Whatever happened to just experiencing standing in line with nothing to do or awkwardly working your way through the pause in a conversation? Have our handheld devices become such a crutch that they have shielded us from being with ourselves when the going gets a bit tough? Has a game of Words with Friends or a perusal on Facebook filled time that would be better spent developing skills that help us simply deal with what comes up?
We all know what it feels like not to fit in to a group in which we find ourselves. Either in the office or a social setting it is not a good feeling; add in a new language and missed cultural cues and the sensation of discomfort intensifies. Everyday interactions such as small talk before a meeting or proper greetings are steppingstones to relationship building. In an unfamiliar culture it is incredibly easy to mess these up, as rules of behavior are not immediately apparent. Our gut instincts and assumptions are often wrong and will inevitably lead to the realization that we did not act in a way that was expected or appreciated.
The more we have developed skills to be with what has happened the more quickly we can recover and course correct. Paying closer attention in the present moment, and cultivating the ability to get comfortable with being uncomfortable will put you on the winning path, even if you miss out on a status update of one of your friends at home.