Present vs. Current
We don't stare at our phones because we're bored. We stare at them because we are starving for connection.
There have been moments - hours or days, even - where you didn't stare at your phone, check Instagram real quick, open your email app, or read Twitter. Time went by and then all of a sudden you realized that you had been disconnected from so much.
Or had you?
Not counting when you're sleeping, if you went for such a span sans cell phone, it was most likely because you were connected or engrossed in something: work, art, a meal, conversation, exercise, love. And while you were at it, neither connection nor attention were lacking.
Our phones haven't become boredom-preventers. They are connection-inhibitors. They're not leading us to deeper relationships; they're preventing them.
If I'm in the middle of a sentence, and someone I'm speaking with looks at their phone, I'll pause until I have their eyes again. I don't place my phone on the dinner table during a meal. And if a call comes in while I'm doing focused work or having a meaningful moment with a friend or my fiancé, I'll ignore the call and deliberately choose what's right in front of me.
It hasn't been easy; neither am I perfect at any of these behaviors. But by choosing in-person connections over instantaneous distraction, I'm finding what it truly means to be connected to someone.
It might be difficult to keep up, but it's easy to start. Here are 10 places you shouldn't look at/bring your phone so you can focus on what's right in front of you:
- Art (movie, museum, play)
- Walk around the neighborhood
- Company meetings
- Picking your kid up from school
- Anywhere that being present matters more than being current