Friday, May 9, 2008

Don’t be Socially Programmed

by Luke McIlwee, intern

Have you ever been standing in an elevator with a stranger and had that awkward feeling as the two of you stood there with nothing to fill the silence but a faint humming of elevator music in the background? A study was done recently at a major university on the pattern in which people fill an elevator in increasing order. Basically the study found that people will almost always fill adjacent corners of the elevator in order to stand as far away from the other people in the elevator as possible. Why is this? The nervous anxious feeling that people get is due to the social programming that controls the way everyone feels in different situations and interactions with people.

This social programming commonly makes harmless every day activities, such as riding an elevator or standing in line at a restaurant seem kind of awkward to some people, and this is actually very socially unintelligent. Instead of standing in silence feeling weird, it is so much more fun to start a conversation. Almost everyone will be happy you took the initiative to break the awkward silence, and conversation doesn’t have to consist of anything more than light banter. Chances are you will not only make their day more enjoyable but yours as well. The more you share your life with other people, regardless of whether you know them or not, the happier you will be.

This mindset can also be used when purchasing groceries at the supermarket or even at the fast food drive through. Instead of simply handling the cashier your money and ignoring them as if they weren’t a person, separate yourself from the hundreds of other socially unintelligent people who pass through there every day and start a light conversation. You will make their job a lot more enjoyable and in return they will probably give you better and faster service. By breaking out of the social programming that governs a day to day boring routine you can begin to create a new lifestyle that is filled with bringing people into your positive reality.

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