My Adventures in Online Dating, Part 2: If You’re a Christian, Swipe Right

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Give me a little time and, take all my money, take all my money

You’ll come around and someday, I’ll be the one you love.

– “Broke,” Bear Attack

Hey!

According to most men on dating apps, that’s not how you should begin a conversation with them. But I think I can say hey to all y’all, instead of thinking of a witty pickup line. (I mean, what do they want other than ‘hey’? A deep question about systematic theology? Very confused.)

But I’ll get to “what men want” in another post. What do Christians want?

In other words – should Christians use dating apps?

Well, my obvious answer is probably “yes,” since I’m currently using one myself. BUT like most topics, different people have different opinions about it.

The Bible isn’t cut-and-dry about dating apps…obviously. We all know Hosea didn’t have an awful marriage because he accidentally swiped right. Ruth didn’t get Boaz’s attention with…well…~pics.~

And then there’s Song of Songs.

BUT ANYWAY

Dating is different now than it was in Biblical contexts. It’s more different than it ever has been before. Until the later part of the 19th Century, most women were still given away by their fathers and/or the patriarch of their family – sometimes to someone they’d never met. ~Love~ really didn’t come into play all that much. It was more mutuality or convenience that drove most courtships and marriages. (Not always…I mean, we’ve all read Jane Austen. I hope.)

What I’m trying to say is, the dating game has changed. But the name of the game is the same. (Lame.)

So has Christian dating. There was that whole courtship phase we all collectively went through in the 90s, until that was overruled by both Christians and non-Christians alike. Courtship is a bit stressful, with a little bit too much commitment far too soon. (It was so bad that the guy who wrote the book apologized.) And we have our ideal, “celebrity” Christian couples, like the Duggars or the Robertsons, who we then found out each have their own fair share of problems just like the rest of us.

So now what? Now what phase are we in? If we’re not being given away, or being courted, what are we doing?

Are we being swiped? 

Well, in a word, yes.

The game has changed, and I don’t think we need to sit idly by and let it change without us. Of course there’s dangers to online dating, but there’s dangers to live dating too. And I’m not even saying you have to limit yourself to an exclusively Christian dating website. Put yourself out there.

So that’s kind of my answer. Yes. Of course a Christian can date online. But, like all aspects of living in a fallen world…you have to be careful.

Actually, I would encourage Christians to date online. The great thing about dating online is you’re spreading your net further than if you simply mingled among your work, school, or church friends. (Because to be honest, sometimes the pickings are slim. Especially at church. Everyone’s already married. Or maybe you go to an old person church.)

So yeah, definitely set up an account on a site you deem appropriate and go on dates.

But here’s the “no-duh:” only if you actually want to. 

If your female relatives keep asking you why you’re still single, that’s not a good enough reason. If your guy friends are telling you about their amazing wives, that’s not a good enough reason. If you’re just plain lonely and want someone around, that’s not a good enough reason.

The church definitely puts undue pressure on single Christians to get married. (You can’t graduate from your 20-something small group into a couples group until you do.) So if you’re seeking a partner just because you feel like you have to (or your grandma keeps asking) don’t do it. That goes for both offline and online dating. Just don’t do it. Wait til you are ready.

And only you can know if you’re ready.

That took a much more serious tone than I meant it to. But the song remains the same: I invite my young, single Christian friends to check out the online dating scene. I’ve had more interesting conversations on these dates than I normally have. And I’ve met other Christians who have different opinions than me (gasp.) So even if you don’t find your soulmate, you’ll probably meet some pretty darn cool people that you wouldn’t have met otherwise.

One last thing before I let you go. When entering the dating scene, whether it’s for the first time or after your last-breakup, remember this (another no-duh clincher:) If you like someone, don’t change your convictions for them. This can come into play especially in online dating. You see a cute guy’s profile and see what he’s interested in, and you might be tempted to, well, change. Maybe he smokes marijuana, and you’re not comfortable with that. Maybe he doesn’t mind sex before marriage. Maybe he has vastly different political opinions – or even some opinions about the Bible that you disagree with. Even if he (or she) is a Christian, that does not give you a free pass to change who you are in order for them to like you “more.” Seriously. It’s super easy to do online. I’ve definitely done it a few times.

