One of my biggest pet peeves is when people are on their phones around company, especially during one on one interactions. I know this topic has been beaten to death, but I’m going to take yet another stab at it.
The strange thing is: it really doesn’t surprise me when a friend starts using their phone mid-conversation. I almost expect it. And when a friend DOESN’T get on their phone, I’m awestruck. When did something that was once just a common decency become an admired trait?
I get it. I do it too sometimes. I gotta take a photo of my food from 23948 different angles. Sometimes I have to check my work email… sometimes I have to respond to someone about something. However, that doesn’t change the fact that I feel like a total asshole doing it. Picking up your phone during a conversation signals a complete disregard of the other person’s time, what their presence means to you. What are they supposed to do while you’re taking care of your phone errands? Stare blankly at the blue light reflecting off your face?
What’s worse is when someone asks you to look at their phone. (sigh) No – I don’t want to look at your phone screen to see a YouTube video that took you 10 minutes to find. I would rather just talk to you.
We’ve established this: a LOT of us do it. However, it’s important to recognize when you’re doing it because it’s disrespectful. If we recognize it more, we can better change our behavior. And there’s something great about being in the moment with company that we often forget about.
Like I said, I’m borderline inspired by friends who don’t reach for their phones when we’re hanging out. (Even though that should just be expected, right?)
Take Katey, for example, (she’s going to probably feel strange reading this), but her job is to connect with people online. Her job is social media and staying connected. However, when you hang out with Katey, she gives you 1000% of her time and attention. At first it blew my mind and made me a little nervous, but ultimately, it made me feel valuable as a human being. So if she can manage to do it, I think the rest of us can too.
With notifications and text messages, we’re plagued by this sense of urgency for things that are… not that urgent. It’s important to take a step back and employ a little bit of Aretha Franklin’s R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
So, personally… I’ve stopped keeping my phone at arm’s length. I keep it in my purse. I wear a watch so I can check the time. I’ve turned off notifications. If I need to check my phone, I make sure I apologize to whoever I’m with. And you know what? I have more meaningful interactions.
Be in the moment. Value the time of others. You’re not the president. That text message can wait.