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willbrawn's avatar

Are people (general society) scared of communicating with people in the real world?

Asked by willbrawn (6609points) June 26th, 2008 from iPhone

with the introduction of the Internet people can communicate all they want without actually speaking to anyone. What I have noticed is…... Examples: that when walking down the street when you get close to somone they put there head down and avoid eye contact. People avoid other people. And another is when at the store I see people all the time that will just stand there until someone asks do you need help? Are these people scared? Are we losing communication skills?

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14 Answers

waterskier2007's avatar

im not sure about actually losing communications skills, but i know i will talk about certain things with people online that i would not normally bring up in person. its kind of like how when you are drunk you will say things u wouldnt normally say. same thing with me and being online. i do think that the internet is leading to some anti-social behavior. then again our school banned ipods/mp3 players in the hall because they thought that kids were less social when they had earphones in. super lame

Magnus's avatar

I don’t think you can blame this on the internet, but yeah, I feel like I tend to talk to random people more than others..

Les's avatar

@willbrawn: Where are you from? City? Suburbs? Country? I have noticed (since moving to the middle of nowhere, Wyoming, from Chicago) that I have to have more contact with other people. A man just this morning was walking to his car and said hello to me. I’ve never seen him before. I never have had some random person say hi to me in Chicago. Maybe it just depends on where you are. Now, at work, no one talks to anyone else. They will send emails around the department in order to communicate. But, these are a bunch of old scientists and engineers, so I guess I’m not all that surprised. ;-)

willbrawn's avatar

@les I live in Denver. Its a city

Les's avatar

@will: Haha, I am familiar with Denver. I live just north of you, in Laramie.

marinelife's avatar

I do not think the two things that you describe are cause and effect. There are other factors involved in urban alienation and fear of strangers.

As to the web, I don’t think so. It may allow for freer conversation, but except for a few poor addicts with poor or undeveloped social skills, it will never replace the fun of shared laughter, looking into someone’s eyes, a hug, or shared experiences with friends like games, sports, outdoor adventures, and sharing a meal.

Trustinglife's avatar

I like this question. In my ideal world, the city would be more like the country, like in Les’ description of people talking freely to each other. I like to connect with people I don’t know in public, but I often feel restrained by the culture and my sense of how “weird” it would seem to the stranger. I wish communication were easier and more open.

marinelife's avatar

@Trustinglife Get a dog and walk it or go to an off-leash park. It worked for me in meeting good people and even in having conversations with strangers when I first moved to Florida. Dog people are good people, and the dogs themselves break down stranger barriers.

(Possibly best to avoid a fighting breed and a large studded collar!) :)

susanc's avatar

When I stopped being a young woman and became an old one, I stopped being
scared to look right at people, and I find that when I do so, they all break into
huge smiles. Maybe we’re hungry for this. I only look at people because I’m
insanely curious; I’m not being friendly or anything when I look at them; but
they light up. Maybe they think I’m someone I know or I wouldn’t be doing that.
Beats me. Anyway. Just saying.

wildflower's avatar

I think people may be getting lazy about connecting with others. A bit like; why strike up a conversation with the people at the next table at the pub when I can add a few new contacts to my facebook when I get home?
I think that’s quite sad, but thankfully not too widespread yet – perhaps there is still hope.
On the other hand, for myself, I spend min. 8 hours a day surrounded by several hundreds people and I act as first point of contact for quite a few of them, so I often look forward to the quiet, somewhat anonymous stimulation of the Internet at the end of the day. As for walking down the street, if I look down it’s to look at people’s shoes. I have an inherent curiosity about people and always want to learn about them.

tinyfaery's avatar

To be absolutely honest, I really avoid making conversation with random people I do not know. I did not used to be this way, but as I have gotten older I find I have become very hard on people. If people I am just meeting say something I find questionable, usually things in regard to race, religion, sexuality, poltics, I tend to write them off immediately. I’m not saying this is ok, but I do. But, on the internet, in a place such as this, I get to, in a way, browse people.

So say someone’s comments have been in line with my way of thinking, and all of a sudden something comes up that I find incongruent with past comments, I don’t automatically dismiss these people. Instead, I explore a bit deeper. For an introvert like me, the net has actually become a space where I can open up, and learn to be more receptive.

Bri_L's avatar

I honestly doubt that some people would speak the way they do on line to the same people in person. I have seen some of the rudest speak ever on line, some of it right here on Fluther. I can’t imagine people speaking that way in their real lives at work or in public.

tinyfaery's avatar

@bri… I don’t have to imagine. I hear rude comments from people all the time. Or maybe I just know really rude people.

Bri_L's avatar

tinyfaery – good point. it does happen way to much.

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