I love technology. However, I know when to put my phone away, and so should you. Knowing when to put away your phone, and getting your face out of your computer will give you a strong advantage over others your age. While their heads are buried in their phones, texting their two friends “k” and “y,” you will be out meeting and winning over new people, and getting more dates.
So, why take a break?
1: Texting Can Hurt “Read World” Interactions
Recently I attended an event in a local park. My family invited our friend’s daughter, who is a teenager. She and her friend came along to this big event in the park. There were people everywhere. What did they do? They sat in the corner of the park texting people. Then, on the way home, they complained about never meeting people.
Your phone is a great way to connect socially. So is your computer and tablet. However, all that texting can limit your actual connections with people face-to-face. Texting is cool, and so is messaging on Facebook, but humans are still humans. We need and crave intimate contact. In other words, all that data being sent back-and-forth can’t fill that deep desire we have for a one-on-one personal connection.
Having your head buried in your phone can be a way to cover for shyness and anxiety. In this way, it can act as a crutch. The minute you get uncomfortable socially, out comes the phone. However, with a built-in crutch that you can carry with you (and, which includes Angry Birds), you are never going to feel like pushing beyond your discomfort and take a social risk. Without taking a social risk, you aren’t going to meet new people or get that date you want.
So, I am not anti-technology. I am just saying that if technology gets in the way of meeting people and advancing socially (what humans are supposed to do!), then it is time to take a breather. Doing so will give you an advantage. While everybody else is being shy, texting in the corner, you will be out winning over new people…see, less competition!
2. You Miss Out On The Moment
It was a beautiful, autumn night. The sky was a quilt of stars, and the crisp fall air swept leaves across the country road. As we drove by, with windows down, Mumford and Sons was blaring, providing a soundtrack to our time together. I was there, and so was my brother. However, my friend was not. Sure, he was sitting beside us, but he wasn’t there. His head was buried in his phone. Conversations were a pain, since nobody could finish a sentence without his phone buzzing. I have seen crack addicts with less desire for their drug. In fact, some studies show that smart phones are just addicting as drugs (kind of like this kid below!)
If you want to live life to the fullest, you have to be in the moment. Eastern religions call this mindfulness. Mindfulness is being fully aware of the present moment, non-judgmentally. It means taking in the wonder of the present moment, with all the people, experiences, and feelings involved. Studies show that being mindful has many benefits, including a decrease in stress, lower blood pressure, and higher performance academically and athletically.
When your face is buried in your phone or screen, you are often not “in the moment.” You are somewhere else. The minute you begin to connect with the moment, or the people in it, your phone buzzes and you are transported somewhere else. This shows the people you are with at that moment that you don’t really care about them. It also means that you aren’t going to connect emotionally with the people you are with. This could be why some people text all day but are desperately lonely and depressed. Strings of data do not fulfill the human desire to be present with others.
On a more practical level, being present with people will give you a huge social advantage. People are used to be ignored, by their parents, friends, and society. If you can provide a little bit of attention, you will win them over immediately. I do it all the time. Wherever I go, people flock to me. It is because I give them attention, and make them laugh, smile, and feel good. However, if you are buried in your screen, you can’t give them the kind of attention that will win them over.
So, while I love my phone, I know that there are times to take a break. So leave your friend waiting for that “k.” Let them wait. You are in the moment, having fun, and meeting new people.