The Three Foot Distance

The Three Foot Distance

How social media and smartphones are creating barriers between those closest to us.
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Look up briefly from this page at the people around you. What do you see? I bet you can see a number of people staring blankly, thumbs typing wildly or endlessly scrolling on their smartphones. Do you think they see the clouds in the sky above them, the first snowflakes falling around them or their friends trying to get their attention next to them?

Such a devoted fixation can only be applied to people and their smartphones. How many people do you see that are perfectly focused on a class lecture, conference call or even something as casual as a conversation over lunch with friends? Do people even make eye contact anymore? Watch students in class. They look out the window, at their friends, scroll through Facebook on their laptops, while simultaneously browsing Twitter and texting a friend. As employees sit in on a meeting or conference call, many are splitting their attention between emailing another client on their laptops and running through social media on their phones. Who’s listening to the person presenting? Anyone?

How many times do you go to lunch with your friends to ‘catch-up’ and yet you all sit there on your phones? Probably more times than you would like to admit. Even as your friend announces exciting news that they’ve landed that internship or have been accepted to study abroad, your reaction is delayed because half of your mind is immersed in the world of social media.

Let’s think about all the times you’ve been in an uncomfortable situation or are in a room full of people you don’t really know that well. Instead of taking the opportunity to make new friends and get to know the people around you, you pull out your phone to make yourself feel more comfortable. How disheartening is it that we need prefer to scroll mindlessly on our phones than interact with the people right in front of us?

Social media and technology in many ways have brought this world together and made physical distances between people and companies across oceans seem minuscule. But somehow, social media and smartphones have become a social crutch. People prefer the online world to the real one. They feel more comfortable engaging with others online than verbally. They have created unimaginable distances between the people no further than three feet from them. What is going to happen to our society when people just stop looking up from their phones all together? Social interaction is important and has its many benefits, but human interaction has benefits far greater.

Imagine how much more you could get out of lectures, business meetings and lunch dates with your friends if you looked up and let that unnecessary distance between those right in front of you slip away.


Cover Image Credit: http://www.abacusshutters.co.uk/are-you-being-too-social-online-how-you-could-be-putting-your-security-at-risk/

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I Went To "The Bachelor" Auditions

And here's why you won’t be seeing me on TV.
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It’s finally time to admit my guilty pleasure: I have always been a huge fan of The Bachelor.

I can readily admit that I’ve been a part of Bachelor fantasy leagues, watch parties, solo watching — you name it, I’ve gone the whole nine yards. While I will admit that the show can be incredibly trashy at times, something about it makes me want to watch it that much more. So when I found out that The Bachelor was holding auditions in Houston, I had to investigate.

While I never had the intention of actually auditioning, there was no way I would miss an opportunity to spend some time people watching and check out the filming location of one of my favorite TV shows.

The casting location of The Bachelor, The Downtown Aquarium in Houston, was less than two blocks away from my office. I assumed that I would easily be able to spot the audition line, secretly hoping that the endless line of people would beg the question: what fish could draw THAT big of a crowd?

As I trekked around the tanks full of aquatic creatures in my bright pink dress and heels (feeling somewhat silly for being in such nice clothes in an aquarium and being really proud of myself for somewhat looking the part), I realized that these auditions would be a lot harder to find than I thought.

Finally, I followed the scent of hairspray leading me up the elevator to the third floor of the aquarium.

The doors slid open. I found myself at the end of a large line of 20-something-year-old men and women and I could feel all eyes on me, their next competitor. I watched as one woman pulled out her travel sized hair curler, someone practiced answering interview questions with a companion, and a man (who was definitely a little too old to be the next bachelor) trying out his own pick-up lines on some of the women standing next to him.

I walked to the end of the line (trying to maintain my nonchalant attitude — I don’t want to find love on a TV show). As I looked around, I realized that one woman had not taken her eyes off of me. She batted her fake eyelashes and looked at her friend, mumbling something about the *grumble mumble* “girl in the pink dress.”

I felt a wave of insecurity as I looked down at my body, immediately beginning to recognize the minor flaws in my appearance.

The string hanging off my dress, the bruise on my ankle, the smudge of mascara I was sure I had on the left corner of my eye. I could feel myself begin to sweat. These women were all so gorgeous. Everyone’s hair was perfectly in place, their eyeliner was done flawlessly, and most of them looked like they had just walked off the runway. Obviously, I stuck out like a sore thumb.

I walked over to the couches and sat down. For someone who for the most part spent most of the two hours each Monday night mocking the cast, I was shocked by how much pressure and tension I felt in the room.

A cop, stationed outside the audition room, looked over at me. After a brief explanation that I was just there to watch, he smiled and offered me a tour around the audition space. I watched the lines of beautiful people walk in and out of the space, realizing that each and every one of these contestants to-be was fixated on their own flaws rather than actually worrying about “love.”

Being with all these people, I can see why it’s so easy to get sucked into the fantasy. Reality TV sells because it’s different than real life. And really, what girl wouldn’t like a rose?

Why was I so intimidated by these people? Reality TV is actually the biggest oxymoron. In real life, one person doesn’t get to call all the shots. Every night isn’t going to be in a helicopter looking over the south of France. A real relationship depends on more than the first impression.

The best part of being in a relationship is the reality. The best part about yourself isn’t your high heels. It’s not the perfect dress or the great pick-up lines. It’s being with the person that you can be real with. While I will always be a fan of The Bachelor franchise, this was a nice dose of reality. I think I’ll stick to my cheap sushi dates and getting caught in the rain.

But for anyone who wants to be on The Bachelor, let me just tell you: Your mom was right. There really are a lot of fish in the sea. Or at least at the aquarium.

Cover Image Credit: The Cut

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Just Like Any Other Toxic Relationship, It's Time To Breakup With Your Phone

Our phones are our individual prisons and you need to free yourself.

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Cell phones. Ever wonder why they're called "cellular devices?" Well, the suffix "ular" means "relating to," or "resembling." And "cell," well, the first thing you think is a prison cell! So, cellular devices resemble a prison. We trap ourselves in them. We go behind the gate, close and lock the door, and throw away the key. We place our full identity in what we put on social media. We waste precious time scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. We send memes instead of talking to someone face-to-face. We Snapchat the people right beside us, instead of just talking to them.

You know when you're in a toxic relationship, everyone tells you to break up with that person. They're bad for you. They only hurt you. You're better than that. Our relationship with our phone is like that too. So, break up with your phone! You don't need that negativity, that comparison, or that judgment.

I'm a teenager. I'm supposed to be the one attached to my phone, right? Well, I'm the "odd" one who actually wants to see your eyes and not have our phones around when we talk. I hate how it's so accepted, and encouraged, to neglect the necessity of human, face-to-face conversations with words coming out of our mouths. Our thumbs move faster, and more frequently, than our mouths do anymore.

I wish there was a national day where all electronics were forbidden, making you go an entire 24 hours without them.

Eventually, after you go through withdrawal, you would come to love the world you so often ignore. I promise. This January, I took the whole month away from social media. Even taking away that part of phone use was eye-opening. The sky is pretty, the birds sing, people actually dress up. There's also this thing called the outdoors — it's really cool! I don't know, I'm just glad that I haven't caught the millennial-bug. It's contagious, so beware.

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