For Heaven's Sake, People, Put Down Your Phone

For Heaven's Sake, People, Put Down Your Phone

Is scrolling through your Twitter feed really more important than the person sitting across the table from you?
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A couple weeks ago, I was sitting in traffic on my way home from work (yay for living in Atlanta). I was just minding my own business, enjoying my jam session to Taylor Swift, when I looked to my right and noticed something.

There was a couple, seemingly married, sitting at a table outside a local restaurant. The weather was great, perfect for an evening out. Their dog was chilling out underneath the table as they casually sipped on some sweet tea. It looked like the picture-perfect date night.

Except for one thing.

They were both on their phones.

I sat at the red light next to the restaurant for two or three rotations. Not once during those few minutes did this couple even look up at each other, much less actually put their phones down. In fact, I don’t recall seeing them even talk to each other. They just sat there in silence, seeming perfectly content with staring at a screen instead of engaging with each other.

I’m sorry, but that just doesn’t seem right to me.

When did it become acceptable to pay more attention to your phone than to your dinner date?

I remembered the time I went out with a new guy during freshman year of college. It was our first date, so you’d think it'd be common courtesy to be pretty attentive, but no, not this guy. He walked in the door talking on his phone. He scrolled through social media while we waited in line to order, barely taking the time to look up. He was texting other people throughout the entire meal, and in between texts, he was browsing through Twitter. I cut the dinner short and made up an excuse to leave because I was so annoyed.

Unfortunately, I’m sure that guy isn’t the only one who’s ever done that. I know I’m guilty of the same thing. Maybe not on a date, but I know I’ve done that in plenty of other scenarios.

I recently went out to dinner with my family. At one point during the meal, my mom pointed out that she, my dad, my brother, my sister, my sister's boyfriend and I were all looking at our phones and no one was talking. We all looked up and kind of laughed, but the more I thought about it, the sadder I became that this situation has become a societal norm.

Our phones have become our crutch. Whenever there’s silence, we pick up the phone and start scrolling, searching for anything that will rescue us from even the slightest ounce of discomfort.

But in our efforts to avoid that awkward silence, we are putting up a wall. We are letting a three-by-six inch aluminum block keep us from meaningful conversation, from laughter, vulnerability and from quality time with the people we really care about. So you may think you’re just checking your social media, but in reality, you’re doing a lot more than that. And is that really what you want?

According to Pacific Standard Magazine, " Newly published research suggests that the mere presence of a cell phone or smartphone can lessen the quality of an in-person conversation, lowering the amount of empathy that is exchanged between friends.”

The article goes on to say that if your phone is visible at all, your attention is divided, regardless of whether or not you’re even looking at the phone.

I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite things in the world is getting to sit down and talk with my friends and family. I love hearing about their lives: their goals and their dreams. I love to laugh with them and ask them questions. I try to do whatever I can to make the most of the time I have with each person, because I want them to know they matter to me. The last thing I want to do is make them think I’m distracted or that whatever is happening on Twitter or Snapchat is more important to me than they are. But whenever I pickup my phone to check it in the middle of lunch, that's exactly what I’m communicating, whether it’s true or not.

All of that is to say, what would it look like if we put our phones away? Even just for an hour while you’re having coffee with a friend or dinner with your parents. How could our relationships grow and benefit if we removed this common distraction and were fully present in our conversations? What would happen if we focused on speaking instead of scrolling?

So, next time you’re out with your friend, your family, your coworker or whoever else, please, for heaven’s sake, put away your phone. Be present. Be attentive. Be free of distractions. Sure, some of your friends’ Insta-stories might expire while your phone is in your pocket, but the investment you’re making in your relationships will last a lifetime.

Cover Image Credit: Kaleigh Newby

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25 Responses To Your Friend Who Doesn't Text Back

Omg thanks for responding so quickly...oh, wait.
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We all have that friend. That friend we love to death, but if we are sure of anything in this world, it’s that they will not respond to your text because they suck at texting. That moment when you see “Read 1:04 p.m.” and you’re like “and???? Helloooooooo!”

These are 25 responses for that dear friend.

1. Lol thanks for tagging me in that FB post, now text me tf back.


2. OMG, wait you met Chris Hemsworth and he’s professing his love to you??!! No? Okay, then you can def text me back.

3. Hey I’m coming to help you since you obviously broke your thumbs and can’t respond.

4. Lolol thanks for responding. I’ll just continue the conversation with myself. That’s cool.

5. Good chat.

6. Yeah I wouldn’t know how to respond either, pizza topping selection is a thought-provoking process. Take your time. Meditate on it.

7. The classic: ^^^^^^^^^


8. I hope you’re writing me the 8th Harry Potter novel.

9. That was a yes or no question. This isn’t difficult. You wouldn’t do well with ‘Sophie’s Choice.’

10. Omg, did you pass out from the excitement of getting a text from me? Totally understandable. Text me when you regain consciousness, love.

