How to Communicate in New York City (It Can Be Done!)

Hey com minded friends! Like I promised, we have another awesome guest blogger this month! All the way from the Big Apple is Dylan Fowler! He will be sharing his tips and stories on how to communicate and function in a metropolitan work place and lifestyle.

Dylan moved to NYC in 2013 and immediately started working two jobs: one as a marketing associate for a nonprofit theatre company, and the other as an usher at the Lincoln Center. He then switched to the position of merchandise manager, which allowed him to work on the Broadway production of Mamma Mia. He is currently the coordinator for an Upper West Side salon; however, his real passion and interest lie in the theatre management field. He graduated from the University of North Carolina Wilmington in 2013 with a BA in Communication Studies. When not working he frequents the NY theatre scene and explores the city hoping to find new restaurants, bars, or spots to read a book.

How to Communicate in New York City (It Can Be Done!)

Living in New York City is incredibly difficult! The cost of living is amongst the highest in the world, and the job market is extremely competitive. However, the biggest challenge of living here is finding common ground with the unpleasant, unbothered, and sometimes appallingly rude New Yorkers.

Upon moving to the city two years ago from a life in North Carolina, I was prepared to deal with the negativity of New Yorkers, but I wasn’t versed on how to speak their language. What I quickly learned is that it takes time, guts, and willingness to handle the cruelty that the city often throws, but once you do, there’s no other place in the world to be.

When living in the city you have to come to the realization that some people are just plain mean. I used to take great offense to someone pushing me during rush hour or making snide comments while I helped them at work, but I learned that this is all a big game to prove who’s boss. I had to adapt to the mindset that I have no control over other’s actions but have complete control over my own. Playing the game of “who’s the boss” is now amusing and fairly fun! Surviving in this city means acting like you belong and going with the flow of everyone else. If someone pushes you, push back! Snide comments? I find great pleasure in flashing my pearly whites and almost sarcastically saying, “have a great day”. Once you realize that rudeness is inevitable, finding ways to combat that attitude is part of the fun of living here!

As I mentioned, a big part of the game is acting like you belong. A huge reason why people perceive New Yorkers as being nasty is because when you live here, tourists are SO annoying!! I used to work in Times Square and I found myself acting like the “typical” New Yorker, only because the stopping and staring of tourists ruined the flow and rhythm of my NY strut. While I hate to admit it, I’ve actually batted selfie sticks out of the way and yelled at people to “keep moving!”

One thing to remember when communicating in New York is that it is an island inhabited by 8 million people. My mom recently visited from North Carolina and was hurt that the culture doesn’t call for the friendly “hello” to strangers. Imagine trying to greet or even smile at the millions of people one may encounter on a daily basis! Some advice for those just settling into the city flow, instead of being almost forcedly kind to everyone all of the time, find small pleasures in being genuinely kind to people that you have exchanges with. Whether it is the man who runs your corner deli (Yasser – the guy that runs mine – makes a mean Philly cheesesteak) or the woman who sells churros on the subway platform. I make a point to ask these people about their day because it fills them with a warmth that they’re not used to from the majority of people they encounter – part of living in New York City is having guts, but another huge part is having a heart.

If it hasn’t become apparent, I love living in this city. Part of moving here was adapting to how communication works in a fast-paced environment and I continue to learn the rules of the game every day. Feel assured that friendly communication can exist, but it takes a certain finesse that not everyone can handle. Oh and a tip to NYC tourist: continue with the flow of the crowd and if you feel the urge to look up at the buildings or take a picture, step aside. This city is breathtakingly beautiful and should be appreciated, but it’s important to remember that people actually live here and need to get to work on time.

Dylan Fowler

Want more advice on how to adapt to the city lifestyle? Leave a comment for Dylan below!

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