Put Down Your Phone And Go Make Real Connections

Put Down Your Phone And Go Make Real Connections

I want to remember these times for the people I'm with, not the pictures I'm posting.

In today’s day and age, it’s hard to meet people. Everyone is always so caught up in themselves that we too often shut out chances to meet other people. With relationships or friends, we often stay within our comfort zone and immediately retreat the second we feel a hint of discomfort. The truth is it’s hard to go beyond your immediate world and group of friends. I know that I do that sometimes.

We’re too scared that people will judge us or think we’re stupid that we miss out on chances to expand our outlooks and meet new people. If there is anything that has truly suffered from the younger generations abilities to interact with others, it’s relationships. I don’t know about you but I have definitely struggled trying to meet people and actually maintaining relationships pasts an initial introduction.

You walk to class and people are either looking down constantly or have headphones in their ears. You go to class and everyone sits with their friends and doesn’t interact with anyone else unless your professor forces you against your will to speak to people you don’t know. You go out to get food or to the store and the only people who actually talk to strangers are the employees. Now granted I am at fault for doing all of these things too. I know that I stick with myself when I’m alone or am attached to my friends when in a group. But the fact of the matter is this has become the social norm.

When we hang out with each other, we spend half the time scrolling through our Instagram feed or trying to take the perfect selfie with the perfect lighting. We forget about forming true and real connections with the people around us. And it only seems to be getting worse.

When you look back and think about your fondest memories, it's the days when you stayed up all night talking about random things with your best friend. It's the spontaneous trips you took with your friends. It's the times you laughed until you cried with your loved ones. It's not the countless hours you spent sitting behind a tiny screen on social media.

Social media and technology is both a blessing and a curse. One one side it does help people interact with each other in certain ways. In others, it prevents us from just having genuine conversations. We can't even go to dinner without sitting on our phones instead of actually speaking to each other.

I know that putting my phone down and focusing on relationships instead of my phone and the image I'm putting out on social media is something that I need to work on. Something that we all need to work on. I want to remember these times for the people I'm with, not the pictures I'm posting.

Cover Image Credit: Priscilla Du Preez

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A Letter To My Best Friend On Graduation Day

What are you suppose to say to your best friend on graduation day?

Have you ever heard of a fairy tale? Where two people meet and then everything else seems to fall into place. Well here’s how this one started: two little girls in preschool, sitting in a little room, with other little people. The teacher comes over and starts to hand out frosted cookies and bunny coloring pages for us all. Somehow, somewhere in here, the two little girls became best friends.

Now, I don’t want to tell you some fairy tale story, because fairy tales aren’t really true, right? So here’s what I really want to tell you.

What do you say? I mean really, what are you supposed to say to someone whom you’ve known for almost 15 years? And this someone isn’t just anyone. This someone is your best friend. Someone you’ve gotten used to seeing every day during the week. Someone you looked forward to seeing every day. What do you say?

Well, I guess I can start off by saying thank you. Thank you for being there when I needed someone to just listen. It doesn’t matter where we are in this world or in our lives, I know you will always be there to listen. As I will always be the same for you. Thank you for always being my best supporter. Thank you for not judging me for my sometimes poor decision-making skills. Thank you for late-night conversations. Thank you for remembering every inside joke we have ever created. And I mean every joke! Even if I don’t always remember them. Thank you for being brutally honest with me when I am being ridiculous.

Thank you for respecting my values and opinions, even if you disagree. Thank you for loving my family like you love your own. Thank you for fighting all of life’s battles by my side. Thank you for celebrating all of the exciting moments of my life with me and the many more to come. Thank you for forgiving me every time I might not have been the best friend in the entire world. Thank you for all you’ve taught me, even if you didn’t realize it at times. Thank you for always sharing your crazy stories with me. Thank you for being there through all of the significant others that I have mistakenly chosen. Thank you for listening to my long stories as though you haven’t already heard them a million times. Thank you for being strong when I was weak. Thank you for sharing your secrets with me, and for keeping mine. Thank you for sharing the past fourteen and a half years of your life with me. Thank you.

