When you look at someone, the first thing you see is their face. The face is the window to a world of thought, conversation, or the building of a relationship. Yet contrary to the purpose of a face, we often turn ours away from others. As we’ve aged, technology has grown more advanced. Instead of politely acknowledging one’s existence in passing, or saying hello to a stranger, we’re stuck on the elevator with our faces stuck in a screen.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a huge culprit of this. I find it extremely difficult to push myself out of my comfort zone and talk or just simply accept silence in human interaction. If there is a pause, I pick up my phone. If I feel uncomfortable, I pick up my phone. One day I was walking from a class to my job across campus and decided as I went through the main building, Baker Center, and up the escalators that I wouldn’t look at my phone. To make this even more challenging, I looked to my left just a few feet to look at the faces of people going the other direction, just to see how many would look back or make eye contact with me. Then I attempted to keep count as best I could. I passed over 50 people, maybe even 75, but less than 10 people met my gaze in the few seconds that we passed.
This social experiment was generally just for fun. I didn’t actually do a serious number count, write down, or seriously analyze my experience. I simply did it to see how much random interaction people actually took part in. Keep in mind, as weird as all of this sounds, interaction is part of what makes us human. We need to set down the screen, spend less time on social media, turn off the tv and the music and interact with people.
Like I said before, I’m not just “preaching to the choir.” Many people don’t realize they are lacking interaction. I’m also not saying to talk to every person you see. I am simply hoping to encourage you just to look up and look out. A smile could change the outlook of someone’s day. Let’s stop camouflaging behind our screens and with our headphones. Be human, be real and face reality with your beautiful face.