This morning I was standing in line patiently waiting to order my tall soy chai when I noticed something about the people standing in line with me. The three patrons directly in front of me had their heads titled downwards as they typed away on their smart phones. I wondered what they were searching for, who they were tagging, or what they were hashtagging. Or perhaps they were pinning, playing candy crush, or reading the news. These three patrons included a business man with a tie holding a blackberry, a student with his backpack wearing a beanie hat, and a woman dressed casually with her purse tucked at her side. Then my eyes expanded past the three directly in front of me, as I scanned the rest of the Starbucks line. Nearly everyone in line was removed socially from the current environment.
Of the eleven people who stood in line waiting to order drinks seven of them were uninvolved in the social situation and environment as they entertained their anxiousness on their smart phones. I watched as only four stood strong with their heads high and devices tucked away. But then it happen, Man Down! (or should I say Woman Down!) One woman of the remaining four ordered. As she awaited her delightful drink she too reached into her purse and pulled out a device. In this moment the number moved to eight of eleven people in line that were busy bustling away on their smart device. Nearly 73 percent of the people in line were not engaging directly into the social situation that they were a part of. Not only were there no verbal conversations amongst them, but they were so engrossed with their heads down and personal agenda, that they didn’t even non-verbally communicate with smiles or looks. Are we opening up to a world where technology may be a catalyst in hindering our social development?
We need to be aware of a new social consciousness as the use of technology and smart phones rises. But what are we doing to make sure we remain and continue to become socially intelligent and socially in-tune? When was the last time you turned off your smart phone for a whole day and just allowed yourself to be engaged in all your social interactions? Try it. Your anxiousness may increase the first few times you unplug. This just goes to show us that we are actively having some kind of relationship with technology and smart phones. We live in an Anxious America. Time for a break up. Time to be more socially intelligent.
My morning began with reading “Emotional Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman. Then it brought me, here, to Starbucks where I pulled Daniel Amen’s “Change Your Brain, Change Your Life” from the shelf of the accompanying Barnes and Nobel store. I was reading to prepare for a blog about positive psychology and how to overcome melancholy when the strangest thing happen.
A girl, no older than nine, stood in front of me in the Starbucks line with two other girls about the same age. I figured an adult was having the girls stand in line while running to the bathroom or such, but no adult ever showed. We stood in line for about five minutes as I watched the girls pick up three reusable cups from a basket that was market: “limited time $1”. The little blond girl set her reusable cup up on the counter as she ordered: “Grande Carmel Frappuccino”. The Starbucks barista asked a name and she kindly obliged and said “Bridgette- B-R-I-D-G-E-T-T-E.” Bridgette then pulled out a Starbucks gift card from her Hello Kitty clutch to finalize the translation.
All of this got me thinking. Not about dietary restrictions and how kiddos should not have that much caffeine or sugar in one drink (hey you have to watch them later, I don’t), but about life’s innocence and what we teach our kids. In a world where Bridgette probably knows more about my IPad than I do, I shouldn’t be surprised. But where does the line get drawn? At what point in childhood should we actually teach our children to adopt adult tendencies?
We are constant to quickly age our children and I am not against the learning that takes place. However, when you teach a kid to manage money you offer them an opportunity to take on anxieties or moods that come along with that. To be honest, as I watched Bridgette interact with her peers it was clear that she possibly adopted some negative tendencies from adults. She watched as her peer tried to put on the lid and spilled, but instead of offering assistance Bridgette said, “you are so bad at that,” while giggling and waiting for her Grande Carmel Frappuccino. It’s not Bridgette’s fault in a world that honors criticism rather than encouragement. Maybe if adults became more emotionally intelligent we could teach our future generations to lend a hand instead of laugh. I can’t help but be slightly melancholy about the current state of affairs making our children grow up faster than they need to.
In the years to come I might see a 20-year-old Bridgette selling stocks from her smart phone while in that same line, but her emotional intelligence will be in the same place. Her smiles will be curbed by her need to act impulsively and her situational intelligence to order Starbucks will not help her increase her self-control in a world that comes more and more self-absorbed. If I use my IPad to sync my IPhone to my ICloud, I will still live in a world full of I’s. Don’t let Starbucks eat your child. Expand the world for your kids, and do it intentionally, no one else will for you.
This was derived by happenings in my life this morning. I was at the gas station before work. I wasn’t looking very sexy as I have had a cold and needless to say it is also making me a bit irritable. So I pass this guy who is with a friend and he proceeds to hang out of the driver seat window and yell, “Hey girl, what’s up.” Not only is this kind of hitting on someone completely appalling to a girl, it comes close to the behavior of a dog. You want to act like one and that shock collar might be the next best thing for you. So in a world where bad “hitting habits” take place, let’s look at the right way to approach someone you are interested in.
