Albert Einstein’s fear has come true: Technology has surpassed our human interaction. Everywhere we go there are more people with their eyes on a screen than living in the moment. Even kids I see gangin it with a dozen people still have someone else they need to talk to other than the group of people they are with.
As a world-class loner & introvert, this astonishes me. It’s rare that I hang out with anyone, let alone 10-12 people. A dinner group of 6? That’s an incredibly high number to me. But I can see how it’s easy with so many heads to duck away and check your phone without being noticed or missed. Still, I think not giving others our attention while they are in our presence is taking them for granted.
When it’s one-on-one, sitting on your phone really makes the you look uninterested. Call me crazy, but I like to give people my full attention when they’re speaking. Isn’t that how conversations are supposed to work? I mean, we all know of those who love to hear themselves talk. The conversation is always one sided and it’s clear they’re not listening to anything you say. Staring into your phone while someone is talking to you has the same effect.
Having a conversation with someone whose attentions are elsewhere is frustrating. “Oh sorry, what? I was just …” Right. You were just … not paying attention. It gives people the impression there’s somewhere else you’d rather be, that they are not interesting enough for you, and that just feels downright shitty.
Studies by psychologist Jean Twenge and others have proven emotional cues are not learned by kids who have unrestricted access to cell phones. Without understanding emotional cues, one can’t determine how another person is feeling by his/her demeanor or facial expressions. Researchers claim this is voiding out empathy or compassion, one of man’s finer characteristics, from the human psyche. This is really bad when you think of the characteristics of a sociopath, psychopath, etc. But don’t trip, because other studies show that empathy is so engrained in us that it can be rekindled pretty naturally. Like so natural, you’re in nature.
Just as with kids, in adult relationships, if someone is deaf to your emotional cues it becomes hard to connect to that person. Sometimes you have to endure this person’s behavior because it’s your boss or family, but it doesn’t stop the annoyance. Relationship experts report that excessive cell phone usage is poking holes in people’s marital bliss. Phones have created distance between people, making it easier to escape rather than deal, cheat rather than work through it, and avoid rather than tackle problems head on.
It seems like everyone is itching to be elsewhere, discontented with the company they keep. I thought we were supposed to cherish these close relationships?
In friendships it’s similar. As you get older, relationships with friends become harder and harder to maintain. It’s true that phones and social media help two people at a distance talk, but it’s not helping anyone when you both meet up and one person is distracted, not listening, and off in his/her own world. I have to laugh when I see a group of people out together all staring into their phones. I mean, what is the point? Ya’ll are rude. Maybe this is why I have very few friends. Rudeness has overtaken the population.
My homebody ass would rather be on the couch, in my cozy pants, half paying attention to you while I watch TV. Then at least we’ll have an equal share in the relationship and I can save my gas and time for someone who actually enjoys my company!
No, but seriously, what’s the point? If there’s somewhere else you’d rather be, go! If there’s someone else you’d rather be with, go get em. Life is short; don’t waste your time surrounding yourself with people you can’t bother paying attention to. And if this isn’t the case, then put your phone down and stop taking people for granted. They came out for you. The person on the other end of your screen did not.
That should say enough.
How do you feel when you hang out with someone who is constantly on his/her phone?