Nowadays, we spend most of our time with our eyes glued to the screens of our smartphones, iPads, tablets etc., switching from one application to another, day in and day out. We do this so often that we sometimes forget to acknowledge our company and thus, I am here writing this in an attempt to tell everyone (myself included),
it’s about time that we look up from our phones.
Let’s say you invite a few friends over for a get-together dinner. Knowing that this only ever happens once or twice a year, I think it’ll be safe to assume that you would want everyone to be physically and mentally present. You’d expect them to bask in the occasion for the plain reason that the purpose of the whole thing is to catch up with each other, and I highly doubt for this to be at all possible if at least one, if not all, of you are on your phones the whole time.
Hence the next time you receive an invitation to come and hang out, I want you to remember this one piece of advice: keep that shiny gadget of yours away from the table. You don’t have to turn it off completely, you don’t even have to switch it to silent mode. But you do have to avoid checking it from time to time because it’s simply disrespectful. There, I said it, and don’t give me that “Okay mom…” look, if I’m telling a story and someone from the group constantly glances at their mobile phone, damn right i’ll feel insulted. I mean, even if others appear to be listening to me, I’d always have thoughts in the back of my mind going like, “am I boring them?” All owing to the fact that eye contact is lacking, there appears to be more exciting things going on in the twittersphere and well, I’ve had enough..
But I’m not going to publicly shame you if you ever do this in my presence. In fact, I will probably not say anything at all. I just hope you understand that if it occurs for more than one occasion, it’s going to bother me too much to the point that I may have second thoughts about inviting you over for whatever I’m planning next. Because, really, why would I want to spend time with someone who persistently gives me the impression that they’d rather be elsewhere?
If you want to make your peers think that you’re uninterested, then by all means, check that damn phone for your non-existent messages or Facebook updates. On the other hand, if you are the type of friend whose intention is to come off as someone who’s there to listen, then look up. The messages won’t be deleted, the voicemail will be saved, the notifications will be there for later, but this moment right here that you’re supposed to spend with someone, this is something you can never guarantee to have once again.
I hope we stop spending our days with our undivided attention given to non-living things because believe me when I say that in a world which craves a certain warmth that can only be achieved through interaction. Face-to-face is always going to be better than face-to-screen.