Written By Contributor Writer Hollie Dickman
How many human interactions do we miss because we are looking at our phones? How many smiles don’t we give out as we are walking down the street? How many doors don’t we hold? How many moments are we missing?
I am as guilty as the person on their phone next to me. Always looking at the next tweet, reading the next message, scrolling to the next photo, taking the next snap.
Technology is incredible. The messages we get to send to the world and take in from the world with the tap of a finger are outstanding.
However, I think it is also incredibly important to take time to be without technology always at our fingertips.
I was sitting in a restaurant chatting with my dad a few nights ago and as I looked around, I saw that over half of the people there weren’t talking to their dinner companion, but looking at their phone.
Too much connection
One issue I have noticed is that when people get together, they already know everything a person has done during the day because they are constantly connected. That being said, they often don’t have much to talk about and end up back on their phone reading about what everyone else is eating for dinner.
I always think it is so incredible how much I have to talk about with my grandma when I go to her house, because wait for it… she doesn’t even have an internet connection. I know the horror right?
You see, she grew up in a time when the internet didn’t exist, which meant that she had to find other ways to stay in contact with her loved ones, as well as finding out the latest news and gossip. Of course, now all you have to do is look at something like these suddenlink internet plans and you’re connected to everyone, regardless of where you are in the world.
It’s amazing really, and I would be lost without it. But as my grandma doesn’t know any different, she continues to do what she has done for many years and it really is remarkable to see.
But she still knows EVERYTHING because people call her to talk or stop by and chat. She has an opportunity to hear information straight from the source because she isn’t constantly connected.
I love hearing her fill me in on all the news because she always describes people’s nonverbal reactions to things. Over text we miss a small raise of the eyebrows, a sarcastic smirk, a twinkle in the eye.
Sometimes, less connection can really mean more.
How do we change?
There is no better form of communication than old fashion face to face interaction. No nonverbal smirks are missed, tone is interpreted, setting is considered and there is instant feedback. So what are some small changes to make so that we have more face to face communication?
- Set times that are phone/ technology free
The rule in my house was always no phones during dinner. It gives you a chance to disconnect with technology and connect with those around you. It became such a habit that I still do it today, regardless of if I’m with friends, family, coworkers, etc. I have noticed a positive result not only for myself, but also with the people around me putting their phones away.
- Keep track of the amount of times you check social media a day
The first time I tried this was a few weeks ago and WOW I was at high numbers in no time. It seems harmless as you are sitting in class waiting for the lecture to start, or walking down the sidewalk, or lying in bed, or waiting for the commercial break to end, or… But really, unless there is some superb live tweeting going on, getting rid of a few social media checks per day isn’t going to cause you to miss out on anything. Just think of what you could do with those few extra minutes when they all add up!
I am talking about small steps here. By no means do I ever plan to give up my beloved iPhone and head into a cabin with no Wi-Fi in the woods for the rest of my life. But, giving my-self some time to really connect with the people around me is something I think is important to improve on as technology influences continue to grow.
Give your friends your full attention when you are chatting, let your mom show you those old photos she’s been talking about, smile at someone on the bus, unplug for even just an hour or two, the difference it makes will be evident and you may even start a trend for those around you.
Let’s talk to each other a little more and text each other a little less.