I often find myself at Starbucks, studying for the upcoming classes and finishing up homework. Sometimes while I am working on school stuff, I find myself looking up from my laptop and watching the interactions around me. My family used to play a game where we would try to guess their “story” as we observed people. While sitting in Starbucks, I observed many verbal and nonverbal communications as well as a dependence on technological communication. There were many people using verbal communication to their advantage as they worked in a group for their project, and some that seemed to use it to ask for help from others which showed how jargon can get in the way of clear communication when people ask a question with very specific wording. Some people when seeing someone they knew would say “Hey!” but without using their name, the other person walked off without realizing what was happening. I saw how people used nonverbal communication as they ordered their drinks they made eye contact with the barista and when their order was ready they smiled as the coffee was there to save their day. When working with group members, I saw people huddled together but then when a stranger sat down at a table the people already sitting there moved farther away from the new person. With today’s technology advancements though, verbal and nonverbal are not the only types of communication I saw.
With technology at every person’s fingertips that was sitting at Starbucks, I would look up and find many people texting others and sometimes you could even tell they were texting people who were sitting at the same table as them based off of the nonverbal reactions to one another. I could also find myself looking around and finding people taking selfies for snapchats that they would be sending to friends. It is very interesting to see the communication that happens at a cafe and how social norms help dictate the communication you see. Everyone looks up when someone walks in the door, but then they go back to studying instead of smiling at the person or saying hello and often sit down at the same table as others and don’t say anything to each other during the time at the table. But at the same time, you can see how nervous a person looks as they bite their lip and have their body shrugged as they ask the stranger sitting beside them if they could watch their stuff while they go to the bathroom.
It is very intriguing to see how people interact in these cafe settings. Some sit by themselves and use technology to communicate while others sit in groups using verbal and non verbal communication with each other. Then you have the communication interactions that are with the cafe workers. The workers often use verbal and nonverbal communication to put off a very happy vibe towards the customers. They smile and say hello and ask how your day is, and by watching the interactions at the counter, it makes a huge difference in how the customer walks away acting. By looking up for just a few minutes throughout your day, you can see how much communication matters to the world we live in and how we live.