Conversation: a dying art?

How many friendship groups can you think of in your form? How often do those friendship groups mix? How often do you talk to people in different year groups?

Recent research shows that the art of conversation is dying out at a quick pace. With smartphones occupying our brains, we are failing to acknowledge the people around us. Silence is becoming a common feature of waiting rooms, public transport and queues.

However, it’s not all technology’s fault. People need to understand that there is a pleasure and importance to having your eyes opened to the other people around you.

Year 10 student at Truro High School, Charlie Barnecutt said: “It’s really important to spread positivity through conversation. I always make an effort to talk to everyone and offer my advice on school life and I hope that people will learn to do the same.”

Truro High School’s head girl, Olivia Riley, believes that it’s important for older to students to act as a mentor towards younger students and to see themselves as equal and not superior. “It’s important to engage with everyone. If you see someone at lunch sitting on their own, talk them. You don’t need to be afraid, because they are most likely to be a friendly person.”

Next time you are among people and it’s completely quiet, make the effort to engage in a little small talk. It’s everyone’s responsibility to save the art of conversation. If everyone tries to make new acquaintances, the world will become more connected as a little positivity and kindness can go a long way.

There are many benefits to talking to people you aren’t acquainted with. Conversations with strangers has been shown to boost our mood, help the mind to relax, reduce stress, make commutes seem quicker and help us to meet to new friends.

It may seem obvious but by talking to strangers, it provides an opportunity to meet someone new and make new connections. In a world where who you know is important, the person you meet on the train yesterday could be a useful acquaintance in the future.

Another benefit is that it could make someone else’s day. You don’t know what is going on in someone’s life and sometimes even something as small as, “hello, how are you?” can make them feel better. A little small talk with someone can give you the power of bringing a smile to their face and hopefully people will return the favour.

By engaging in small talk with different people, you can learn more about different cultures and views on current issues. Even if you don’t agree with their political views, it gives you an insight into why people think what they think. By having these small interactions, it make us feel like we’re connected to each other, like we belong to the same place.

This is an important message to spread, as it’s essential to find human connections in a world that seems to be getting more and divided.

Often older students don’t talk to people in younger year groups and vice versa. It’s important to make an effort to talk to everyone rather than just running past them in the hallway, or ignoring someone in the lunch queue. Students need to start up conversations with each other, as it’s an opportunity for younger students to get first hand advice from people who have experienced it before.

Engaging in conversation with a stranger about a problem can often be more beneficial than talking to a family member or friend. A number of sociological studies found that sometimes strangers understand us better than our friends and family.

This may seem weird but sometimes, we explain things more clearly and more freely to strangers than to loved ones. Author of ‘When Strangers Meet’, Kio Stark states: “A stranger can listen to your feelings without having to live with them.” A stranger can give you a fresh perspective as there is always someone out there that knows more about a subject than you.

Guardian editor Gabrielle Jackson says: “It’s a world where one half of the population literally cannot imagine how the other half thinks.” This is happening all around the world but is also a major problem in schools everywhere.

Reported by Maya Brookes

BBC School Report