Body language is a very interesting part of human interaction, and in my opinion it is the most important. Human Communication can be split into verbal and nonverbal interactions, and body language can often tell much more than verbal communication. During a conversation there are cues that allow the participants to understand how to properly proceed, often times these cues are nonverbal, and it is up to the people in the conversation to decipher the meanings of the body language. Many people believe that conversations are mostly verbal, but it is important to look at body language as it often tells more of a story than spoken words. The reason I like to look closely at body language is because the body can not easily lie, it is easy for someone to forgo telling the truth, but in order to fake body language a person must train their body to do the opposite of how they actually feel. It is not easy to understand body language, and body language alone can not tell the full story of an individual’s motives, but when you are able to connect verbal and nonverbal cues you can get a wider picture of the actual reason for each interaction. Humans are quite interesting, we are possibly the only creatures that are able to purposely hide the motives of our communications, while still giving ourselves away with actions. The best way to effectively interact with others is to understand that we don’t speak with words alone, body language is an important aspect of communication that needs to be taken into consideration whenever responding to or starting any conversation.
It is generally known that only ten percent of an iceberg’s total mass is viewable over water, and while icebergs can sometimes seem large at the surface, they still hold much more under water. The same thing can be said about people, most times when you meet someone new, you won’t be able to know much about them until you dig deeper, but unfortunately, some people just aren’t that deep. This week I decided to try and contact an individual that I have known for some time, but we’ve never actually had a relationship. While I did get a better picture of who they are, I don’t exactly feel as though they were far off from who I thought they were. I had some misconceptions about this individual that were debunked by conversation, and others that were reinforced. The conversation basically ended with me having a better understanding of who this individual was, but also with me having no further desire to actually know more. While I did enjoy the conversation, I realized that there is little possibility for a lasting connection based on our incompatibilities. From this interaction I learned just how similar an iceberg and a person can be, we sometimes judge people before getting to know them, and while that is always the wrong way to approach, there may not always be more to see under the surface when it comes to people you get to know.
There are a ridiculous amount of social media applications and platforms available today. I remember the days when all I had to worry about on the Internet was making sure I poked my friend back on Facebook, but now I am bothered by constant notifications and having to accepting new followers on Instagram and other networks. I love using social media to check up on my favorite businesses and read up on sporting news updates, but I have to say the advent of social media has made the world much less social. I know that this is old news, and that everybody has now become accustomed to the idea of seeing the faces of others others buried in their phones and tablets, but I actually have fond memories of a time before all of this existed. As a child I was somewhat shy and introverted, but I grew into a fairly outgoing adult with a mastery of the art of communication, only to find that I now live in a world where communication has changed. Social media conversation is very different from face to face conversation, because subtleties such as sarcasm and body language are completely non existent over the web. Social media has basically changed how communication is done, and in the process created a generation of socially awkward young adults. I have had situations in which I have run into social media friends in real life and they treated me like a stranger, the odd part is that I have known these individuals before social media and held extended online conversations with them. I honestly can’t say what the future holds for social media or even real life social interaction, but I do know that people need to get back to some sort of interpersonal interaction or the future will be a very strange place.
Every once in a while I like to think about how I met the people I consider friends and acquaintances. William Butler Yeats, a famous Irish poet, once wrote, “There are no strangers here, only friends you haven’t yet met,” I love that quote because it perfectly represents any relationship before an acquaintance is made. I met a few interesting people this weekend, and as I sit and reminisce about the fun times I shared with my new friends, I am brought to the memory of first running into these “strangers.” I have blogged before about first impressions and their importance, but during everyday outings little attention is generally given to first impressions. Most people notice small things about others wherever they go, but overall I don’t believe people are always putting their best foot forward at every landing. A routine trip to the supermarket doesn’t often lead to meeting people but a simple conversation in any setting can trump a first impression. The most important step in meeting anyone is speaking to or interacting with the person, there doesn’t even need to be a formal introduction since, I honestly think that is a waste of time, but anything can turn into a lifelong relationship. It is too often an occurrence that people allow their own biases and preconceived notions to have control over their interactions with others, and many friendships never begin because of these cases. The best way to meet people and make friends is to converse, you may not become friends with everyone, but you will surely never miss out on some great conversations.