It's funny. I'm typing this up on my phone on the subway. Writing about how disengaged we all are while I am totally disengaged.
I have headphones in. And I'm one of those people who can't stop staring at her phone and texting, or emailing. Or so one would think.
Little do they know I'm sending this all over the inter webs. Hehe
And Yes, I'm judging: “Those people”. But let me make my case...
We all crave so much connection that we're doing whatever it takes to get it. Tinder, thrinder, Facebook, emailing, texting, Instagram, Twitter.
That's 7 things right there that we are doing to connect. And that's the minimum.
I guarantee there are at least 10 more. Which makes 17 things to do.
How can you take care of 17 things online, on your iPad, on your phone, and still maintain any sort of “real" life?
That leaves/gives the people who are directly in front of us very little time and attention. And guess what else? Connection.
The connection that we crave is directly in front of us. It's on the subway, in line for coffee, at home with our loved ones.
Whereas social media does have its place and time, we are missing out on the people around us.
I see it all the time. I have friends who are constantly on their phones. Not listening to our conversation, not connecting. Not being present with the moment, with the energy of the room.
And I do it too. I'm no saint. Right now I have exited the train and I'm standing on a street corner so I can finish my typing. I had to pull over so I don't get trampled by people.
I'm not connecting with people around me. Not smiling at people who walk by- that is, if they themselves are not buried in their phone.
But I am writing this because I'm conscientious of when I do it, and I try to do it less. This is a reminder to myself as much as it is to you.
I often wonder when I'm sitting at a bar waiting for a friend, what would happen if instead of looking on our phones, we just sat there? Would we actually converse with the person next to us?(gasp!) or with the bartender? ( If s/he also is not checking his/her phone?)
I don't mind being the one to remind you that at one point, that's how it was. No screen to escape to. Just real life interactions. I can barely remember what that was like.
Seems nice from where I stand now.
It's the beauty and the beast of it all. In some ways, it really is beautiful. You can connect with people that you wouldn't be able to without it.
You rekindle friendships, reminisce, just say hi.
But the beast, which is everything I'm talking about in this post is that ultimately it disconnects us from the people right in front of us.
If we were aware of that, and also were to acknowledge that ultimately connection really is the thing we crave most, perhaps we would put the phone down more.
Perhaps we would look the people we're talking to, right in the eyes, and really HEAR what they're saying. We’d have intimacy in the moment, closeness, connection.
Perhaps we wouldn't shy away from people's touch. From being hugged, from saying God bless you when someone sneezes.
And those little things, would help us all get the things we crave. We wouldn’t need the phone, the tinder, the thrinder, the Facebook. Step by step we’d build a real life community instead of, or even in addition to, online ones.
Bottom line is, We can all do a little more to give and thus get in return the connection that we crave. The connection that as humans is our common denominator.
Consider this your invitation to start.
You know, a friend of mine once told me that he was waiting on a group of high school students at the restaurant where he worked, and the group of them put their phones on the table and whoever reached for theirs first, paid for the whole bill. I was impressed. Brilliant.
Thanks so much for reading. If you enjoyed or think someone might benefit from a gentle reminder to put down the phone, please share it with your friends.:)
In love and music always,