So, my Christian brothers and sisters, go on dates. Talk to people. Swipe left. Swipe right. Remember what you believe and why you believe it. If it doesn’t work out, it’s okay. God has something better in mind for you.

Now you kiddos go have fun.

a. w.

 

 

Life Update: Hiatus because I’m going to TRAVEL THE WORLD

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A badly lit picture of me surveying the Himalayas. Just kidding. That’s Colorado. I’m barely six feet off the ground in this picture.

It’s about that time, friends. Time for a weekly blog update. The last weekly update for awhile.

Why?

Because next week, I’m going to be a world traveler for 22 days.

By “world” traveler, I mean eastern Europe. (And Detroit, if you count where we’re flying out of.)

Since I’m going to be busy, I won’t have time for a weekly post. But I’m sure I’ll have lots to say when I get back. Here’s the countries I’ll be traveling to:

  • Austria
  • Germany
  • Slovakia
  • Hungary

(If you’ve ever been to any of these countries, leave a comment about what it’s like!)

This is my first time out of the country. Ever. And to be honest, I’m afraid. I’m excited, but I’m afraid. I want to know as much as possible before I go somewhere so I won’t be surprised, but…what if something surprises me? What if something bad happens? What if I can’t find the bathroom?! 

If you have traveling advice, I’d love to hear from you. I’m by no means a seasoned traveler. I’ve been to half a dozen US states, flown on a plane twice, and look at pictures of British Columbia in my spare time. Don’t have a lot of street cred in the traveling regard.

And yet I meet so many people who hunger for travel. Their passport is half full. They have trinkets and doohickeys from every corner of the world. Their Instagram is full of beautiful pictures of exotic places.

But you know what? I don’t really have that hunger.

I never really have.

I’ve always been a homebody. I like traveling, but my favorite part of traveling has always been coming home, returning to what I know and love. I’m kind of like a hobbit in that way. Bilbo Baggins didn’t want to leave his hole in the ground, but he did, and it was uncomfortable. But it was what he needed.

I’m a homebody. Maybe that will change after 22 days abroad. I don’t really know right now. I do know that things are less frightening once you get to the other side. So I guess I’ll make like a chicken and try to get there before deciding if I like traveling or not.

Fear has prevented me from doing a lot of things, but it’s not going to prevent me from doing this.

Anyway, I hope this post isn’t too rambly. It’s half blog post, half pep talk for myself. I just figured I’d give a life update to the 38 people who actually follow me and occasionally read this.

It’s not a goodbye – it’s just a see you later.

 

The Perfect Body and the Impossible Ideal

I probably haven’t been around long enough to say this with much authority, but America (or maybe the West in general) is more obsessed with dieting and exercise than it’s ever been. And not even for the purpose of health, but just to look like Marie Osmond or some other “success story.” Advertizers tout a product’s “slimming” benefits before it tells you what it does to your body (like how a no-carb diet causes your body to burn protein, which is no bueno.) People want a quick fix – “lose five pounds in ten days!” “You don’t even have to leave your couch!” Healthy? No. Appearance-changing? Yes. In my humble opinion, it’s an issue when society as a whole craves aesthetic over well-being.

“Well, duh, Audrey. You can talk about this subjectively because you’re skinny. You don’t have to worry about pinching yourself in the mirror every morning. No skinny person does. You’re healthy, because thin = healthy.”

I’m gonna stop you right there.

At my lowest, I was 100 pounds. That is not super healthy for a five-foot-five young adult. I’ve always been on the small side, but my weight dipped during my freshman year of college for a number of reasons, mainly because it was a side effect of medicine I was taking. I was also under a huge amount of (mostly self-imposed) stress and was so busy I’d often skip lunch and just eat a granola bar.

“For goodness’ sake, eat a cheeseburger!” is something that more than one person has told me (Haha. So original. Very funny.)

