By Erin Mack
In this day and age, cell phones have become almost part of a person’s body. It’s not surprising — we text, we call, we email, we Facebook, we tweet, we Google, and it’s all at the tips of our fingers. I can say I’m guilty of this in many ways. I almost always have my phone on my body, whether its connected to my hand or ear or in my back pocket. On a rare occasion I will leave it in my purse, but even then it’s on. (Unless it’s out of battery, it’s probably on.)
Why is it that I feel that I’m so important that I need to be accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week regardless of whether I’m at work, out for a run, sleeping, or (the worst of them all) at a social engagement with other people?
Though I will admit that sometimes I think it’s necessary to have your phone handy — for instance, if you are waiting for people to meet up with you and you’re expecting a call or text for directions — but most often this is not the case.
It’s so important to know when to put the phone down.
And yet, I’m sure we all know “that person” that just can’t part with their phone. (Maybe it’s even us!)
One of my biggest pet peeves is when you’re hanging out with someone, especially when you’re one-on-one, and they can’t seem to take their phone out of their hand.
Consider this. You meet a friend out for dinner. They show up, you say hello, and they immediately put their phone on the table at the restaurant.
It automatically signals, to me, that the plans they made with me are somehow less important than their need to check Facebook, Instagram, Four Square, Twitter, text messages, or whatever else they are doing on their phones.
In moments like those, I think I’d rather actually eat alone, because I feel like that’s what I’m doing anyway — waiting for the person I’m dining with to look up from his or her phone and engage in an actual conversation with me, the actual person who is sitting across the table from them.
Psychologists who conducted experiments at Essex University believe mobile phones automatically trigger thoughts about wider social networks, reducing the level of empathy and understanding in face-to-face conversations. Seriously.
Based upon my own personal experiences, even just seeing that phone out on the table triggers an immediate feeling of annoyance and rejection; does the person across the table from me thinks I’m just “ok” company, but not great enough to give me their full attention?
This seemingly small thing has affected some of my relationships and, as a result, I choose not to hang out with certain people unless I can mentally prepare myself for their constant phone checks.
I’m sure I’m not the only person who feels this way. The next time you’re out with a friend or two, keep in mind who you’d really like to hang out with: your friends? Or your phone?
I love staying active. Biking, running, and hiking with friends, coaching track, going to the gym, doing yoga, camping… the list goes on. Chances are, if it’s something that can be done outside in weather above 50 degrees, I’m probably doing it, or interested in trying it! I love going to wineries, hanging out with friends, and chatting (especially with a drink in hand), and scrapbooking. I’m also obsessed with dogs, including my two yellow labs, Jake and Taz. Find me over at my blog, erinHasThoughts, or my fashion blog, EHT247.
This article was originally posted at erinHasThoughts. Republished with permission.