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The Syndicated Cynic: How was your weekend?

Did I miss the class on being “socially adept?”

I don’t really know many people here at ORU, and I’m honestly fine with that.

Sure, I talk to a ridiculous amount of people almost every day as I wander about campus.

But the truth is that I don’t really know any of the people I talk to. I can’t even tell you many of their names.

Here at ORU, there’s a certain expectation for people to be friendly.

I’m not sure if it relates to our affiliation with religion or if it’s a product of our proximity to the South, a place riddled with friendliness, but I feel like there is an absence of real substance in most of this campus’ conversation.

For instance, at the end of the day, I know a handful of people are doing well enough to tell me so, and were headed to some class around 12:50, but the connection of true conversation just doesn’t exist.

It may be my fault. I’m honestly not sure. But then again, I certainly hear mindless rabble among students here all the time, and the implications of this lack of connection in our culture are severely harmful.

If we are simply talking to each other to promote a friendly environment, or to set a certain standard of goodness, then what’s the point?

I think it is fairly self-serving to advertise ourselves as friendly or easy to talk to in order to promote ourselves. In reality, nothing is ever really said and no one is ever really connected.

Yes, of course I can now talk to literally anyone about nothing, but what’s after that?

What happens when I have real problems and the nice folks I chat with around campus don’t really grasp what I’m going through because of our poor communication habits?

Where’s the class on being socially adept that I missed?

I think it seems normal to nearly everyone here; however, when outsiders are introduced to the environment, the experience may be unpleasant.

For example, I have a few off-campus friends that frequent our fair university, and they are seriously bothered by some of the ways people interact here.

They say we have no substance; that we are talking to hear the hinges of our jaw squeak. I don’t want to be like that.

Now, I’m not calling for an unhealthy portion of negativity at ORU, or for people to stop talking to one another. What I am asking is for those in the ORU environment to take a minute to really think about what they are saying to each other.

Try to actually converse with someone. Try to avoid the clichés that we utter day in and day out.

Better yet, try to speak because you care, and not because you feel obligated.

We aren’t called to cheapen the human experience with a friendly façade, but we are called to build real relationships with one another and to connect to the people around us.

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