Friday, March 27, 2009

A Friend's Approval

For people that have made the journey to college, especially those who made it not knowing many people, leaving those friends and loved ones form home behind is very dificult. Those people played a very large part in growing up and in your own personal development of your ideals and beliefs. Leaving these connections behind is not an option.

When meeting knew people, college friends, and developing relationships witht them, it is hard for many people to feel as close to their friends back home. This can be a very frustrating feeling, and one that is not easily dissmissed. It is definitely easier to get closer to the people that you are in contact with everyday. This is why I believe many people are so eager to have friends from home and friends from school meet and connect.

Once this connection is made, friends from home can give feedback on friends from school and this makes people much more content in the college friends that they hang out with. Also in forming these meetings I believe that it makes talking to each group much easier. The listening party can feel as if they know the friends being spoken about. People are much more reseptive to a story if they feel as if they actually know all the people involved.

Bringing friends back from school home to meet family is also a very big step. By bringing friends home, you are bringing them into the intimate parts of your life. They are now a part of all you know from childhood to present. I believe this forms yet a stronger bond with friends from school. They now know those people that were such a big part of your past. This meeting allows your friends to see where you pick up some of your behaviors and quirks. It helps them to understand you better, which in turn leads to a stronger relationship.

These introductions between new friends at school and family and friends from home are big steps in the development of lasting friendships. Real friends are those that you introduce into every aspect of your life; and not only introduce, but also incorporate. By doing this both parties are more comfortable in talking about other friends and aspects about life that may be more persoal. Why? Because you are now involved in those aspects.

Elevator Music

You have heard a song referenced before as elevator music. It's usually some slow ballad that most likely doesn't have any words and is very instrumental. I always wondered why the management of such a hotel or building of any sort would pick such boring music to entertain their guests for the short ride to their destination. I think I may have figured it out.

Elevators are small confined spaces that, for the not so rich, are pubic. When you are waiting for an elevator you never now what/who will be waiting for you when those doors open. Sometimes it's empty,and sometimes you can barely fit yourself and whatever it is you are carrying. No matter the capacity, however, there seems to be a sort of elevator etiquette.

Now I don't believe anyone was ever taught how to act in an elevator, but for some reason everyone knows. When an elevator is empty it is business as usual, but when it comes time to share the traveling box a different atmosphere is acquired. The change is instantaneous and is never thought about by the parties involved.

When an elevator is shared it becomes almost silent. A group of friends can be walking down the hallway mid conversation or laughing and carrying on, but once they enter an occupied elevator all conversation takes a hiatus. The friends look at each other and smile, and the other people in the elevator do the same. Once the doors open and a group leaves, and conversations are restarted.

This awkwardness in the elevator is something that is not very well understood, but it is fairly consistent throughout the world of elevators. I believe the elevator music gives a break in the silence and a feeling that is much less awkward. It allows there to be a sort of excuse for the breaks in conversation, because everyone "wants" to listen to "Elevator Music".

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Social networks have been popular for many years now. With the beginnings of xanga, myspace, and eventually facebook social networks have become a common way to communicate through pictures and messages over the Internet. People have the ability to comment on these pictures and feel as though they are learning more about the person and gaining some insight into their life. The kicker is that you never actually have to talk to the people that you interact with on these sites. Some "friends" on these sites have never actually met. All they know is what is portrayed on the other's personal web page. Scary!

Facebook is one of the largest social networks. It provides services such as an AIM style chat, picture portfolios, videos, e-mail type messages, and wall comments. There are also many different applications that are available in order to enhance your profile. One feature that Facebook is known for is its news feed which is how it acquired the nickname Stalkerbook.

Facebook's "news feed" is the home page of every persons account. This section allows you to see information that your Facebook friends are posting and sharing with each other. This takes a lot of the leg work out of stalking. With relationship changes and new pictures flashing up onto your screen you can't help but take an interest. This information is often a catalyst in visiting an individuals' site and searching through their posted information.

I know that the very day that my new roommate information came in the mail, I got on Facebook and searched for him. I found him very quickly, friend requested him, and in a matter of hours he accepted. Once this occurred the stalking began. I wanted to learn everything I could about my new roommate. I looked through his pictures, his likes and dislikes, and even through some of his bumper stickers in order to get a sense of who he was and what he was about. I concluded that he was a weirdo.

Eventually we talked on Facebook and got to know each other that way. Some of my qualms about this new roommate were relieved, and we began to form a friendship. The first day that we met, I already felt that I knew him, and it was not an awkward situation.

I used Facebook to get to know somebody before actually meeting them. However, this is not a fool proof method. I misjudged my roommate and began to associate him with all sorts of stereotypes and other labels. When I got to know him in person some of these were proved to be false.

