#Follow4Follow – An Open Door Companions’ Dinner

As we wait for the Open Door Companions’ Dinner to start, we (the participants) sit and scroll through our phones. Here we are, at a dinner where the main goal is conversation, and Facebook is the default setting. I realized then just how much of a crutch our phones and social media truly can be. In any sort of uncomfortable or awkward setting, the automatic response is to look at your phone, pretending that you’re busy and can’t talk. This is why the community has such a need for Companions’ Dinners. There is a general lack of good conversation these days, and Companions facilitates these rare, open and direct conversations on engaging topics.

Once we started dinner and Julie and I had asked for all technology to be put away, the atmosphere transformed. Everyone said hello, was laughing, finding common ground. Fine, maybe it was a little awkward, but awkwardness is not something to shy away from. I fear these days that we are too afraid to put ourselves in any situation of risk or discomfort. One of my favorite quotes is “Life begins at the end of our comfort zone.” This could not be more true. When the Companions’ Dinner began, we were all pushed out of our comfort zones and into the sphere of real and honest conservation.

One of my main takeaways from the night is that social media is neither “good” nor “bad.” It is one of our new realities. We cannot, however, be immune to how it affects us and what it can be used for. We must strive to maintain high quality relationships with one another.

I may have Facebook friended all of the participants from the dinner, but we don’t have a fake relationship. We engaged in real conversation and formed real relationships. I have made a vow to say hello to the participants whenever I run into them on campus. And I am looking forward to engaging in even more scintillating discussion at further Companions’ Dinners.

Written by Katherine Cienkus, F’18