I have never been a health freak. I exercise and try to eat healthy between Hershey bars, but I’m not mega obsessed. But I’ve always been pretty conscious of my body and what it looks like, especially in comparison to other people’s. In my health class in high school, my teacher talked about the dangers of fad diets, especially on young, growing bodies. It made sense when I was that age, hearing it from an older, wiser adult – but it’s amazing how quickly we forget that knowledge when we see pencil thin celebrities – or even just see friends who are smaller than us – and start pinching and prodding ourselves in the mirror. Then we see a commercial for SlimFast or Atkins and we think “It worked for them, so why not for me?

I’ve done my share of poking and prodding in front of the mirror, believe me. I’m reminded almost every day by well-meaning friends that I’m “a stick,” but that doesn’t stop me from doing it. It’s amazing what imperfections we find when we do a thorough examination of ourselves in the mirror. Oh gross. My face looks so swollen. I look like I’m hiding two apples inside my cheeks. My butt is the size of Canada. I’m so freaking fat. (Even skinny people think these things.)

It’s a perception. An ugly one, but a perception nonetheless. Some of us would do anything to look like an Audrey Hepburn or Keira Knightley – cut carbs, do a “juice cleanse” (I still have no idea what that is or what it does), or literally starve ourselves. Just to look like what we percieve as a more “desirable” person.

But guess what? It’s never going to stop.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that skinny people have it awful. I’m really okay with being thin, and I know a lot of people are fairly comfortable and secure with their bodies. The problem is we’ve created an ideal – the ideal body that’s flashing on the cover of every tabloid. An ideal body that most people simply cannot attain.

I’m saying that even as a thin person whose weight has fluctuated fairly drastically in the last few years, that feeling doesn’t stop. When I was 100 pounds, I was still picking at myself in the mirror, sucking in my gut, turning my back to the mirror to see what the south side looked like. I’m back to a (reasonably) healthy weight, and I’m still doing it. Still pinching, pulling, tightening my belt, sucking in, flicking the “grandma flab” on my upper arms.

What I’m trying to say in 600 words is there’s no such thing as an ideal body. Because one person could tell you size double zero is ideal, while another could tell you size 16 is. A Victoria’s Secret angel will tell you something different than your own mother, or grandmother, or aunt. (Note: I’m not excluding guys from this conversation, but I’m not as familiar with your body struggles, for obvious reasons. Feel free to chime in at any time.)

I won’t say that the ambiguous shadow of “society” or the giant blob that is “the media” are feeding us this need for “ideal.” It does play a significant part, but it’s actually feeding something inside us that we already have: Need. A Need to finally feel loved, to finally feel accepted, to finally fit into a size 6, to finally walk into the office and hear your colleague say, “Hey, something’s different about you! Have you lost weight?”

That need can cause deep holes that get filled by superficial things. Fads, corsets, binge eating, excessive and dangerous amounts of exercise. But it’s something you can never fill with those things, whether you’re a runway model or a service clerk. There’s no such thing as Ideal, no fast fix to become that.

The only thing that can fill that hole of Need is acceptance, the realization that there is no Ideal to reach, because when you reach it, there will be another one around the corner. You’ll just continue starving yourself physically, mentally, emotionally until there’s nothing of you left. You’ve sacrificed yourself to the Impossible Ideal.

I don’t want to end this on a downer like that. I applaud those of who who fight with self-esteem every day, who feel marginalized or looked down on because of how you look. People are going to say things and do things that hurt because they’ve fallen victim to the Impossible Ideal. When you see those people or hear their berating comments, I hope you feel sorry for them and not for yourself. They’re not confident enough in their own image that they have to compare you to the Impossible. And that’s just sad.

Maybe, one step at a time, we can change the perception and erase that ideal. No fad, food, book, or barbell will be able to do that.

Only you can.

Missing Someone.

 

Sometimes people leave you halfway through the woods.

– Cinderella, Into the Woods

There have been many times in my life when I’ve missed someone. I’m sure that’s happened to you too – missing a person is not a peculiar thing. Maybe they’ve left your city, or just left your life. Or they’ve left this life, which is its own kind of missing someone.