I honestly cannot believe that high school is over and soon we will both be going our separate ways in life. It’s hard to fathom that we won’t live a few houses down from each other anymore. Only on weekends when we are home from college. It’s going to be tough, but it’s OK. Because I know that no matter where we go in life, whether it’s a quarter mile away from each other or halfway across the world, you’ll always be my best friend. I’ll never come across someone who will be able to take your spot as my best friend. We’ve just got to remember that even though we change and we are both finding our own places in this world, nothing will ever change so much to the point where we’re not still best friends. Later on in life I know I’m going to be able to look back and remember that you were the one who lifted my head when I was losing faith in myself. I know I’m going to remember how you were that one person who knew who I really was. Most importantly, I know I’m going to remember that you were that one person who made the biggest difference in my life.

There really aren't enough words to even begin to describe how much you mean to me. We have the highest expectations for each other and I know that you will be successful in anything you choose to do. Writing this to you is hard, because honestly, I’m scared to admit how truly sad I am to know this will be the end of school with you. There are so many things that I will miss about you next year, from how much of an angel you were to your contagious smile. There’s no one else who can make me laugh so hard that my sides actually begin to kill with pain. I’m going to miss the countless hours we would spend playing Mario Kart and Wii Fit. I’m going to miss you sitting in my kitchen eating cookie after cookie. While you may be one of the craziest individuals that I have ever met in the last 14-and-a-half years of my life, I know you will always be making others laugh if you’re not there making me laugh.You always manage to light up a room. You’ll forever be the life of the party and you never fail at making everything interesting.

It’s going to be hard not being able to run up to each other every day and share our crazy stories or rant about something that just happened during the previous class. I know there will be times after a long day of classes or work when I wish I could just head over to your house, plop down on your bed in your room and play Mario Kart while we talk about our day. I want you to know that whatever happens, whoever you become and whoever the future shapes you to be, I will always be here for you. Whether a drive or a phone call away, I will always be here. We may not be able to spend the next few years seeing each other every day, but I know that you will make a huge impact on those who meet you in the time to come.

The past 14-and-a-half years of my life have been fantastic. I want to thank you for simply being the person you are and for letting me have the honor of being your best friend. I will see you up on that stage when we sit there in the gym at Carrabec High School for the last time together. As soon as we march out that door, you can bet that I will be the first one to run up to you and hug you, and probably cry, and tell you that we made it. Here’s to an amazing future and to a lifelong friendship.

Back to the fairy tale thing for a moment. Now that I think of it, I don’t see why I called our friendship in the beginning a fairy tale. Fairy tales have happy endings, right? Well, our friendship may be a happy one, but it will never have an ending.

Cover Image Credit: Jeff Pouland

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7 Foolproof Ways To Get Yourself Off Your Phone

The expression "time is money" is true because everyone only gets 24 hours of time. Why waste several of those being on your phone?

None of us want to spend five hours on our phones surfing the web. But the phone is like something that calls to us whenever we get a new text or like. Before we know it, it's been a few hours and none of the work on your desk has even been touched. You thought you were only on your phone for a few minutes.

Does this sound familiar?

We all need to get off the grid once in a while, so here are some of the best ways to appreciate the world around you and put that device down for a few hours.

1. Reading

First of all, don't make the mistake of reading on your phone — that's just going to lead to you ending up on something else, and it's also true that reading small print on a device can stress your eyes to the point where your vision may start getting worse.

Instead, use a real paper book when you decide to sit down and read. Take a trip to the library, and ask the librarians or your friends for recommendations.

I actually used to be a complete book child, and a few years ago, that had all changed. I had no patience for books anymore and just didn't read them, instead opting to text my friends or just do schoolwork. Ever since I got into high school, about a year ago, I've found that it is something I do in a boring class or at a time when I can't use my phone, especially after a test. Suddenly, I have something to give to my ADHD high school mind, while everyone else has to settle with looking around or doing even more schoolwork.

