The end of Winter Break has sparked a disturbing and highly redundant trend on social interactions, a new study finds. Over a third of all conversations on Marquette’s campus for the next week are projected to start with the question, “how was break?”
Approximately 7,000 instances of “how was break?” are set to take place across Marquette’s campus. Roughly two-thirds of those will be answered with a variation of “it was good; what about yours?,” thus closing off the circle of a conversation that both parties deliberately designed to not last over 30 seconds.
“I was so glad to find out that most of my casual acquaintances had a good break,” sophomore James Tannenberg said. “It was just so worrying to me that people I happened to meet a few times might not have enjoyed a month off from school. Now that I know that wasn’t the case, I can finally sleep again at night.”
“How was your break?” is best known as the first cousin of the more common, somehow less meaningful “how was your weekend?” Any answer other than a version of “great, thanks” is to be ignored. Junior Cathy McShaw asserts that this is crucial to maintaining a delicate social ecosystem.
“The whole purpose of these interactions is basically just to acknowledge the other person’s existence,” McShaw said. “If they say that their Winter Break was bad or even just okay, then that indicates we’re about to get into a long conversation. I’m not about that. I’m trying to occupy the time I spend in the Brew line before slinking away with my muffin.”
Studies show that the only relationships immune from such meaningless conversations are those between close friends, since those in actual friendships probably already know how each other’s break went.