Many people, including myself, use Facebook as a first reference in social situations. It is used to find more information about a person's personal life. So be warned as to what you put on your Facebook page. Stalkerbook is a resource for social connections and interactions, but it is also a cyber first impression and in today's world that can make or break you.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Don't Drink the Pain Away

The weekend is used as a time for relaxation and fun. A time to get away from the stresses of the week; a time where school and work should not have to take priority. Some people use this escape by going to see a movie or by going bowling, while others like to let loose and head to a party (remember the different types) and hang out with their friends. Some people's idea of relaxation involves alcohol. Now I'm not here to judge that or say whether it is right or wrong; however, I do believe that there is a right and wrong way to go about drinking.

As mentioned in a previous blog, many people use alcohol as an excuse. Other people use it as an escape. I call this drinking with one's emotions. Some people like to use alcohol to celebrate or to cover up the pain of a bad break up or any negative life event for that matter. This is a HUGE mistake. Alcohol is not a mask.

When a person drinks in order to accomplish something (relieve pain, become happier...) alcohol tends to heighten the feelings that were being felt before drinking. This is what leads to fights, words said that were never meant to be heard, and actions that are later regretted. Let's use drinking to cover a break up as an example. There are two paths that the alcohol will lead the individual down:

The first is a more honest state when drunk. The person will be more apt to call their ex and beg to get back together, or they may tell them off. Its a mix of emotions that leads a drunk individual to feel as though they have made progress when in the morning they will realize that there were consequences for those words.

The second path is a "free" state. The drunk person will feel as though the only way to get over their ex is by having a great time and by showing him/her that they can have fun without the other's company. This leads the upset individual to do one or more of the following: get blackout drunk, get sick, be a social butterfly: being either creepy or smooth )creepy leads to fights; smooth leads to intimate activities), and having the confidence to venture outside of the party atmosphere (public places have cops...). All of these actions have consequences that must be dealt with if not at that time in the morning.

None of these actions nor consequences are what were desired in the beginning. The purpose of the person's drinking was to get rid of a specific emotion. Whether the emotion began to go away or not doesn't matter. If it did the person drinks more in order to keep up the effect. If it did not, the person drinks more in order to get it to. Both of these paths lead to consequences that will lead to regret. Drinking with one's emotions never turns out the way it was meant to. It doesn't work. If you are going to drink there cannot be a hidden agenda. And usually if this is a true a person will drink less and come out in the end with a positive experience.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Texting Times

Communication is a huge part of the social experience. With advances in technology such as cell phones, text messaging, and the Internet people today are in constant immediate contact with one another. Some people literally freak out when they leave their phone on their desk when they leave the room. They don't know how they will survive without it. Even if it doesn't ring or vibrate or sing or whatever, people find a sort of security and comfort in having their cell phone with them. Just the thought that someone could get a hold of us is a comforting factor and one that we don't try to be without.

Text messaging is huge in today's society. The technology that was originally created for the hearing impaired has become common place amongst young people, and now as well with their parents. Text messaging is a convenient and quick way to send a memo or piece of information that does not warrant a full phone call. Now I know that's no longer how it is used. People now have full conversations that last entire days through text messaging. The day of the phone call seems to be disappearing.

Now how can this be considered a social situation? Well here's the deal. Text messaging is very vague and requires interpretation. When we have a conversation face to face we can use body language and tone of voice to interpret the meaning of what another is saying. In order to express meaning we spell the way a word would sound. We also ask quite a few more questions in order to clarify what the other is saying. Let's begin the analysis.

The vagueness of texting can be used to great advantages in finding out information, social information. If you are an avid texter you have found yourself thinking about how to phrase something. Most times its because there is a hidden meaning it what you are saying. You are trying to find something out without having to directly ask it. This is much easier with texting than person to person because body language is not a factor. The other person has a difficult time noticing that there is a hidden agenda and will be more apt to say what they are thinking.

Lying is also a lot easier through text message. Don't act like you don't lie, whether its to protect the secret of a birthday party or to protect a friend it doesn't matter. Without eye contact and other body orientated clues it is very difficult to catch another person in a lie. People have to take texting at face value because there is a certain kind of deniability by the sender if they are questioned about the topic.

For these reasons I believe that many people are much more confident through texting or other written media forms. They do not feel the pressures and judgements of those around them. They can say what they feel, and if the other person doesn't like it the consequences do not have to be dealt with at that moment. The situation can be averted by just ignoring the text. Now this can cause many other problems, but it does show how much person to person conflict and interaction can be intimidating for many people. Expressionless media is a sort of escape for many people, while at the same time allowing them to feel connected to friends and others.