We live in a world where technology is widespread, and people can’t get enough of their mobile phones. In the Philippines, out of 100M people, 40M are online, 32M are using their mobile phones; and that’s only online! How about those who DO use their phones while offline? All around, we see people using their mobile phones, iPads, tablets, and iPods for one purpose or another— texting, calling, gaming, chatting, surfing, streaming, etc. Nearly half of these people are wearing headphones for music or calls.
Face it; you wear headphones in public too. Wearing headphones has become a public norm. Even children wear them. In truth, headphones generally make your music experience better. You can hear the music better, or be able to understand a video clip or a movie without subtitles better. Some people imagine music from their headphones as a means to set the mood for their day. Although the invention of headphones point out to the people just wanting to better hear their music, some people use this as a shield between their own world and the real world.
Headphones and Being Anti-Social
In truth, headphonesdo not make us anti-social– this is relative. This is very similar to asking if holding a gun makes you a killer. Since headphones are not invented to make you anti-social, then its use to block out people can be a logical fallacy considered: hasty generalization.
So, how can you gauge if the person with headphones is using it to block out the world? People who usually do this tend to be less focused on their surroundings, always looking at their phones or avoiding eye contact, or focusing on a specific task at hand. If you approach someone with headphones and they take it off when you talk to them, then that’s a safe sign that they are willing to socialize. This is the same with people who have only one headphone on. In fact, some people actually confess to leaving one headphone off so that they can be ready to accommodate those who approach them with questions.
Clear Sign of “Talk-To-Me-Not”
But come on, if a person is busy and is wearing earphones, then it’s an obvious “Do Not Disturb” sign. People who are busy with work, like in the gym, tend to need their focus and cannot resolve to idle or chit-chat. They have to work on their routine and if you disturb them, you disturb their routine too. Still, some people are just plain mean when they have headphones on while ordering from a cashier or continue to talk to someone distractedly. What harm is it to just take them off for one minute, place your order and then put them back on? Or maybe entertain a question from someone, take them off and then put them back on again.
Real Use of Headphones
For those who are defensive about their use of headphones, they really do not make a person anti-social. Headphones can be used as an instrument by people who are already anti-social and not necessarily rude, to allow themselves an easier way to express that they are not really good at socializing or just really in the mood to talk. This makes it easier for them to avoid awkward moments or awkward conversations, or maybe just to help them pass the time when they’re bored in the bus or while walking in the street. This is an outward message and also an inward sanctuary. People don’t use headphones to avoid people, they use it to listen to music. People seem to think that looking away and having headphones on send a clear message of being not in the mood for a conversation.
So, does it make you anti-social or not? Most people would say yes, since most evidence support the fact that the most snobbish people do wear headphones- and I believe many would confess to using them to shut people out. Sometimes though, people just love their playlist, need an energy booster, or can’t get enough of Taylor Swift that they can’t sacrifice their favorite song in exchange for fake pleasantries of random people talking to them. Then there are times when they reinforce a person’s natural aversions to forced small talk.