Reading has become more important to me than being on phones because it requires a big attention span and demands that you pay attention to the plot, making it that much more exciting. People will wonder why you read so much, but let them pick up a book. They'll understand, just like you did.

2. Making Plans With Friends

You may think that "plans with friends" means that you're going to be posting your status with everyone anyway. But why do we post status? Probably because we want to show off to everyone about how good of a time we're having. It's not necessary at all.

Before you start hanging out with your friends, plan an activity so you won't be bored, such as biking on trails, walking around the neighborhood or even going to the arcade and bowling alley. Of course, you'd still have your phone around for emergencies, but make a pact where everyone will turn off their notifications and never take out their phone. Your good times with your friends may just be better off as secrets because it makes the whole thing more special.

3. DIY Projects

Yeah, this sounds so 2010, but there's a reason that they've been around so long. Nothing is better than showing off something that you made by yourself, whether it's a bracelet, a hat or even clothes.

Funny story, I actually got the idea of making galaxy-printed shoes from a DIY video I watched on Instagram. But there are so many online that you can search up, and I'm telling you, once you start and get the hang of it, you literally won't be able to stop until the final product is finished. Just make sure you don't get hung up on something else while you're looking for ideas. You may learn how to knit, embroider or properly paint!

SEE ALSO: 7 Eye-Catching Crafts That Anyone Can Master And Everyone Will Appreciate

4. Playing An Instrument

Some instrumentalists may tell you that practice is the worst thing ever, but get this: just because you sit down on the piano bench, unpack your guitar or assemble your flute, doesn't mean you have to actively practice something that your teacher gave you. I always try making a cover of my favorite song with the techniques I've learned over the years. You may even get to the point where you perform your own covers!

For people who do not play an instrument, get this: many of the top artists today are not classically trained in whatever instrument they play. Instead, they just picked up the instrument and taught themselves how to play it with the occasional help of a tutorial or lesson book. One of the easiest instruments to pick up is the guitar, and you can start strumming your own songs within a month with just picking up a few chords. It's great to know that you're the one making this music, not some music-playing device.

5. Playing Around With Makeup/Outfits

While this is mostly for girls, boys may find that they enjoy doing this as well! There is a point in high school when most girls are pressured to put on makeup just to see what they can do to cover up their flaws. But it doesn't always have to be a corrector: I have friends who actually use makeup to do new and interesting looks on their faces, and you can use it just to see how weird or movie-starry you can make yourself look!

Outfits are another story. If you can, going clothes shopping is an awesome way to get off your device and see if a new look is in order. You don't even have to post — wait until you get to school so everyone can see it for real the first time!

6. Playing Sports

If you aren't a sports player, STOP! Don't scroll down.

You don't have to be part of a team or league to get out and start shooting some hoops. Sports are something that many people do for fun when they're bored. True, some sports may require you to have a few other people, so if you do, that's great. But things like basketball, running, golf and sometimes even soccer can be played alone. The more people there are, the more fun you'll have.

7. Motivating Yourself To Get Some Work Done

Some of us hate it, some of us accept it and if it's something we love, we enjoy it. Nevertheless, it is something that absolutely needs to be done. You can motivate yourself by treating yourself to a meal after an hour or even sitting around doing nothing (with time, you may consider even reading a treat!). The one condition is, do not under any circumstances let your reward be using your phone. We all know where that will end.

The sense of accomplishment in getting your work done and sitting back is truly amazing and doing it without any distractions is equally amazing. And while you're at it, don't think of any type of work, whether it's washing the dishes, studying for the test tomorrow or finishing your business report, as something that is time-consuming and useless.

Perspective is everything.

Our world today is growing into an increasingly technological place, but a fear nearly everyone has thought about is what if everyone stops interacting and becomes so engrossed in their technology that they forget to step back and take a break from their fast-paced life? What if I die, still working on that last report or checking the news?

You need your phone, but you also need a real life with it. And that's something you can only accomplish by putting the device down and picking up something else, if it's a violin, a basketball or a book.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels // Tirachard Kumtanom

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