Disclaimer: I realize that everything you are about to read is a complete contradiction, since I am sitting on an airplane writing this on my tablet and listening to Spotify on my iPhone, and you are most likely reading this on your computer or smart phone, but hear me out!
I have been traveling alone for just over a month now and one thing that I love to do on my travels is people watch. Human interaction is such an interesting (and oftentimes completely awkward) thing to observe. When I am in airports or waiting for my next meeting in student centers across the nation, I can’t help but notice one overwhelming thing: we are obsessed with our technology. Other than cancelled flights, I don’t think I’ve seen people so angry as when they cannot connect to the internet.
Whatever your favorite form of social media is, whether it be Facebook, Snapchat, or Instagram, our society has become so dependent with being constantly updated with the world around us. Unfortunately, one thing people tend to forget is the world right in front of us. I am also guilty of this, especially being on the road. I am constantly texting people back home, setting up video call dates with my close friends, family and boyfriend, and trying to up my game on the Insta to make sure my life looks exciting when collegians creep on my social media accounts to find all the dirt on their new leadership consultant.
Consistently when I go out to eat with people or even just watch humans in group settings, I would bet at least 80-90% of them have a phone in their hand to snap the next funny moment, scroll Instagram or Facebook for the fourth time (in case something new had posted in the last 20 minutes) or text/email someone about what is happening in the current moment.
Don’t get me wrong, I love that we have the opportunities to stay so connected to those that we are close to, regardless of how far in distance they actually are. However, I am making a new goal for myself: to fully connect with those sitting across the table from me. Most of my job requires technology, but I am going to strive to put the phone and tablet away during every meal and during the hangout times that I sometimes get the luxury of enjoying. This includes when I get to go home to see my friends and family. I am going to invest in the moment that I am in and fully engage with the people right in front of me.
My challenge for all of you reading this is to do the same. Take time out of your day to disconnect from the technology. Start a conversation with the person you pass every day in the elevator on the way to work. Offer to eat lunch or grab coffee with a co-worker rather than sitting alone to watch all of the Snapchat stories from that morning. Make every dinner time a “no phone zone” and talk about how people’s days went. Everyone has such different backgrounds and stories and we will never learn from those if we have a screen creating an invisible wall to those around us.
So, I’m going to turn this off now, and go have some real connections.
Until next time,