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In a world of cellphones and social media, the structure of face-to-face interaction has drastically changed from what it looked like in the past. Before the technological age in which we live, social interaction was vastly different. There were no text tones going off in the middle of conversations or class nor direct messaging between two people. 

It was essential that people knew how to talk to each other and talk to each other well. It was before you could order food without having to worry about talking to another person or possibly messing up an order you said. A few clicks and typed words can get you the same result as physically driving or walking to a restaurant and placing an order or even ordering over the phone. 

This shift in communication styles has caused a change in the comfort level of individuals who operate within our society, and most significantly, within my generation. An aspect of this communication was the eye contact involved in social interactions and even within service interactions.

Eye contact is the number one way for an individual to let the person they are interacting with that they are interested in what they are saying. No amount of likes, reactions, or animojis can directly compare to actually looking the person who you are talking to in the eye. 

In the era in which we live, so many people have a hard time with eye contact simply due to the fact that we have less experience with both in and in-person interaction with each other than generations before. In fact, eye contact can be a bit daunting. It’s one of those things which no one ever really talks about explicitly. 

Eye contact is something like the exact amount of laundry soap to put into a load of laundry or how many cups of coffee a day is a danger to your health (I still haven’t quite pinpointed the answer for that one) which we never spell out to generations entering adulthood. In our technological world, there are many things which are made easier and many things which are made harder. Although we are more connected with each other, we are less able and less comfortable in connecting with each other in the way that the generations which came before us were. 

    As my generation gets older and truly comes into its own, it will be interesting to see where exactly our lack of eye contact takes us. Perhaps it is for the better that we are not expected to know the perfect ratio of eye contact to non-eye contact in a conversation like the generations before us did. 

One thing is for certain though — eye contact is something which is important to consider in conversations as well as in everyday life in order to ensure that what you want to communicate is effectively done so.

 

Eva Steepe

C Mich '22

Eva Steepe is a sophomore at Central Michigan University. She is majoring in English Literature with minors in French and Leadership. She loves to learn about anything and everything and is passionate about someday seeing the world.
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