Whatever it may be, they’re not with you anymore. But they’ve left something behind, and that something is usually (ironically) Emptiness. Because there’s a hole in your life now, a gap that used to be filled by moments, moments with that person. But now that the person’s gone, you gotta work on filling that gap.

I’m in a period of life right now where I’m missing someone. I forgot how much it hurts. The last time someone I loved moved away from me, I was in third grade. I remember laying in my mom’s bed crying after I found out my best friend was moving away. I didn’t think it was fair. Why would my best friend leave? How do people leave people they love?

I did the same thing a few months ago, except I was with a different loved one and we cried together. We sat there and hugged each other and cried for a long time. Because parting is hard. Missing someone is hard. I replay the last time I saw them again and again in my mind, wishing I could have held on to that moment just a little bit longer.

I didn’t think it was fair. How do people leave people they love?

And then those memories come, the whispers of the time you spent with that person. You associate things and places with them. I think of my friend every time I see a Pontiac Grand Prix – no joke. Sometimes those memories hit you like a truck. Other times, you wake up with those quiet remembrances in your head.

There’s a certain stretch of busy road that I associate with that loved one. It’s weird how those associations start, isn’t it? We drove through that corridor so many times, after going out to restaurants or watching scary movies, usually accompanied by blaring music. All of those times we drove it, I never thought it would end. I think about it every time I drive down that particular stretch of road. On a bad day, it’ll bring tears to my eyes. On a good day, it’ll make me smile.

That’s the thing with missing someone. You never know how it’s going to hit you. You never know how a memory is going to make you feel. I smile when I think about the time the friendly stray cat followed us around my neighborhood. Until I wish we could do it again. Then I start crying. (I cry easily.)

After I got off a FaceTime conversation with them the other night, I started crying. I started crying because I saw them, but I wasn’t with them. I have it much easier than some people – if you’ve lost a loved one, you can’t see them or be with them. Thank goodness for modern technology.

There’s a little bit of selfishness with missing someone…maybe more than just a little. You want them to be back with you, for them to stay as they were, locked in your memory. But people change and grow and move. To keep them in one place forever would be selfish.

One thing I’ve learned from missing people is that people are perpetual, never static. You, as a human being, have the right to change – and move. And leave, if you think it’s necessary.

I tried moving away once. But I’m a homebody. I still live close to my childhood home. I got so devastatingly homesick that I couldn’t function. My loved one just moved back to his original home. I couldn’t imagine doing what he did – moving so far away for such a long time. It takes a brave person to do that. It takes a brave person to leave. And to go back.

Just like it takes a brave person to change.

Change, like a person, is perpetual. There won’t ever be a facet in your life that isn’t changing. And usually, change hurts. In this case, it can cause you to miss someone. Badly. But keep in mind the oft-quoted words of C.S. Lewis:

“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”

Sidney Carton also said something similar to this at the end of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities – right before he was about to die. That’s what we call Perspective.

Back to that Person. That person who is not with you anymore. Remember that there are far, far better things ahead than what they left behind. Leaving is a hard decision. But just wait. Watch that Person grow and become something incredible, something they could’ve never been if they’d stayed. Continue to cheer for them, to love them, and miss them. It’s okay to miss them. Because eventually the “missing” part becomes less painful, because you look up from your tears and see not only the person they’ve become, but the person you’ve become.

And trust me, it’ll be amazing.

 

Not Good Enough?

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I can taste the salt in my mouth if I think about it hard enough. You know that feeling your face gets when you cry? It feels kind of full of everything – snot, tears, emotions. Your face just kind of turns into a big mess and there’s no way of hiding it. You just have to know that people know you’ve been crying, no matter what you tell them. “Oh, I just decided to wash my makeup off for the day.” Likely story. Nope. Your face is full of emotions. It’s written all over your…face.

You know that feeling your chest gets when you cry? It gets smaller, but your lungs stay the same size. All your breath is squeezed out of you until you’re all but hyperventilating. You start choking on your own sobs, if it gets that bad. (Trust me, I’ve had experience) The best place to cry is in bed, so no one sees you. It’s just you and your emotions staring you in the face. That’s when you’re most vulnerable to them, when all the lights are turned off and it’s quiet and you’re alone.

