“Headphones In, World Out” by Gabby Z. caught my attention the first time I saw it. Gabby makes several interesting points about headphones and earbuds distracting us from the world around us and isolating us from each other. While I do think some of her points are valid, I don’t agree with the message of the article. Headphones, earbuds, and smartphones are constantly demonized by older generations and those who prefer not to use them. In my opinion, the conflict is overexaggerated and unnecessary.
There are some times when headphones might not be appropriate, such as at a family gathering, a meeting, or a discussion with friends. However, I believe that it’s perfectly fine to wear them when exercising, on public transportation, going out to buy groceries, or in a casual situation where you’re not comfortable with strangers making conversation with you. Some women wear headphones to lessen the chances of being catcalled or flirted with by random men. Some people, like me, wear them when out and about because noises like traffic can be overwhelming and because social interaction with strangers is stressful, rather than “allow[ing] ourselves to establish ourselves through confrontation.” Think about it; do you really want to get in arguments and conversations with several strangers when going to get a cup of coffee? Introverts and people with social anxiety or sensory issues find headphones invaluable in their day-to-day routines. So while I would never tell you to change your routine and wear earbuds all the time, and while I’m glad that you enjoy being able to meet new people, that lifestyle is not for everyone. Some people find that music or podcasts brighten up their life, others enjoy the peaceful solitude, and I wouldn't tell people how to live their lives. Thanks for sharing your opinion, but I think I’ll keep the earbuds in for now.