Face-To-Face Conversations

Face-To-Face Conversations

Sometimes using technology is not the answer
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There are times when relationships and friendships encounter issues, some small and some larger, but this is normal. Things cannot always be perfect. The way the problems are dealt with can help determine the strength of the relationship. However, in today’s younger generations, there is a lack of face-to-face interaction used to solve these problems. People’s messages to one another are lost when sent as texts because pitch and tone of voice cannot be construed. One person can be expressing sarcasm and the other genuineness.

For example, this Key & Peele video is a perfect portrayal of misconstrued messaging escalating extremely quickly:

A simple call would have prevented that situation because they would have been able to hear each other’s tones of voices. The same thing applies to many of the conversation's people have daily.

One time, my mother was texting me suggestions while I was at Hershey Park for a band competition. There was a time constraint, so I was worried we would not have enough time to go on many rides. She sent me a text that said, "Having fun. S'mores roller coaster." I looked at my phone with such confusion and replied, "what?" To that, she sent me a detailed message explaining that my friends and I could buy the new s'more cookies that the park was selling and then we could eat them while we waited on line for the roller coaster.

To this day I ask her why she could not have just said all of that in the first place.

Talking to one another is much better than sending confusing messages. Addressing your affairs is also better than letting the elephant sit in the room and build tension between the parties. Technology makes our lives easier in many senses, but when it comes to this one, it serves as a wall for us to hide behind and launch our ammunition from. People should not let technology get the best of them and their relationships. It clearly can lead to us making fools of ourselves.
Cover Image Credit: Mike's Interpersonal Comm Blog

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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To All You Zombies Stuck To Your Smartphone's Tiny Screen, What Are You Doing?

Why is technology becoming so advanced, but people are more and more likely to lonely and emotionless zombies?

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In this age, there is an emotion called "lonely in connection". I realized it on a rainy day, feeling empty while holding my phone in hand, looking at the "green active on-off button" continuously, and wasn't able to find a person to text. I keep surfing one website to another, all superficial and tasteless.

Deep down, I know what I really want to do, of course, not surfing the Internet. The true feeling of happiness that I crave for is not the likes, shares, and meaningless icons on Facebook. That day, I decided to leave my phone in the room, have a walk in the park near my house, and I realize that smartphones have taken away more from me than what I got back...

Smartphones are changing us to zombies.

Warning about the harmful effects of smartphones is everywhere on the Internet: children using smartphones are at risk of autism, light from smartphone's screen makes users lose their sleep, Facebook increases the risk of depression, smartphones increase the risk of traffic accidents, even deadly cases because of "living virtual"...

So what? The truth is people still use them: Use them until they become addicted!

Even though smartphone users have hundreds of reasons to justify why they are looking at their phone, such as "updating information", "keeping connection", "working" ... the truth is they only do so as the result of reflex, of the habit has been deliberately "trained" by phone makers and software developers. Today, the software works so well that even an illiterate child can use smartphones and become addicted.

Smartphones are turning us into technology zombies that only know how to act reflexively.

And day after day, the comfort of smartphones gradually turns us into technology zombies, acting instinctively by habits and very little thinking. We go through this website to another website, read the crap, post status to talk about bullshit, wait for likes and shares unconsciously. We jump continuously from email to Facebook, to Instagram, to YouTube. We aspire to interact, eager to receive notification from any source. We plunge into stimulating loops - reflexes from the phone, so if it is silent, our lives will also stop.

And maybe for some people, their lives will stop if smartphones disappear!

The problem of smartphones right now is not only addictive but also making things simpler and easier. Instead of saying "I like your opinion", we click like. Instead of saying "thank you", we drop and release icons. Instead of retelling our own experiences, we take a virtual live photo and use a "deep" caption. Instead of texting people to ask them, we're just surfing on the notification ... And then instead of taking pleasure from human interaction, we become addicted to virtual interaction between people and machines. We like just to like, surf Facebook just to surf Facebook ... We don't connect for real connection, but because we can't stand the feeling of being "disconnected".

I want to finish my article with a story about an experiment. It was the early 1950s, American psychologist James Olds discovered the area that governs the feeling of satisfaction in the brain of mice. In one experiment, he placed the electric pole on that part of the mouse and connected it with a button. The mouse can press the button to satisfy itself. As a result, the mouse repeatedly pressed the button, not caring about food and water, until it died of exhaustion.

This story may sound funny, but actually very similar to the behavior of smartphone addicts. Increasingly, smartphones and applications within it are optimized to give users quick "rewards". They are fast food, which can give users instant gratification.

But in the long run, addiction to smartphones will not bring anything good for the spirit and emotions of users. Because human is a strange animal. It needs to experience sadness, suffering, loneliness, hostility, effort ... to be able to connect with each other and enjoy the full joy of life.

Just by putting down the phone, staying away from the easy satisfaction that smartphones bring us, accepting real efforts, embracing the complex and lively mind behind each one, then we will have a real sense of life, real connections, and real happiness.

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