11. Omg what a witty and clever response. Nothing. So philosophical.

12. The only excuse I’ll accept is if you’re eating guac and don’t want to get it on your phone. Because avocados are life.

13. I love it when you do that adorable thing when you don’t text me back for hours. So cute.


14. Okay I’ll answer for you. Yes, you’re going out tonight. Glad we had this convo.

15. In the time it has taken you to respond, dinosaurs could have retaken the earth.

16. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA

17. The dramatic but also very valid response: That’s what happens when you don’t respond for 30 minutes. People die.


18. I apologize for asking if you were coming to watch Bachelor, clearly the decision has caused you serious reflection on your priorities. I’m sorry to have caused you this existential crisis.

19. Sorry I annoyed you with my friendship. But like plz respond…

20. Your response time is longer than Ross and Rachel’s entire relationship. 10 seasons. You couldn’t text me back for 10 seasons?!!

21. Wait. You’re responding too fast. I can’t keep up. Hang on. Don’t respond so quickly. Jeez.

22. A subtle but perfectly placed gif. What will you go with? The classic eye roll perhaps or maybe a “you suck.”


23. Did you fall off a cliff? Wait, you don’t exercise. Pause your Netflix and respond b*tch.

24. Omg I WON THE LOTTERY. *responds* Lol now you respond…

25. And my personal favorite and go to, Did you text me and then decide to THROW YOUR PHONE ACROSS THE OCEAN?! Lol swim fast, I need an answer.

Cover Image Credit: http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8289/7759302068_fac2dfd31d_b.jpg

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Modern Technology Is Fostering A Lazy Generation

I'm not a scientist or a researcher by any means, but I believe Millennials are becoming lazier and lazier by each and every new technological innovation made.

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In the world of technology, it seems as if there's a new app, product, or device being made or updated every single day. The motive behind all of these new innovations seems to be making life easier and more efficient. Millions of people live with a device, Amazon's Alexa, which allows us to call out to it and order it around, and it will gladly comply (even if you have to repeat your orders a few times

The purpose of products like Alexa is to reduce the time and effort we spend performing simple tasks, such as setting an alarm or playing a song on Spotify. This concept isn't a new one; Siri, which essentially revolves around the same purpose, has been around for years. Alexa, however, has been considered groundbreaking because it sits around your house or dorm room, blending in with the rest of your furniture, just waiting to be ordered around.

I guess it's safe to say that the inventors behind all of these developments have had good intentions; they have made life easier and more efficient after all. Something that used to take days to do, such as delivering a letter, can now be done simply in a matter of seconds; not only can information spread faster, but anyone can create an email account and use it to write to anyone across the world from the comfort of their home from practically any device. Technology really does seem like a lifesaver sometimes.


But what's the cost of this efficiency? It's without a doubt that a vast amount of effort and hours have been saved because of how simple the modern world has become. Yet, our dependence on recent innovations has made us less self-reliant, while being more reliant on inhuman machines and codes created by scientists and engineers.

Whenever I need to find an answer to something, my very first instinct is to pull out Safari on my iPhone and search for it on the internet. I've become so accustomed to searching for things on the web that I can type the word "Google" with my eyes closed in a matter of seconds (or maybe even milliseconds). Sometimes I will even ask questions to the people around me for them only to reply with, "I don't know, maybe Google it?"

My generation doesn't know what it's like to skim through a book or to seek out information from an expert because we're practically attached to devices that hold all the information we want to know in the click of a button. The only hard-copy dictionary in my house belongs to my parents; I have no need for such a dictionary because I have Google bookmarked on my computer and cell phone. I didn't even bring a dictionary to my dorm room for school this past year.

My fellow millennials and I lack the skills it takes to ponder deep within our minds to try and find the answer to any questions we encounter. We don't know what it's like to be responsible for our own knowledge and learning; why spend even a second trying to independently find the answer to something when you just can ask Siri? If the products are so expensive, we might as well use them.


We're also losing the ability to remember and remind ourselves of important things. Our parents are probably better at keeping appointments and remembering ingredients they need to buy than we are. When we can set reminders on our phone by simply saying aloud, "Alexa, set an appointment for Friday at 9 AM with Doctor Smith", there's no need to exert the mental energy and spare the brain cells it takes to remember such things; your phone will let you know that you have an appointment as the time approaches.

The most ironic thing about our devices reducing the time and effort it takes to complete simple tasks, in my opinion, is how we spend the time and energy we are saving. Sometimes when I'm done with my homework or watching a movie, I zone out by scrolling through my Instagram and Facebook feed for nearly twenty minutes. So, essentially, the time and energy I save using my devices are being used by the same devices, only in a different, more passive form.

Therefore, not only are we becoming less self-reliant and proactive, but recent technology is also making our generation more passive and apathetic. Does anyone know if Apple has created a device that can remove the invisible glue that's sticking our hands to our phones yet?

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