available to them, seem to get away with quite a bit using the justification "it's college." Even the best students live abnormally while on the alien planet that is a university. So, while to us college students it may just seem like another day, here are ten things that are only normal in college.

1. Straight up theft.

In the future, if I walk into my forty-something-year-old neighbor's home and see a collection of stolen signs, stuff from the local restaurant, and property from the construction site down the road, I would definitely be concerned about the character of my neighbor. However, in college, people proudly display campus signs, traffic cones, or dining hall napkin dispensers that they have impressively commandeered - it's a cheap decoration and a great conversation starter.

2. All-nighters.

Maybe with the exception of parents of little babies, very few people willingly stay up for close to 24 hours on end. In the real world, if a friend came to you and said that they literally did not sleep the previous night, it's completely logical to be worried. On the other hand, when a friend in college says that he was up all night you laugh a little, give him an understanding pat on the back, and walk with him to the coffee line.

3. Atrocious eating habits.

Sometimes you don't have time to eat. Sometimes you order pizza at 2 in the morning. Sometimes you eat three dinners. Sometimes you diet. All I can say, is thank goodness that our metabolisms are decently high at this age.

4. Breaking and entering.

In high school, you hopefully knew everyone who entered your home. After college, hopefully, that's still the case. However, when you live in the middle of thousands of bored college students, people knock at your door, walk into parties, cut through your yard, and stop by without invitation or hesitation. It keeps life fun, but still not normal.

5. Calling mom when stuff goes down.

I really doubt a time will ever come that I don't need to call my mom for guidance on how to do something. But, hopefully the frequency of those calls with go down a little bit post-graduation. Maybe after four years of doing it on my own, I'll know how to fill out government forms, cook real dinners, and get stains out. But for now, I'm going to keep calling while I still can without seeming totally pathetic.

6. Being intoxicated at weird times.

Drunk at noon on a Friday is the quintessence of an alcoholic at any time - unless it's college. Not that this is necessarily a good thing, and it certainly doesn't apply to everyone, but there aren't many other places where people would instantly assume someone is intoxicated if they're acting even a little weird. I've even seen people drink in the library....

7. The messed up dating scene.



There are people who meet the love of their life at college and live happily ever after. They are people who meet the supposed love of their life at college and never talk to them again after Sunday. There are people who use Tinder. Hormones are high, freedom is bountiful, and football players are cute - what else needs to be said?

8. A warped sense of time.

The career I'm pursuing will require me to be at work by 7 am, five days a week. I am fully aware of this. Now, will I enroll in an 8 am next semester? Absolutely not - I'm not a demon. In college, nights often start at 10 p.m., dinners are eaten at 4, and mornings can begin anywhere from 8 to 2. We don't get that whole 9-5 idea.

9. Costumes... for no apparent reason.

High schoolers have a dress code. Adults have dignity. College students have fun. Here, people will wear a corn costume to get on ESPN, a fanny pack to get into a fraternity, or a tutu to match a theme party. Is it actually a weird thing, though? No one even blinks an eye.

10. Insanely close friends.

Name another point in your life when you live with your friends, study with your friends, drive with your friends, eat with your friends, go out with your friends, and even grocery shop with your friends. I'll wait. At college, it's easy for friends to seem like family because you're with them constantly. Love it or hate it, it's weird about college.

So, enjoy this weirdness while you can - it won't last forever!


ALSO SEE:

Uncensored Roommate Confessions!

Cover Image Credit: Matthew Kupfer

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I'm Done Trying To Force People Into My Life Who Don't Want To Be There

Remember that if they want to be with you or be in your life, they will show an effort. They will make it happen. They will make you feel important and wanted.

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I feel like, for the longest time, I would constantly try to chase after people to force them into my life. Whether it was someone I was attracted to and wanted to try for a relationship, or someone I admired for whatever reason and wanted as a friend, I forced my way into their lives in order to make them a part of mine. None of these interactions were worth my effort, though. My issue is that I love too hard. I put too much emotional exertion into people that don't want me, so why bother in the first place?

My heart is big. I care too much for those that don't care at all. And perhaps that partly explains why I've been so broken for so long. However, over these past few months, I've learned a ton about self-worth and self-love. When you begin to understand your own personal purpose, you learn to think with your brain for once instead of your heart. You learn that you deserve love from ANYONE with a mutual amount of effort and time. Life is far too short to deal with a constant level of imbalance.

Stop begging. Stop begging for someone to put forth emotional investment. Stop begging for a text or Snapchat back when you've been left on read time and time again. Stop begging for someone to hang out with you when they clearly don't want to.

Stop begging for someone to love you.

Soon it'll be easy to realize that reality isn't the fantasy you wish it would be. It's rare someone will come banging down your door to smother you with apologies and goodies to not lose you.

Remember that if they want to be with you or be in your life, they will show an effort. They will make it happen. They will make you feel important and wanted. If this doesn't happen, don't place yourself in the palm of their hands. Absolutely no one in this world is worth losing your mental sanity.

But more importantly, absolutely no one in this world is worth losing yourself.

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