Let’s recap the bad. You don’t “hollar” at someone out the window of your car. You don’t yell at someone to get their attention, it’s plain rude.
So how can you talk to someone subtly and sneak in a way to hit on them? It’s about sparking up a conversation that can lead into asking someone for their phone number. If you are a social person starting conversations may come easy to you. If you happen to be shy, start trying with other people. Begin a conversation with a stranger in the grocery store and try it out. Josh Duhamel’s character, Messer, in Life As We Know It, does a great job showing how hitting on someone is an art. He hits on Katherine Heigl’s character at the supermarket. He subtly picks up an item and asks her how to say a word. She replies, that it is Acai. He compliments, “Wow you must really have an ear for languages.” She is flattered and it goes from there. So take note from Josh and try these rules of engagement:
1. Find a way in. Whether you are at a bookstore, in line at Starbucks, in a class together, or at a bar find something that you can inquire about or discuss. Ask about a book. Ask a question in class. Find a subtle way to make contact with the person without coming on to strong.
2. Compliment. After engaging in a conversation with the person about what got you “the way in” find something to compliment that goes along with it. An example is: “That book looks interesting (the way in), you must also be a great writer.” (Don’t make this compliment too much. It needs to be subtle and not too direct. You are very intelligent or you are beautiful are too vague and it lacks real motivation). It needs to equate to something more than a blanket statement you could use with anyone. Give the other person an opening to talk about themselves.
3. Don’t over do it. Be yourself. There is nothing less attractive than someone who tries too hard. Even if you are awkward and can’t get it completely right, that can be somewhat attractive in itself.
1. Always call the person the first time you want to make plans with them. Do not text.
2. Make sure to be gracious and thankful when someone else is footing the bill.
3. Don’t Facebook stalk. Get to know the person as a person, not their profile page.
If you are reading this article you might be curious about what it says or you might be in a relationship that seems to be going downhill. Have you ever thought that you could change something to make the relationship better? Or are you constantly blaming the other person?
Here are some ideas that you can do yourself or pass on to a friend who might be in a “relationship slump.”
1. Stop your expectations. We often expect more and more as the relationship goes forward. But try to look at it as if you just met. It is much like when you get a new job. When you first begin the job you are wide-eyed and happy to help in any way that you can. Heck, you might have even grabbed all the Starbucks on your way to the office. You were willing to take on any tasks at the beginning of the job. Then the longer you work at the job, the more entitled you feel. You don’t get coffee anymore because there are “better” ways to be spending your time. The reality is that you should never be “too good” for any task. If you can continue this type of motivation in a job, it will be easy to use the same concept in your relationship. Continue to do what made you a good partner in the first place. Look back at what you did in the past to make the relationship great.
2. The grass is not greener. The grass is not greener on the other side. The grass looks greener on the other side because you are spending more time staring at it rather than watering your own grass. Stop being concerned about what could be or what you could have or what your life would look like only if….. Start paying attention to what makes the grass green on your side. It takes work to keep up a yard, and it takes even more work to keep up a relationship.
3. Get your head out of your ass. Sorry but there is just no better way to say this. You might be thinking, “My partner is so stubborn.” I get it, you can do all these things and no matter what you do that other person will not change. Well then, you are not doing it good enough. Blaming other people and their responses will not help change happen in the relationship. Stubborn might happen for the other person, but it will not stick if you give 100 percent to change yourself in the relationship. With enough time, it is inevitable that the other person will take notice of what you are doing and how happy you are, and they will want nothing more than to join in.
4. Change your routine. Maybe as a wife you do the laundry twice a week. You are too predictable. So maybe you can change things up; leave the laundry. Your husband will take notice that things are different and it will make you happy to change it up and take a break. He will be curious to know what’s gotten into you.
You might not be able to change anyone else. So change what you do. If you order wings and a pizza and sit and enjoy eating it, your husband or partner is bound to want a piece. The same goes with change. Use actions to entice your partner to want to do it with you.
Today’s article will be the first part of two. This is a very insightful homework assignment that I once did myself. I also continue to do it as needed.
What I want you to do is make a list. I want you to make a list with two sides. One side is titled “people who fill your cup” and the other side is titled “people who empty your cup.”
Your “cup” is your life. Some people add positive aspects to your life and in essence fill your cup. Others might be negative, unsupportive, or constant drama and empty your cup. I will elaborate more on the meaning tomorrow, but for today, I want you to make that list. When you make the list if you find yourself mulling over someone for too long, that is a strong indication that they might belong in the “empty your cup” side. (Just make the list and don’t think too much).
This list can be made up of anyone you are in relationship with. It can be family, friends, co-workers, people you date, people you are interested in, or anyone else that takes up at least a portion of your week on a regular basis. It can’t be your barista at Starbucks just because you see him or her each morning! This should be people of influence or condition in your life.
Tomorrow’s article will elaborate on the meaning of your list and what to do with it now.