By Megan Rule | Opinion Editor
One of the scariest conversation starters is, “Hey, we need to talk.” My palms start sweating, my heart beats a little faster and I immediately panic and think back to everything I’ve done or said in the past few days that could summon such a serious conversation.
Why are we, as college students, so afraid to speak in mature settings? Why do we prefer conversations with memes and emojis as opposed to actual emotions and issues? Why do we prefer to passive-aggresively leave a person’s text message unanswered rather than tell them our feelings are hurt or we disagree and want to delve deeper?
Social media allows everyone to share their opinion, but it seems that today people compete to see who can be the most offended. No one speaks their mind, so as soon as someone does, flags are raised and offense is called. Words are misconstrued and messages are lost in translation because communication skills are lacking. Now we don’t know the difference between reacting and overreacting.
Opinions get shut down and society becomes hyper sensitive. Creativity is no longer being sparked, but is instead fizzling out. The popular opinion, the thoughts of the masses, have taken over with the prevalence of social media. Dissenting thoughts are silenced or attacked, pick your poison.
I tend to lean more on the conservative side of things. Coming from Connecticut and being a college student, I’m used to being the red drop in a blue pool. However, when I’m with my friends and peers, I feel more comfortable with light hearted conversations such as how delicious someone’s food looked on their Snapchat, or how one of us just “took another L” on an exam. Once the topic shifts to who our president is or whether NFL players should be kneeling, I squirm. I don’t want to kill our vibe by saying I disagree with anything, so I get awkwardly quiet.
Social media has changed the landscape of communication, but that’s not breaking news for anyone. However, I’ve noticed that as I’ve gotten older and technology advances at exponential rates, in-person communication is worsening. Not only are the real-world topics avoided like the plague, but friends would much rather text me when something is going on. If they say “We need to talk,” I know it’s serious because talking in person hardly ever happens.
The lack of maturity with confronting issues and having cultured conversations is mind-blowing. How can we be expected to function properly in the adult world if we get scared to talk about politics with someone who disagrees, or if we get scared to break up with our significant other in person? Conversations are no longer intentional, but unwilling. Face-to-face talking is a step outside of the comfort zone. No one wants to step on anyone’s toes, so we all stay silent.
I’ve fallen guilty of this too. I’m a 19-year-old girl who has crushes on boys and doesn’t want to tell them for fear of being rejected. I’m a 19-year-old girl who gets in catty fights with girlfriends and doesn’t want to stand up for myself or continue with drama for fear of losing the friendship. However, I, like the rest of this generation, need to bite the bullet and stop hiding behind the screen. Let’s prepare ourselves for the real, face-to-face water cooler gossip that exists in the real world.