When was the last time you had a good cry? And what was it about?

I can remember a very specific time that I cried. Really hard. It was last spring, and I’d just gotten back from an event on campus. I was in the shower (another good place to cry) thinking about what had happened that night. It was a dance, so I had watched a lot of dancing happen. I asked my friend to ask a guy to dance with me (that’s the way I am.) He did, but then left immediately afterwards. As I thought about the night and the couples and the dancing, I lost it. Even in that crowd of people, I’d felt alone.

What am I doing wrong? Am I not enough? 

A few nights ago, I was laying in bed feeling totally numb. (Remember, those emotional times happen when you’re quiet and vulnerable, like in the shower or falling asleep.) I’d given up on feeling. I was bitter and I didn’t know why. I still really don’t know why. I cried again, but this time the tears were hot and I was angry. 

I think it was because I was tired of feeling like I wasn’t enough.

We all know people who seem like they’re “enough.” They’re the people we follow on Instagram who don’t follow us back. The people who post cute pictures of themselves with their friends and a neat cliche caption underneath. Who seem so strong in their faith by the way they worship onstage at church or in the pews. The people who make life seem so easy. I’m pretty sure you know who I’m talking about. I’m sure you’re picturing them in your head right now.

For some reason, this quote from The Great Gatsby popped into my head. (Wow, so original. A young adult woman quoting F. Scott Fitzgerald.) It goes like this. If you went to high school, you’ve seen this quote before:

They were careless people…they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their…vast carelessness…and let other people clean up the mess that they had made.

This quote is talking about two rich people who run away from responsibility (like murder, which is not what we’re dealing with here) but I think it can apply to people you think are “enough.” The thing is, those people who seem like they’re “enough” aren’t. They’re just as messy as you are, but they run away from it. They hide it behind a smile, a sheen of fake joy, a Facebook status (FYI, Facebook is an easy platform to run away from things on, for a number of reasons.)

Maybe the reason I was crying a week ago was because I was done with trying to be fake. It’s exhausting. Sometimes it’s hard to determine the real from the fake in people. I feel bad for people who are trying so hard to be “authentic” but all the while are as fake as store-brand Coke. And pandering to fake people is like buying the fake stuff when real Coke is right there on the shelf.

There have been a lot of times in my life when I’ve tried to be as “enough” as these people seem to be. I’ve done really stupid things that the real Audrey wouldn’t do. I turned into a social chameleon, blending in whenever it was convenient. I admit that sometimes I become that chameleon again. Because I’m not enough.

I don’t have to be.

I’m a good writer, but I’m not a great writer. I don’t have enough money to get my own website with cool pictures and put all of my work on it – but if I had that, maybe then I’d be enough.

I’m pretty good at taking pictures, but I’m not great at it. My Instagram is full of pictures of trees and ironic selfies, usually with fewer than ten hashtags (I have standards.) I don’t have a DSLR camera, I don’t have a VSCO account, I don’t even go on cute little photoshoots with my friends. I don’t have 1,000 followers. I probably average 15 likes per picture, which to me is mind-blowing…until I see an “enough” person with 180 likes on theirs. If I had that, maybe then I’d be enough. 

I’m a good singer, but I’m not a great singer. I don’t have awesome equipment or a SoundCloud account or even the confidence to record myself. And when I do record myself, it’s full of mistakes and awkward pauses because that’s who I am as a person. I know two chords on my guitar. I can’t just sit at a piano and jam with my friends or spontaneously worship like “enough” people do. But if I could, maybe then I’d be enough. 

Maybe then. 

But do I really want to live a life of maybes? Of course not. If I did, I’d never accomplish anything. Sometimes I think I rely on that word too much. Maybe I will. Maybe someday I’ll actually be enough. “Maybe” equals waiting, and it’s foolish to live a life spent waiting.

The thing is, I never will be. Ever. No one will ever be enough. There will always be an unattainable standard, whether it’s one you’ve set for yourself or one you think others have for you. It hurts to feel like you’re not enough. It causes those choking sobs.

