Take Off the Damn Headphones

Headphones are a relationship killer.

It’s becoming more and more common lately – people wearing their headphones just about everywhere. In the line for the grocery store, walking down the street, waiting for class to start, sitting in a cafe – it seems like headphones have become the hottest new accessory.


Yesterday, I was sitting in the community laundry room, waiting for my laundry to finish, and there was another girl sitting next to me. She was also waiting, and in any other circumstance I might have said hello, maybe asked her what she was studying, but I wasn’t able to because she had her headphones in. She had completely shut me out.

I understand the draw. Sometimes you don’t want to talk to people. Maybe you had a bad day, you’ve got a headache, you don’t want to hear the people on the bus screaming – I get it. Sometimes you just don’t feel like being a social butterfly, but since when did shutting out the world become a routine? As if leaving the house without a pair of headphones is like leaving without your left shoe – unacceptable.


There are a lot of great things in the world and a lot of great people to meet, and my question is, aren’t you missing something if you are walking around with a pair of headphones plastered in your ears?

Technology is an amazing thing, but it also has the power to cripple us if we let it. I’m not saying that headphones are horrible and no one should ever wear them. Heck, I like to jam out while running or walking to class like any other person, but I also remind myself to recognize that by wearing headphones, I am putting up a wall between myself and the rest of the world.

There are things to be heard, and people to meet, and if you spend your whole life walking around with a pair of headphones plugged in your ears, there are things that you are going to miss. 


Who knows what would have happened if that girl hadn’t been wearing headphones in the laundry room. What if she would have turned out to be in my class and, we would have become good friends? What if I ended up introducing her to her future partner? Or what if, for a few seconds, she connected with another human being, and walked away with a few minutes of socialization under her belt?

There is something to be said about moments and missed moments. All I am saying is, maybe the next time you reach for your headphones, you consider the message they send to the world. 

To me, headphones say – stay away, I want to be alone, I don’t need you – and the worst part is, maybe you are only wearing headphones because you are alone and don’t want to face the silence. However, recognize that headphones can have consequences. They silence the world. They keep others out. They tell the world, I don’t want to talk to you.

And maybe that’s what you want, to be left alone, but all I am saying is that in a world of people who are increasingly becoming more distant from one another, maybe consider the implications of a pair of headphones – the message they send, the people they shut out, and the opportunities you might miss because of them.

Do you wear headphones when walking or waiting somewhere/doing errands?


19 thoughts on “Take Off the Damn Headphones

  1. EyeOfTheBeholder October 1, 2013 / 12:40 pm

    I went through a period where I always wore my headphones, I stopped because I felt like I was missing a lot. I would wear them walking my dog, but now I love listening to him run and *Watch out! Major cliche coming up* hearing the birds and the wind go through the trees. Great article ;)

    • Sam October 1, 2013 / 11:03 pm

      It is a cliche but, it’s true! Sometimes it’s nice to just listen to the actual world and put away the music for awhile. :)

  2. nyrmirez October 1, 2013 / 1:45 pm

    Beautifully written! When I lived in D.C everyone around me was wearing headphones I didn’t understand/get why until halfway through my internship. I missed a lot great conversations because others were wearing headphones. I try to only wear headphones when I am running any other time I won’t wear headphones.

    • Sam October 1, 2013 / 11:10 pm

      I am the same – though I have starting running more and more without my headphones recently. It’s amazing how much more concentrated my thoughts are without music blaring in my ears. It sometimes help when I am trying to work through something.

  3. glamourousagelessbeauty October 1, 2013 / 2:04 pm

    Well said Sam! And a great post I enjoyed this very much. xx

    • Sam October 1, 2013 / 11:11 pm


  4. myclosetnbeautyfinds90 October 1, 2013 / 2:36 pm

    i totally agree with you on this! i don’t wear headphones when i’m running errands or really ever unless i’m working out. i just find it rude. i like acknowledging people when I’m out and about.

    • Sam October 1, 2013 / 11:12 pm

      I agree! It really annoys me when people 20 and older are walking around the grocery store with headphones in…like seriously? Aren’t you a little old to still be playing the – I am in a bad mood, don’t talk to me – card?

  5. budziak October 1, 2013 / 7:53 pm

    I once wore earphones while grocery shopping & it was really awkward. I felt like I was always on the verge of something bad happening because I wouldn’t be able to hear someone say “watch out.” I’ve come to realize I have mild social anxiety, I hate it when I have to take the elevator with a stranger, haha. It’s all the awkward checking the time on my phone, staring at the elevator doors, shuffling through my purse or even worse, stupid small talk with someone. I love being able to relax by myself with no pressure to do anything. There is a time & place for headphones but I’m one of those guilty on using them on a shuttle or when waiting in the airport/airplane. My pet peeve is when Toby is texting or whatever he does on his phone while we’re out having dinner -_-

    • Sam October 1, 2013 / 11:14 pm

      I hate when people text when we are hanging out. It gets on my nerves SO BAD. There’s something to be said about being present in the moment, and some people never put down their dang phone! That’s another good point. Headphones can definitely keep you from being alert.

  6. klyse3 October 1, 2013 / 9:19 pm

    AMEN! I don’t live in a big city, so seeing people wear headphones everywhere is less common, but I worked fast food for several years and it was common for families to come in and the kids would all be wearing earbuds, completely oblivious. It made no sense to me, given that they were with their families and not alone.

    • Sam October 1, 2013 / 11:16 pm

      What I find even weirder here in England is that people will be hanging out with their friends and have one headphone in and the other out. Like – are people really that incapable of having any silence at all?

      • klyse3 October 1, 2013 / 11:58 pm

        Apparently….can you imagine the distraction going on in your head?

  7. producthoochie October 2, 2013 / 3:27 am

    I wear headphones on the train or when I am walking to work. Those are the times I do not want to be bothered!

    • Sam October 2, 2013 / 9:41 am

      Yeah, I understand. I don’t think headphones are completely terrible (especially when you just want to be left alone), but I think the problem becomes when people get reliant on headphones as a means of shutting everything out all the time. It’s almost like some people can’t stand being in any type of silence anymore.

      • producthoochie October 2, 2013 / 11:33 am

        I agree- the subway is the perfect place to shut people out!

  8. Ashley October 2, 2013 / 3:32 am

    I am guilty of wearing my headphones and getting lost in my own little world. I will definitely be thinking twice about putting on my headphones after reading this.

    • Sam October 2, 2013 / 9:43 am

      I mean, I don’t think headphones are a bad thing, but like I said, they definitely have consequences. I get tired of hearing people complain about how they can’t meet anyone, and yet they walk around the world with music blaring in their ears, constantly shutting the rest of the world out. Like…really? lol.

  9. missblackivy October 3, 2013 / 6:18 am

    I wear headphones a lot on my walk to class– which actually tends to be a joggish walk since I’m almost always late. This prevents any conversation anyway. Lol. For me, I just love music. I have music at night when going to bed, when getting ready in the morning, when taking a shower, when surfing the web, etc. But when I’m around people, I try not to stay plugged up. It just seems a bit rude to me.

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