Fearing connection

We bond through technology due to our fear of personal connection.

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Fearing connection

We are starting to interact through technology more than in person. Our fear of connection in person may be the cause for this.

We are starting to interact through technology more than in person. Our fear of connection in person may be the cause for this.

We are starting to interact through technology more than in person. Our fear of connection in person may be the cause for this.

We are starting to interact through technology more than in person. Our fear of connection in person may be the cause for this.

Natalie Walsh, Staff reporter

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The apple fell very, very far from the tree. No, I’m not talking about the tree being my parents and the apple being me, but rather our generations. Gen X consisted of a major lack in the technology us Gen Z’s have today; technology that has completely transformed how we communicate with each other. My parents were like most Gen X’s, having one phone in the household that they used as little as possible for economic means. The phone was used to plan events. Want to go to the park with Sally? Call Sally and ask if she wants to go to the park.

Today, as you know, it’s very different. Almost every high school student has a computer the size of a wallet that fits in their pocket. We can call, text, snap, or DM each other in a fraction of a second. Want to go to the park with Sally? No, because you can message  her from home without having to sit within five feet of a landline.

We are also a generation of conversations. We talk. A lot. Yet sadly, the amount of conversations between individuals in person is becoming a rare sight compared to the conversations via messages.

Imagine the most meaningful conversation you have had. How did he/she look at you? How were they standing? Or were they sitting? Were they smiling, frowning? Were their eyes wet with tears? Of laughter or sadness? All these reactions that you saw, the crinkle of skin around their eyes when they smiled, are completely missed over the phone. That meaningful conversation becomes much less meaningful when you are missing out on so much.

Why is it that we Gen Z’s have formed this new way of communication? Surely it can’t all be blamed on our advancements in technology, or our lazy attitudes. Possibly it could be something else. Something stronger than our willpower, stronger than our hopes.

Stronger than us.

Fear.

Fear of confrontation. Fear of upsets. Fear runs our lives. Whether you decide to try out for the school’s sports teams or not. Whether you decided to perform in the play or not. Whether you decide to gain the courage to talk to your crush or not. Everything is dictated by fear.

Take relationships as an example. In our society today, relationships start and end through messages. The fear of rejection is a cause for this. Rejection via messages, where you are alone in your room and can avoid the embarrassment of being turned down, is much easier than rejection in person. In person, you have to see how they react, which can be quite horrifying.

But what if they say yes? Then you’re missing out. Your memory of confronting your crush will be of you, alone, on your phone, probably snacking on hot Cheetos bundled up on your sofa.

Lame.

Don’t you want more?

For some, the consequences of possible embarrassment face to face sadly outweigh the possible memory made. Had I not faced a consequence with one of my closest friends a few years ago, I would never have made the memory we now both share.

She was my best friend, the one I sat with at lunch and walked with to every single class; knew everything about me. All the moments of laughter I spent with her made the perfect friendship. One where I could tell her about the amazing test score I got, as well as the not-so-amazing one.

But what happened when conflict in our friendship seeped to the surface and exploded out with an unforgivable end? What if the conflict was my fault?

My approach to the situation was … complicated. I contemplated for hours over the right words to say, when I was going to say them, and how I would say them to get my point across and hopefully restore a friendship I didn’t want crushed.

It wasn’t easy in the slightest; to look someone you care about in the eyes and tell them that you made a mistake you’re sorry for never is. But when the time came, I knew it had to be done.

I had practiced everything I was going to say. First, talk about what I did wrong, then explain why I did it. Follow that with the fault in my ways, and conclude with hopes to continue our friendship as though it never happened. Yet when I spoke, all that came out was two words:

“I’m sorry.”

She forgave me. She understood not only what had happened, but also all the effort it took for me to face the problem. She could see the drain in my face and the worry in my eyes.

“I’m sorry” can be delivered in a variety of ways, yet looking at our current society, we tend to deliver it in the most toxic of ways; through blue text bubbles, awaiting for a gray one to follow it. Awaiting for the words to fill the gray text bubble, hoping for the best yet accepting the worst because you didn’t even have the courage to say two simple words to their face.

That’s how it tends to be these days. The hard conversations previously faced in person are now mask covering up our emotions. Mask that are incredibly easy to put on, yet impossible to take off.

This is what we are developing in our society. We can broadly say we fear people, yet more deeply say we are beginning to fear the reactions of people. And the only way to overcome such a fear is to face it with a brute force, a force of confrontation.

So go use the mouth that you were born with for all the reasons you were born with it. It does so much more than taste air and inhale food. Allow your words to go from thought to sound for the world to hear.

 

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