I’m going to bring out our good friend, the Bible, to help you understand what it means to be “not enough.” You probably understand already, because you’ve felt it, but I’ll put it in words (a seamless segway from Fitzgerald to Scripture):

But he said to me: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Cor. 12:9, ESV) 

Audrey, I’ve heard this before. Blah blah blah Jesus is enough for you. But it doesn’t feel like it, does it? It’s not supposed to. Because Paul was asking God to take his weakness away. God wasn’t gonna. They were going to stay put for Paul to wrestle with. And that is a blessing.

Our weakness, our pain is a blessing. Someone once said, “There’s nothing memorable about a good night’s sleep.” Or something like that. We remember painful, draining times because they taught us something. Our “not-enough”-ness can teach us something. It taught me that fake people exist, and they need help more than anyone else, even if they look like they have it all together. Don’t lie about your “not-enough”-ness. Wear it proudly on your sleeve. I’m a human. I’m broken. I’m hurting.

But I’m learning and I’m growing.

One last literary quote for you. I recently watched the film version of The Little Prince (I’m not crying, you’re crying) and this specific quote spoke to me:

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.

Your struggles are mostly invisible to those around you, but they’re essential. Your unseen “not-enough”-ness is essential. It’s essential so that the love of Christ can be made perfect in your weakness. He is planning unseen, essential things within you every day. And sometimes those things aren’t so clear. They may not be clear in this world.

Pain is essential. Emptiness is essential.

It’s true – you’re not enough. But you’re essential. Boast it so everyone knows. Because they won’t see your mess – they will see rightly.

Things that Bring Us Together.

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If you haven’t noticed, this week hasn’t been great. For anyone. For various reasons. And if you thought I wasn’t going to talk about it, you’re wrong. Things don’t change unless you talk about it.

If we don’t talk, we become islands and we become bitter and overprotective of ourselves. If we don’t remind ourselves of what we have in common, we’ll become fixated on what we don’t. If we don’t realize we’re more alike than we think, we’ll spend our entire lives believing everyone is out to get us.

And it’s true. We’re more alike than we are different. Only a few strands of DNA separate us, but those strands carry traits that make us each unique – our hair, our skin, our laugh, our talents. And that’s beautiful. But, as you probably can tell, it’s also not sometimes. Because people forget that, other than those few strands of DNA, we are equal. We are all humans.

And for the sake of humanness, I want to remind everyone that we’re not all that different. That there are universal experiences that bind us together. We all experience happiness, sadness, joy, pain. These are all things that every human on earth can relate to. But I also think there are things beyond static emotions that unite us.

I’m going to list a few human experiences that I hope relate to most people. I hope you can relate to at least a few of these, and realize that we can relate through shared experience.

  1.  The quiet that comes right before the sunrise. When it’s cool and still smells like nighttime, when everything feels clean and new, when the world is just starting to wake up.
  2.  The smell of an old house. The feeling that people have been there before you. The mystery of what they might have been like.
  3.  Your best friend’s laugh.
  4.  The point in autumn where the leaves fall all by themselves, like nature’s confetti. And when you look down, the ground is carpeted in color.
  5.  Warm summer rain. The smell and the warm dampness afterwards. The distant thunder that gives you a little thrill every time you hear it.
  6.  When you sit and cry with someone you love. No words exchanged, only hands held, prayers whispered, support given. A beautiful kind of pain.
  7.  A hug from your favorite person in the world.
  8.  A kiss from your favorite person in the world.
  9.  A summer evening after the sun has just gone down, the world is warm and drowsy. A few birds are still singing, and the sky is slowly turning dark blue, insects beginning to hum a lullaby.
  10.  The touch of a toddler’s small, soft hand in yours. The way they look up at you with so much trust and hope.
  11.  A conversation that you didn’t expect to be long, but went on for hours and left you feeling enlightened and refreshed. The connection that’s made. The mutual understanding.
  12.  Sitting in a room full of people singing a cappella.
  13. The pearly glow of a cloudy sky on a winter evening. Everything is gray, but it’s a luminous gray, not dull or dragging. It’s so gray it’s almost silver.
  14. A warm shower or bath after a long day.
  15. The sound of lapping waves on a beach. The smell of wet sand, of leftover campfires, of coffee. The feeling of memories made.
  16. The sound of your mother’s voice.
  17.  A blanket straight out of the dryer, or straight from the clothesline. The way it feels like the warmest thing you’ve ever felt.
  18.  Cloudy, windy days where the cloud patterns are more beautiful than a blue sky.
  19.  Getting a compliment. Not just “nice shoes” or “I like your haircut,” but “I love your confidence” or “you are just such an amazing person.”
  20.  Hearing someone’s heartbeat. Whether it’s that of an unborn baby, your father’s as you snuggled up to his chest as a child, your lover’s as you lean on them for support. That reminder that there’s Life.

