When was the last time you had an in person conversation? Voluntarily? Longer than 5 minutes? Deeper than small talk? For me, it was yesterday at 1 am with my nephew. We spoke about the difficulties of staying on track with school and work but the importance of planning your future. What threw me for a loop was that he checked his phone various times throughout the conversation.
He is a true blue “Millennial” born in 1997, addicted to his phone, and posting the perfect picture of his beautiful Camaro on Instagram. I am no saint to similar habits…I am addicted to silly SnapChat filters, my WhatsApp girls group is constantly buzzing, and I can’t even deal when someone doesn’t text me back in 5 minutes. However, I do my damnedest to put my phone away during a date and when I’m with my family. I also avoid taking it out at concerts, or on an evening out, to enjoy my time rather than feeling the need to document every second. The addiction to staying connected is very real, but at what cost? The fear of missing out on everything has us missing out on what is right in front of us.
I constantly look around when I am out for lunch or coffee and I can’t help but be exposed to multiple couples, or groups of friends, that are staring into a screen rather than interacting. Often times, I also find people under 30 with an incapability to communicate without technology. It is not often that I sit across someone on a date and they can carry a conversation that is deeper than “What do you do for a living?”
A friend of mine once stated “You can’t ask someone about aliens right away.” To that I say why the hell not?! If you enjoy profound conversation about things that are out of the ordinary then why not have them? If the person sitting across from you is uncomfortable then they probably won’t be in your life very long.
Staying off your phone and creating genuine interaction with someone isn’t something that should need to be addressed but rather practiced. I watched a TED Talks speaker addressing issues with Millennials and how a big part of the problem is how we were raised and society’s influence on our behavior. I agree…to an extent. Society plays a huge role in the way the game is played but it is up to the individual to move the pieces. It takes a conscious effort from someone who wants to be open in communication to prioritize human connection over technology. So I challenge anyone reading this to set down your phone and have a meaningful conversation with someone today and every day. Be the difference.