Every day I see groups of friends or families out and about sharing time together. But all too often, as soon as there is a lull in conversation or a momentary pause in their activity, their cell phones come out. Maybe it's just for a minute, or maybe longer, but the intense need to always be preoccupied is there.
Cell phones are an important necessity in today's globalized electronic society, however, I think that the cell phone and social media addiction is hurtful and hinders building real and genuine relationships with other people.
Very often I find myself in situations where I am spending time with a friend and am in the middle of a conversation where I am telling a story of something important that had happened to me when she sees her phone light up. Even though I am in the middle of talking, I see her check the message and send a response.
Whenever this happens to me, I always take a moment to pause my story, oftentimes mid-sentence, because I know that I am no longer being listened to.
I will not and should not have to compete with your cell phone.
What message is so urgent that you have to check it while in the middle of a conversation? And if it is, then something should be said in consideration of the friend you are interrupting.
When I am interrupted by a cell phone it tells me that I am less important and my conversation is less important to my listener than the text or facebook message they just received.
What happened to genuine focused conversations between two people? Sometimes it seems as if the digital world has taken over and we are all living virtually through our social media and news channels online. All the time I see families out at dinner together, not having a conversation and checking up on each other's lives, but buried in each of their phones at the table at the restaurant. Even the short time between when their order is placed and when their food arrives needs some outside stimulation from social media.
Moreover, as a society, we need to take time to appreciate the calm and the quiet. Not every moment needs to be filled with something. Quiet time spent in conversation with family and friends is vital.
I just hope that we can come to realize that in-person communication is essential to building lasting relationships. I never want my friends or family to think that my cell phone and my social media presence are more important than my relationship with them. I never want them to feel that I am ignoring them in favor of something on my phone.
There is a time and place for both. Obviously, we need cell phones to communicate with other people as well. Having cell phones opens up a world of possibilities and social media allows me to have friends from all around the world. Just choose when it is appropriate to make use of the tools at your fingertips.
Be a socially responsible person.