And where there’s life, there’s love. And where there’s love, there’s hope.

20 Things That Are Familiar to Every Communications Major

Every college major has its staples. Something, be it a diagram, a picture, a feeling, that’s familiar to all who studied that in college. As a communications major, I’ve noticed a few of these familiar things in my journey so far. Allow me to elaborate:

 

1. This picture. 

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Ekman’s six universal facial expressions. Because Paul Ekman is king. (https://genevievewanucha.com/2015/06/26/whats-in-a-word/)

2. And probably this picture. 

definition-of-communication

Or a more/less complicated version of it. Actually, a comm major’s life consists mostly of diagrams. (http://www.project-management-skills.com/definition-of-communication.html)

3. “Oh you’re studying communications! You must like talking a lot!” 

Well, no. Not really. *uses the fish in water analogy excessively*

4. “What exactly is communications?”

“What ISN’T communication? It’s math. It’s science. It’s language. It’s ART” 

5. Research on research on research. 

Comm is a great major, but you’re not going to miss all those readers full of studies or those comm research methods classes.

6. Taking Interpersonal Communication and finally realizing why your last relationship went wrong. 

“Oh now I get it…the costs were greater than the rewards, and there was very little self-disclosure.”

7. “You’re such a good listener!” 

Perk of being a comm major: You learn how to listen to people reaaaally well. We know that there’s a step-by-step GUIDE to listening.

8. Being totally prepared for any job interview. 

Definitely true. You know how to persuade people and put yourself out there by using things like the color your wear or the strength of your handshake.

9. “What do you want to do with that?” 

Sure, this is a question most college students are faced with. But what DON’T you want to do with comm?

10. Coffee. 

Coffee.

11. Analyzing all of your current relationships and driving everyone crazy doing it. 

Or analyzing other people’s relationships for them. They LOVE that. (That’s sarcasm, which is hard to communicate in written text.)

12. Being way more clever on social media than anyone else. 

Your social media courses have taught you well. You know that people don’t want to see a status saying you ate a grilled cheese sandwich at 2:25pm, but you can whip out a snappy status like the best of them. In fact, comm people know their way around most social media sites and they’re great at marketing themselves.

13. “You know that feeling when someone stands too close to you on the elevator…” 

Yes. That’s called the Expectancy Violations Theory. Seriously. There’s a theory for everything. *person backs away from you slowly*

14. Finding out your conflict style. 

Are you an aggressive shark or an accommodating teddy bear?

15. Watching an episode of Seinfeld in at least one comm class. 

Or Gilmore Girls. Or Friends. If it was a 90s sitcom, you probably watched it.

16. Ekman is life. 

Ekman is king.

17. “92% of communication is nonverbal.” 

…maybe? Mehrabian is a pretty smart guy, but some comm people aren’t so sure about this one. Whatever the case, you’re gonna hear this a lot.

18. Using more math than you thought you would. 

Remember when you learned about standard deviations in eleventh grade? Yeah, you’ll need that.

19. Speeches. 

Speeches.

20. And last of all, not wanting to trade your major for the world. 

It’s not just the major. It’s the people you meet. It’s the lessons you learn and the opportunities you have. It’s finding more out about yourself. Or, as Pocahontas once said, it’s learning “things you never knew you never knew.”