I am deeply unaware of how my body language comes off to other people. I am often told that I appear unapproachable, nervous, or bored. Crossed arms, fingers drumming on the countertop, a yawn, or a drink held directly in front of you all indicate negative feelings and send off a “don’t you dare come near me” vibe to all of the other people in the room.
I have recently been dating this guy who continually puts me in my place when body language is concerned. He will deliberately watch me intently every time we hang out and he has already picked up on some of my nervous tics that even I am oblivious to. “Oh, you’re scratching your neck. Am I making you nervous?” he’ll jokingly ask, “Oh, you’re biting your bottom lip again. And there you go with the leg tapping…”
Has our culture become so devoid of facial interaction that we do not know how to pick up on the innate, physical cues anymore? And if so, what kind of nonverbal messages are we giving without even knowing it?
A recent study suggests that Gen Y have not appropriately developed the “silent fluency” that comes with face-to-face social interaction. Thanks to the 2,272 texts we send out each month, Facebook, Twitter, and all of the other social networking sites, we have forgotten how to interact with other humans at the most primal of levels. We know what “OMG” and “FML” and “LOL” mean, but we cannot read an eye-roll or skewed lips correctly.
And what does this mean for future generations? Will humans lose all sense of nonverbal communication because of technology or will we simply invent new ways of bodily communication to suit the times?