Why Don't We Talk to Strangers?
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Why Don't We Talk to Strangers?

Why are generations getting more and more introverted and how is this shaping us?

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Why Don't We Talk to Strangers?

My generation has a tendency to be viewed as one of the most introverted and socially anxious groups to occur yet. Instead of optimism, I tend to hear the line "I hate everything" nearly every day, and from a different person each of those times. The negativity that has plagued my generation has come from several different sources in my opinion, and while I believe that pointing them out may help identify, I don't believe that these causes are subject to change any time soon.

One of the things that I cannot help but get flustered by is this whole "talk to a stranger today!" trend. If you're in a comfortable situation and find yourself easily capable of speaking to a person you've never met before, then great! Go for it and make a friend! However this mindset that minding your own business in public isn't polite or "worthwhile" is utter bullsh*t. One of the first things we are taught as children is "don't talk to strangers", and frankly I think that's an important lesson for a child considering their innocence and helplessness. I believe that educating children to be safe around unknown people is a necessity. However, this mindset is going to stick. When we're taught to avoid strangers at all cost in our developmental years, then this is going to be a lifestyle that sticks with us. Why wouldn't we have a tendency to avoid strangers as adults if we were taught to do so as children?

During adulthood, though, is when it becomes an issue apparently. This is because we are supposed to meet new people to make new friends. Well now we're being encouraged to talk to strangers even though this is something we've been avoiding our entire lives. Making new friendships requires repeated interaction over a period of time. This means that making a friend requires a commitment. So yes, "smiling at a stranger" can be nice for a moment or two, but I don't believe that just because someone chooses to ignore this advice makes them some sort of grouch. We've been raised to feel this way, so why is there such a backlash against our quietness when we are adults?

Another heavy contributor to the introverted behaviors of my generation is, undeniably, the dependence on technology. Fights and confrontations happen over text nowadays, and this just takes away from our ability to communicate with other people. When I get into a tiff with one of my friends, one of the first ways we confront the issue is through text. Talking to someone face-to-face about your problems has been difficult throughout all of history, but it's become near impossible from our lack of exposure to these situations. When we are communicating via text for a fight or issue, it gives us time to think over what we're going to say. We could wait two hours to respond to someone's comment, and while that may seem great short term, what's going to happen when you're in a real life confrontation and you have no idea how to voice your thoughts on the spot? While technology is great for long-distance friendships and exploring the dozens of available dating apps, it can take away the crucial ability for a person to communicate successfully.

One of the last contributors to my generation's introverted lifestyle is what society expects from us. I realize that I sound very unoriginal blaming "society" for our issues, but I do feel as though the public sphere has a massive influence on the mindset of not just my generation, but every one. Society is adaptive, it can change over the course of decades or even as fast as overnight. In contemporary times, I've noticed that there seems to be a huge emphasis on work. We have to work hard in school in order to get into a good college where we'll also have to work hard and then we will be prepped to work hard at our jobs for the rest of our lives. While "working" has always been a highlight in the public sphere, I feel as though my generation is feeling the effects even more so. Mostly because our hard work seems to never pay off.

We work hard in high school and that's great-- except someone else's hard work was better than ours so they're going to get accepted to a great college but we will not. Maybe we do manage to get into a dream school? Well that's great! Except now, in order to attend this great school, you have to take on tens of thousands of dollars of student debt that you will be paying off until you're 60! Well you got into the college and attained the debt, now good luck finding a job in this economy! We cannot win- our hard work results in a mindset that no matter what we do we will fail, so why bother at all?

Nearly every generation has the opinion that their's was the toughest. I cannot count how many times I've been told that my problems are insignificant compared to those that my parents had to face. While I'm not saying that they're exaggerating, because I know that every person's life is going to have great difficulties, I do believe our opinions are often undermined and almost "swept under the rug" as nothing but a whine or complaint from a spoiled generation. So when you're trying your best to speak to someone a bit younger than you and you wonder to yourself, "why is this person being so difficult?" Maybe remember the fact that we've been raised and treated differently than anyone before, and we are only the outcome of what has been given to us.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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