Social networking hinders social skills

In Opinion

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.

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  • Cindy Cotter

    If you have some hard evidence, I’ll listen. Absent that, I’ll use my own experience and commonsense and they tell me: 1) Some people need props. Taking the props away won’t solve their problem any more than taking a disabled person’s wheelchair away will help him walk, and 2) Socially savvy people use Facebook and Twitter to stay in touch and make new contacts. They’re another tool to extend their reach.

  • ally s

    i think it makes a good point. its all true =]

  • trisha

    hi you know i see your point but actually we were now having a research about the interpersonal skills and the social networking and base on our data gathered, social networking enhances our communication skills. 🙂

  • Marc Elliott

    Although I can see understand where your getting at with what your saying, but I think using men as an example is a little sexist dont you think? All you said was basically how men are cowards, I believe women does the exact same thing. Becareful what you write in your articles.

  • Marc Elliott

    Didnt mean sexist, but bias?

  • Zarek Silberschmidt

    I agree that social networking is a serious problem in reguards to our ability to communicate face to face.

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