I’m the first one to admit that I’m on my Blackberry far too often, especially when I’m actually hanging out with someone in person. Social Media and Social Networking has been slowly taking over our attention span and we have to take a stand and do something about it. Never will a day come when an online conversation beats a face-to-face IRL (in real life) conversation in a one-on-one battle. Sure, social apps like Twitter and Facebook allow us to keep in touch with multiple people with a simple “like” or “tweet”, but it doesn’t completely replace the hug when you greet someone, the sharing of laughter, or fact that you can look in each other’s eyes while you talk.
For a while I was able to justify the time I spent on my phone because, well, it’s my job to be on these social networks. So I would be at dinner with friends or family and responding to tweets and DMs (direct messages on Twitter) while they ate; I would be at the movies with my girlfriend and updating my Facebook status while she sat there and watched the previews; and I would be checking into Foursquare and reading nearby tips while my friend sat and drank coffee. I wasn’t only being completely rude to the people I care about, but I was also robbing myself of these precious moments that honestly won’t be around forever.
So I decided to take a step back and reassess my choices, and that’s when I came up with these 5 reasons to put my damn phone down when I’m supposed to be spending moments with people in real life:
(I’m saying these things to myself, but I’m sure you can relate if you’re reading this post)
1) Your friend in real life is more important than your online friends at that moment
Sure, your online friends might also be real life friends, but they’re not more important than the person you’re hanging out with at the time. You got together with that friend for a reason right? Well then be with that friend, giving him/her your full attention. When you leave, get right back on your phone if you want, but you owe it to them and their time to put your damn phone down.
2) Your family doesn’t get to see you very often
If you’re like most people, you don’t see your family very often. So when they come into town or you go back home, which kind of message do you want to leave them with: “I actually care more about my online friends than I do about you low-lifes” or “Wow, I’m so happy I was able to spend such quality time with you all. I know it’s getting harder and harder for us to get together, so I’m happy we spent this time wisely together”? Yes of course it’s the second one, so put your damn phone down and hang out with the people who gave so much of their time to you growing up.
3) You aren’t THAT important
I know, you have 100,000 followers on Twitter and 7,000 fans on Facebook – so what. Those people will be there tomorrow right? What’s that you say? It’s important to get back to everyone within a short amount of time? Well how do they know you’re not taking a shower, a nap, or EATING LUNCH WITH YOUR FRIEND! People are forgiving, allow yourself to just chill out a bit. As a matter of fact, take charge of your time. Tell everyone that you’re going to be having lunch with an old friend for the next hour, so if they need something you’ll respond after lunch. How great would that be for your friend at lunch? Plus, it would tell your online friends that you value relationships. Remember, you’re not THAT important, so put your damn phone down.
4) Your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife deserve more from you
These people aren’t #2 or #3 in your life for a reason, right? Then stop making them feel like they are! When you’re on your phone instead of being with them, it shows that you care more about something/someone else than you do about them at that moment. Show some consideration and put your damn phone down before they chuck it out the window.
5) Your real life friends and family may break up with you
Think about it, would you want to hang out with you when you’re on the phone the entire time you’re hanging out? Even if it’s not the entire time, it feels like it is to that other person. They feel like you have more important things to do instead of hanging out with them. So next time you ask if they want to hang out don’t be surprised if they blow you off. It’s not worth losing a friend over. Trust me, it’s much more bearable to lose a “Facebook friend” than a real friend. Put your damn phone down so you don’t lose the people you love.
This post is meant to be lighthearted, but it’s also a serious reminder. It’s no secret that our attention is being bombarded with advertisements and branding ploys (possibly one reason for the increase in the number of ADD/ADHD children???). If we don’t develop good habits now, we might just lose out on really great moments with the people we love.
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