“Get off your phone!”
“What are you looking at!”
“Did you hear me?”
We have all said these phrases to each other. Typically, it is out of frustration or desire for attention. You are really asking someone to recognize me, pay attention, and see me.
We are craving attention. Yes, more than ever but as we are to look for each other we look at our devices and ignore each other. It is sad but true.
The square device (the phone) is invading relationships and becoming the third wheel in partnerships. Promise. I won’t go too negative but let’s be honest we are struggling to connect with our partners and the people around us.
I point to the introduction of the text message. The simple text changed our way of
communicating. It put our language into abbreviations, short phrases, and emojis. The text took away the phone call and replaced it with ‘lol’, ‘k’, and ‘OMW’. We use the text to avoid verbal communications and replace it with sweet nothing messages. Then came messenger programs that can send GIFs and stickers. Now we share our thoughts through Elmo on fire or celebrities saying funny phrases. It’s not really what they are saying but how they are replacing the verbal ‘Hi’. You may not have noticed the change but I have and blame it for the unraveling of our personal relationships.
Why? When a text comes through, I witness people feeling compulsive to answer. I believe they feel if the message sits too long the person on the other side will feel alone or lose it because the text sat without a response. Even though a text doesn’t have an emotion, it sends one and the exchange connects two people through a device and separates the living from the tech friends. The living is waiting for you, too.
If we are not fighting text messages, it’s the alerts, notifications, the feeds, or just the pure unidentified addiction to the device. The device tells us everything. It is our best friend and programmers have coded it that way to make you feel that your device understands you. Over the years, companies have studied you and their products and matched the two of you. They have customized your device to be your therapist, fitness trainer, dietitian, librarian, entertainer, and so much more.
They created the perfect partner. A partner who will not yell at you or give you orders. No. Your device is everything. Your best friend. Your partner.
I will admit that I own one and have to monitor my usage. I struggle, too. We all do. We invited this new partner in and don’t know what to do with it.
We need it for everything. For directions, connections, apps, messages, emails, etc. But as much as we need it, we need to put it away for awhile to connect with people.
People need people. People need to talk to each other. People need to see people. People need to laugh with each other. People need to share with each other. People need people.
Where am I going with this? I am asking for singles and partners to put the phone to the side and invite your partner to your relationship.
You may be reading this in shock and experiencing feelings of anxiety but if you want to live in the world your device has to go away for a moment and you can come back into your life.
The best part of this post is you will read all of this and go nope not me. I do it all the time. I will deny my usage. Time passes and I finally realize hours have passed or I sent a text during an important conversation with my kid or I was watching a movie and I looked up something on IMDB then scrolled Facebook for 15 minutes. It happens. We all do it. But just because everyone does it means it is okay. No way.
I guess I am asking people DARE To SAY NO to Devices. Date Device Free. You roll your eyes. Yes, device free dates. Now start slow and increase your time away from your device.
You may need to start at 2 minutes then 10. Whatever you need to start, start building up your tolerance until you can go without your device for 2 to 3 hours because that is how long a date is. PRACTICE.
You may need to ask a living friend what they have observed about your tech connection. They may be harsh but they will speak the truth about your usage.
PANIC! What if someone texts, messages, or calls while on a detox, it will be okay. It can wait. You can always set up a text alert that you are on a date and not to worry. If someone calls, let the call roll to voicemail and anything like notifications can wait. You are like really??You are asking me to say no to my bestie. Yes on dates, put in away in your purse with no sound or vibrations, leave it in your car, put it in another room if you are having a house date. DATE DEVICE FREE FOR A MOMENT!!
Since I am figuring you have a device and have unidentified attachment issues, I will leave you with several DEVICE FREE date suggestions.
Simple Device Free TIPS
Turn the phone off
Put the device far from you
Store it somewhere that it makes it hard to reach
Refrain from taking photos on a date until the end
At the movies, follow the rules
Photos of food are weird don’t join the movement
Go somewhere that you won’t think about your best friend
Promise to your date to put it away
Refrain from conversations that give you urges to look at your phone.
Don’t take it with you! There was a time when people didn’t carry phones everywhere and people lived. So using that research I believe if you leave the tech world for 2 to 3 hours your best friend will still be there
So after reading this, practice DEVICE FREE DATES! I told you how. Now go do it.