In this fast changing world many social skills are lacking simply because in earlier generations there was no need for them. So now we need to look at two common challenges and possibly find acceptable solutions for the way we face them.
Take mobile phones for one example. These are a relatively new invention that has greatly influenced the way we run our lives. We walk the streets talking on our phones or at the very least wear an ear piece so that we can answer it as soon as it rings. We love the ease of solving problems for work keep in touch with our friends and relatives.
However this wonderful social tool carries with it certain challenges. Answering the phone in public areas can create situations never experienced before. If we use public transport for example making or answering a call becomes an intrusion into the privacy of others. A loud phone conversation nearby makes reading difficult for others who are drawn into a conversation in which they have no interest and no business hearing anyway. Even private conversations are transported out quite loudly on public trains. If the transport vehicle is crowded it is impossible to move but the call must be made at a set time or must be answered immediately. Perhaps in these situations we may consider others by acknowledging them if they look up. A simple statement such as "I'm unfortunately sorry I need to make / take this call now. It may be the best you can do but at least it lets your fellow travelers in your immediate area know that you accept that they also have rights.
Going shopping can also bring about challenges. Waiting in a queue at a retail store with time on our hands we can decide to access Facebook for example or catch up with a friend we have been meaning to call. It is a queue however and again others are standing around. What about your children who are standing with you? What underlying message are you sending them as you hush them up so that you can talk to your friends? Perhaps they may feel that they are less important than others. That's certainly not a message you would want them to feel. Perhaps it might be wisest to wait for another more suitable time. Hey, you might even start up a conversation with another person in the queue. It could then add substance to both your days.
Shop assistants also feel frustrated when someone reaches the counter, is halfway through an order and the phone rings. That is bad enough but when the customer answers the phone at this point it is not only inconvenient but also bad manners. Other customers are also inconvenienced while the whole store waits for one person to end a conversation. If it is urgent it might be best to acknowledge the assistant by saying "This is an urgent call, do you mind if I take it and arrange to call them back? I am so sorry for this inconvenience." Then do exactly that. If this is not possible it could be best to cancel what you are doing, move away and take your call. You can always come back later. Better yet turn off the phone in these situations. How often would it be so urgent that waiting a few minutes will make a difference unless of course you are a doctor?
We are trailblazing in this day and age. Technology is progressing at lightning speed and we need to accept the good while also acknowledging and guarding against the bad. In a further article we will also discuss other social issues resulting from new technology.