Why are Zoom Video Calls Awkward? But real life hangouts aren’t?

Coco Chat
Coco Chat
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Why are Zoom Video Calls Awkward? But real life hangouts aren’t?

After the host asks the unspoken question, “How are you doing?” The Zoom call’s first pause is when the host asks the most feared question. Half-grimaces and half-smiles are exchanged by the others as they answer the camera with an unspoken “Dead inside”, how do you think? From there, the singular group conversation is a bumpy road filled with absolute cacophony and occasional stops of uncomfortably quiet. In real life, hang outs were not this chaotic. Although I don’t recall the details, they were much easier. Why are video calls so awkward and filled with strange pauses during conversation?

My take is that Zoom group calls or any other platform are now the new group dinner. This is a terrible amount of time that is mostly consumed in monologue by the person who is designated as the center of attention. It could be the happy hour host, manager, or virtual birthday princess. This is why I don’t hate Zoom gatherings specifically. I hate all gatherings that are forced upon me, have little time for cam to cam conversation, and require me to be there for a set amount of time. This is not to be dramatic.

This is just my opinion. Continue reading for a more expert-informed view on why video calls can be awkward and cause strange silences among even the closest friends. Four compelling factors are presented by a psychologist.

4 reasons your video calls are awkward, according to a psychologist.

1. Our body language clues are missed via Zoom and the like.

Communication is mostly nonverbal. This may be why we insist that people see our faces after being phone-phobic for so long. However, it’s not easy to see the whole picture when people try to communicate at once.

“When we talk with one another in person, we pick-up subtle cues that are not easily seen via video.”

Carla Marie Manly is a clinical psychologist.

According to Carla Marie Manly (clinical psychologist), “Communication in real-life is very different from video chat communication.” She wrote Joy From Fear. When we talk with one another in person, we pick-up subtle cues that can’t be seen via video. In video meetings, subtle changes such as slight adjustments in posture, soft smiles, or small shifts in eye contact can often go unnoticed. These subtle signs can give clues about a person’s interest in speaking, their desire to talk, and even their emotional state.

If you don’t notice four out of nine people are falling asleep due to boredom or if your interruptions keep you from hearing the cue that someone is about to speak, digital gatherings can drag on for hours. You’ll hear a lot more “I think—-” “No, I’m sorry” “You go—-” “No, you go –.”.” Then comes the awkward silence.

2. Every interaction feels disconnected when there is absence.

No matter how casual or laid-back your dressing code, no one feels comfortable at a virtual gathering. Google Calendar organizes your social Zoom in the same way it arranges your professional Zooms. This means that you have to sign on at the same time as your professional Zoom. You can also stare blankly at a screen and not touch people you don’t trust. The idea of the absence of presence explains the disconnect that we feel at technological gatherings. It’s similar to the real thing but not as real. This can lead to jarring silences.

Video sessions can be very convenient and sometimes even necessary, but they can also feel artificial and lacking in personal connection.

Dr. Manly.

3. It’s easy to be distracted by things that do not happen in IRL hangouts.

People aren’t always talking over video chat, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t communicating. Some people may be checking their messages and attending to their own (psychologically unsatisfying), social interactions during a lull. Because every Zoom meeting I have been to is fascinating and full of exciting tangents, I have never done it. You’ll be able to tell. Some people.

You can also use video meetings to distract from face-to-face meetings. For example, you can see the details of the background of other attendees, which is often their home, as well as your own image on the screen.

Dr. Manly

4. People don’t feel as open as they could.

Dr. Manly says that she has seen a decrease in personal connection and willingness share her experiences with Zoom or other video chat apps like Facebook. You can’t break away from the group or bond with another person. Think about how when someone speaks, it shines the spotlight on what they are saying.

Two internal conflicts result. 1. Are you able to make your point clearly enough to be the center of attention? 2. Is your message something you would like to share with the group?

While you are pondering the questions that you wouldn’t mind asking if you were having an in-person meeting, or a happy hour where everyone could mingle, the video call participants have to deal with awkward silence.