We see them daily - the newbies. The ones who don't know what they're doing. And there's nothing wrong with that, we were all there at some point. Hookah newbies are everywhere, and as more people come of smoking age every day, more and more newbie smokers are bound to emerge. When you see someone posting about how much they love quicklites and Fantasia, it's natural habit to scoff and move along with your day. You know better. You know not to do that. You know what a big difference quality tobacco and coals can make. But day in and day out, I see people, myself included, just scroll past these newbie posts. I see people not being helped, and while you won't be able to help every single newbie that comes around, it's extremely important that we start educating the next generation of hookah smokers. They're what's going to help shape the future of hookah, and if they're all about Fantasia and Three Kings, because they've never been told better, then that's what they'll keep buying. These brands exist primarily on newer smokers, and even though enthusiasts like you and I don't support them, they keep thriving because newer smokers don't know any better. It's the duty of you and I to help teach these newer smokers, and help them learn how to hookah. That said - how? How do you go about helping these people? What can you do to make them try better things? How can you convince them that you know what you're doing? Today, we're going to be looking at that, and talking about how we can effectively help these people learn.
It's extremely important that we start educating the next generation of hookah smokers...
Be WelcomingThe first thing that we're going to talk about, and arguably the most important thing, is that you need to be welcoming. Too many times, I've seen newbie smokers be turned off of hookah by veteran smokers practically scoffing at their setups, or how they've packed their bowls. Don't do that. No one is going to want to learn from you if you come off as an arrogant ass. Come from a humble place with what you're saying, and make sure that you make what you're saying relevant to what they can understand. Start by welcoming them to our wonderful communities, and try your best to make the communities seem appealing. If they don't like what they find, they may be instantly turned off, and they may even just stop smoking altogether - which no one wants. Don't bash what they're doing, as many newbies are just super pumped that they've learned to pack a basic bowl. They're riding on cloud nine, don't be an ass and ruin it all for them. Make sure you congratulate them! Everyone loves to be congratulated, and the better they're feeling, the more likely they are to listen to what you have to say.
After you've put yourself in a good place in their eyes, start educating. Don't go whole hog, they aren't going to learn everything all at once, no one does. Hammer home a few key points, like using quality tobacco and natural coals. The easiest way to get them to try these things is through logic - tell them why they should bother. Show them how it's cheaper to buy natural coals in the long term, and, if you can, show them. If you have a newer smoker as a friend, show them what a difference natural coals can taste like. If you don't have that kind of ability, telling someone about the benefits is the best thing you can do. If they can see in hard numbers why they should listen to you, it's a hard thing to dispute, especially if it's a win-win scenario for them.Be Relatable Make sure that you try to get where they're coming from. If you can't understand where they're at, or if you can't put yourself in their shoes, you're going to have a much harder time trying to convince them that you understand. If someone can empathize with you, and understand why you're saying what you're saying, they're going to be more inclined to listen to you as a whole. You know what you're saying is good information, but how do they know that? How do they know that you've been there? How do you know that you've been in their shoes? Make sure you tell them, and then tell them why you're recommending what you are. Appeal to your character, and this is practically impossible to do if you come off as an ass.
Be Who You Needed When You Started
Everyone has heard that cliche quote - "be who you needed when you were younger." And while it may be cliche, it definitely has some truth to it. Everyone needed someone when they started smoking, someone to teach them, and further their hookah knowledge. For me, I needed HookahChef, and his reviews, to help me learn, and help me branch out from what I was doing. If it wasn't for finding his reviews, I would never have found that Samsaris bowl, and the Kaloud Lotus. And if I hadn't loved those products, I probably wouldn't have kept trying new things. If that hadn't happened, I probably would've just stopped, and just kept smoking Al Fakher in an Egyptian bowl. If that hadn't happened for me, I probably wouldn't be writing this blog today. That's a lot of what if's, but it's a valid point. You needed someone to help teach you, and I'm sure you can think of who your hookah mentor has been over the years. Whether it's through reviews, blogs, or just chatting in different forums and groups, there have been people who have helped you learn. Over time, many of those people have either stopped participating, or stopped reviewing. We see less and less help being given each and every day, but I think that so many people are forgetting just how important it is to keep educating newer smokers. Don't be afraid to help others, and while not everyone is going to be inclined to listen, you have to remember that someone could. You could be that someone for a newbie, and you could be the reason that they're elevating their hookah experience. Maybe eventually, that person that you helped will start to help others. It creates a cycle, and it's important that it's a cycle that keeps going. We need to keep educating newer smokers, as they are the future. I've met so many amazing people, and learned so much through these online hookah communities, and I think it's important that we all do our best to keep helping new smokers improve, so they can have these same kinds of positive experiences. I think that what I've outlined here is key in helping people, and I think that it really can make a difference. But what do you think? Do you agree with what I've said? Do you think there's anything that I've missed? Anything that you would add to this list? Let me know! Help me help you! Tell me your stories - have you helped someone before? Did it feel great? Let me know what you think! As always guys, thank you so much for reading, and happy smokes!
Shout out to everyone who's helped me learn too: HookahChef, thelonesloth, /u/m2i5k6e6, StrictlyShisha, SmokeOrPass, Hookah.TV, Hookah and Beyond, Vahe, Sheraz, Rob - you guys helped shape me as the smoker that I am today, and I can't be more thankful to all of you for that.