Sat. Nov 26th, 2022

Over the past two weeks, there has been no shortage of captivating news stories. A five-minute scroll through Facebook or your desired news app will attest to that. And although the recent shooting in South Carolina and the Sabra hummus recall would serve as potent op-ed topics for any other issue, something more “close to home” caught my attention for this edition of “So It Goes.”

It always seems to happen that multiple signs will show themselves to me during the week, signs pertaining to what I should write about for the column, that is. Conversations from class lectures intertwine with random lunch debates, all of which helped make it extremely clear in my mind what I should base this week’s article on: the importance of a (distraction-free) family-style sit down meal.

I think that eating at least one meal a day with the company of good friends or family minus the presence of technology is a necessity in today’s world.

In my interpersonal communication class I learned about an interesting concept known as the luncheon technique. This basically stipulates that people are more likely to see eye-to-eye with you if you share a delicious (keyword: delicious) meal together. There is also a higher chance that positive communication will prevail over negative. I never knew about this technique until I came across it in class a few days ago, but ever since then, I’ve been able to see it in various real-life situations and TV shows. The example that immediately came to my mind was the soon-to-be-ending drama, “Mad Men.” Every time the executives want to make sure they get a client, they take him or her out to lunch. I totally understand; who could say “no” to an ad pitch while feasting over a delicious (and free) meal?

While most of the meals that us college students devour on a daily basis aren’t pro-bono, we should nevertheless take advantage of the opportunities we’re presented with when eating. I never really thought about it too much, but the dining hall on campus is the most social option for all students that have meal plans. It offers us all the chance to eat a meal with either a friend or two, or maybe even a huge group; it’s kind of comparable to a big family dinner, something that not everyone has experienced prior to coming to college.

This is where the distraction element comes into play. When eating with a larger group of friends there is a greater chance that the conversation will reach dull points. If the silence sets in, more people are likely to pull out their phones for a quick fix of entertainment. It’s just kind of what our generation has gotten used to doing. So it goes. A fun solution is to make everyone place his or her phones in the middle of the table and make it a “game” to see who can hold out on picking theirs out the longest. It’s a small gesture, but I do think that it can bring the focus back to the meal and most important, the conversation.

One meal a day that’s distraction-free is possible for people our age, I’m sure of it. If the thought of a lively, conversation-filled dinner with friends or family doesn’t make your stomach grumble a little, then I don’t know what does. Till next time fellow dining hall patrons, so it goes.

Rachel Alfiero is a second-year student majoring in communication studies. She can be reached at RA806657@wcupa.edu.

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