This brief review of some aspects of effective communication concludes the series of conversations from my freshman college-life experience.
- One Wednesday, around dinnertime, my friends and I were at the food court eating and talking about going to watch a basketball game later that night. There was a young man sitting right across our table, and whenever we talked, he would take a glance at us. The first thought that came into my mind was that he seemed interested in joining our conversation. My guess was right. He was sociable so he came over to sit with us and introduced himself as Vladmir.
- My friends and I had a “small talk” with him about our names, hometown, majors and hobbies. Vladmir, of course told us where he was from and it was evident to us even in the way he spoke. He tried as much as possible to remember our names so he wrote them down in his diary and kept on repeating them. By the end of the conversation, he got all of our names right and the basic things we had discussed. We exchanged phone numbers and he invited us to come see his paintings sometime.
- There was an element of “small talk” in our conversation. When we met Vladmir, we had an initial talk about ourselves. It was a moment to be acquainted with one another. It was cordial and nobody asked any intimate or personal questions. We just gave brief introductions about majors, hobbies and ourselves.
- Furthermore, the concept of “self-disclosure” was evident in the conversation. Each of us shared a little information about ourselves, but we were cautious not to share very personal information since we did not know Vladmir very well. However, our conversation was in a warm, friendly environment.
- Vladmir saw the “need for inclusion” as seen in the conversation. When he saw my friends and I talk, he seemed interested and just asked to sit with us. That led to the conversation and us getting a new friend. Vladmir was at least sociable to approach us and start a conversation.
“Interpersonal attraction” is another concept evident in the conversation. When I noticed the young man take few glances at us whenever my friends and I talked, I perceived him to be someone sociable who wanted to be our friends. Hence, he joined us and we started talking to each other.
The concept of socialization has evolved over the years – from face-to-face conversations to video calls, the way a manner people interact has changed. Children learn how to socialize from their immediate family, and then use that exposure to build friendships and relationships. These days, people hardly spend time outside doing recreational activities. As an avid observer in public transport, I often witness silence among passengers on board because everybody is looking down on his or her phone “tap-tapping” (texting) with their thumbs. This week’s discussion is: Has the traditional means of socializing lost its place in our society? Why aren’t people talking to others more without glancing at their phones? Would you rather interact with your friends one on one or in a group setting, or would you rather text or call?
WRITER: Kwame Twumasi-Ankrah | firstname.lastname@example.org