Blog 102 – Why Won’t Millennials Engage In Conversation?

Am I the only one who feels awkward sitting next to another young person not knowing how to strike up a conversation? Like, am I the only who feels devalued when a person sits next to me with their cell phone covering their face?

In comparison to the last generation who would address adults as “ma’am” and “sir” and would be more than willing to help out in their community when somebody needed help or voluntarily. When an aunt needed help gardening or the local dairy owner needed help putting up their “have you seen our cat” signs through the neighbourhood. The days my parents told me about when they could sit in the pub and know everyone and greet every newcomer or could easily befriend people they didn’t know as they walked down the street or on their first days at school.

It’s like we’ve become more bitter and less trusting in everything we do. As if to suggest that everyone is out there to steal each other’s thunder. The snobby looking, white shoe wearing, expressionless Facebook dwellers that gossip about petty things and see nothing outside of the 10-kilometre circle that they live and exist in.

Do we just wake up pissed off, head to school/work then moan about life all day, come home grumpy, watch funny Facebook memes then hit the pillow again? Surely there are opportunities within that where we can afford to have moments of spontaneity?

Surely there are times when we can think about more than just ourselves…

We sit and complain about all of the horrible things going on in this world yet we can hardly give somebody the benefit of the doubt to ask how their day is going. Can we not just simply put our cell phone away for a minute and be present?

The demographic of this chat is people born after 1985, the millennial generation. The one’s who group up in packs, wear the trendiest clothes, buy the latest smartphones, exist in tomorrow but are completely vacant for today.

The ones who “follow their heart” and the ones that want “purposeful lives.” They go out to parties and sleep in until 10:30 am. The people who don’t really know what they want to do in life or are binarily opposite and think they know everything about everything. The ones who lack identity beyond the brands that they wear, the ones who value music that sounds the same as The Chainsmokers or Justin Beiber.

The Millennial’s that sit looking dopey with their cell phones stitched to their faces. They stare and judge people passing by but hide in a digital shell when the person they’re sitting next to tries to strike up a conversation. The ones who lack trust or are very interested in finding out more about somebody else.

But let’s talk about Trust.

What is it? How can I buy it? Do they sell it on Trade-Me? It’s like we set the threshold for earning our own trust before meeting new people so high as to make it impossible for people to work their way up there. We set it high for the sake of setting it high because we’re too afraid to get hurt. We become known to anxiousness because we value social security higher than we value vulnerability.

Maybe it’s because my generation forgets that with every moment of randomness comes the opportunity to create something new. Something awesome, something that can’t be bought from a shop or on Ali Express. A cool interaction that cannot be replicated through a self-checkout at the supermarket or from an algorithm on Facebook.

Why the heck are we so afraid to get hurt? I don’t mean run over by a bus or falling into a sink hole but instead being afraid that someone might figure us out, might see our true colours. For who we really are. Maybe that’s a secondary definition of what it means to trust somebody. Trusting as an act of giving somebody power to know us and subsequently exercise that power over us.

Personally, I’ve come to blows with people who know me. Often because I’m more afraid of how they might use the things they know about me to leverage other things when it suits them. But that stuff usually becomes banter pretty quickly because everyone needs to learn to laugh at themselves from time to time.

Having no trust in other people because we’re afraid to get hurt can’t be the only reason we don’t trust other people. I think it might be because we value ourselves too much to the point where we can’t talk friendly over a coffee to a stranger.

We live in an economic environment where inflation increases faster than the living wage, Where things cost more and we earn less. It makes our money worth less every day.

We live in an environment where teen suicide exists and is socially unspoken and depression is rife. We are a country full of people but we suck at helping uplift others we don’t know.

We live in a nation with high levels of domestic abuse and the same number of children taken away from their families as the United States of America per capita yet we have 1% of that countries populous.

Maybe millennials have been impacted by this consumer/creator cycle where they want to stand out and think the only way they can do that is to sell themselves off as being a brand? Maybe people enjoy being hard to decipher because they think it makes them interesting and that somebody might notice that and make more of an effort to get to know them.

What a load of shit. 

It doesn’t cost to be nice to somebody you don’t know. You’re not going to be figured out after a friendly conversation at the sushi bar. It’s not like somebody you don’t know is going to forget you because meeting somebody new and learning about their world is one of the most soul replenishing things you can do.

The cost of being nice is on sale now. 

So maybe the person you meet is a bit of a dick. You might not be agreeable with everything that spouts out their mouth but surely it’s worth putting yourself out there to meet somebody new. Build a council of mates bigger than the one you currently have.

What is there to lose?

We teenagers are so addicted to social media and love the dopamine kick we get out of chatting with like minded people we’ve filtered out on Facebook and Instagram but when it comes to being vulnerable with our lunch…

You’re not going to lose the likes on your profile picture by talking to somebody you don’t know, you’re not going to suddenly be shunned by your peers for talking to a stranger at the buffet. The true price of being nice is free, and I’d buy that. So maybe you should say hello to somebody random next time you’re alone or with mates out getting coffee… We’ll talk about mob-mentality tomorrow.

Thanks for checking in.

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