Something I’ve noticed in recent years, especially among millennials is that they seem to have lost the ability to clearly and directly communicate with people, especially new people. We are surrounded with the technological means to communicate with our existing relations such as our family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances via texting, emails, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, etc. and we don’t really talk anymore. I’ve noticed that a lot of people who are 15-30 years old have difficulty in communicating with people because they have become somewhat desensitized to direct human interaction due to the pervasiveness of technological means of communication. Don’t mistake for being anti-technology or anything like that. I appreciate technology and all it has done for economic growth and the greatly increased standard of living in America and all over the world. But it is my feeling that we need to get back to our roots of communicating with our fellow man directly through our speech. For example: I went to a conference recently and I observed that the only people in the conference that were rather shy, reserved, and unwilling to interact with new people were in the younger age category versus the older folks who were actively mingling with different people and getting to know new people. I went over and spoke to the people in my age category and they were speaking very reservedly and it was difficult to hear what they were saying. After I persisted a bit more and hit something these people were interested in, I was able to have a good conversation with them. It turns out they were very into 90’s hip-hop music and I know quite a bit about this subject because I was a huge fan back in high school. I probably know too much useless information about Hip hop but at least it helped me make some headway with this group. This isn’t an isolated incident, I’ve been noticing this type of behavior in people almost everywhere I go. People are always on their phones and don’t really make the effort to meet new people which is essential to developing new relationships, improving communication and interpersonal skills, and keeping yourself from becoming asocial and going insane.
My view on why this happens:
In my view it is relatively easy to make friends and develop relationships with people when you are in school or college because of the access to a very large number of people in the same age category and with some similar interests and therefore people don’t really make an effort to make new friends or strengthen those existing relationships after they graduate and/or move on. Making friends in a new city, workplace, or whatever your situation may be can be difficult and people are afraid of being rejected for who they are and simply don’t make an effort. Making friends and developing relationships in high school and college seems effortless but it seems to be a bit more difficult in the real world.
What is the solution?
Work to develop your skills. What I mean to say is, work on your communication and interpersonal skills. Learn how to interact and communicate with people so you can develop strong friendships and get people interested in you. This may not be exactly intuitive or automatic because sometimes we don’t really look at communication or interpersonal skills as skills in the conventional sense. We consider them “soft skills” or simply skills that are natural to us or that we will naturally develop. This is not true, just like any other skills such as boxing, Microsoft Excel, or anything else we have to develop it over time. I recommend starting off by reading How to Win Friends and Influence People (Dale Carnegie), it is one of the most terrific books I have read in my life and I’m still working on developing my skills and I’ve experimented by applying these skills in real life and they have worked wonders with developing new relationships and strengthening old ones. This book can help you to strengthen your skills and evolve into a person who has the ability to effectively develop and strengthen relationships.
Why is this important?
Communication and interpersonal skills are important because we are people. And as people we have to deal with other people for the rest of our lives. Doesn’t it make sense to become adroit in dealing with other people? Some of the great figures of history such as Abraham Lincoln, Charles M. Schwab, Lee Iacocca, Ronald Reagan, Warren Buffett, Benjamin Franklin, Sam Walton, Henry Ford, Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King Jr., Dwight D. Eisenhower, and George Patton were skilled communicators first and foremost and their ability to deal with and lead people changed the course of the world for the better.
This is Saint Reagan signing off