In this age of electronics, it is one of the hardest things we have to do, but do it we must. When you are with other people who are important to you, be all there. That means put your phone away, stop playing video games for a while, just be with them. Undistracted. Interested. All There.
I found that when I went to dinner with my group of friends, I always ended up checking my phone throughout the evening–and so did they. So it was a group of people sitting around a table looking at glowing rectangular devices and the closest we were getting to good conversation was sharing something someone put on Facebook.
I decided I would put my phone away when I reached my destination and unless I was waiting for a message or needed it to schedule our next outing, I was going to leave it put away until I was leaving. The difference is amazing.
Actually having a conversation with other people is fun! You learn things about them you may not have known before and you share knowledge (sometimes without even realizing it). The best thing about conversations with good friends is that it motivates you. You want to be better, do better, live better, and spend more time with them. They are the charge to my always-in-the-red-zone battery.
We all need to be recharged from time to time and it certainly won’t come from Candy Crush or the ridiculous drama that is Facebook. It comes from human interaction. Interaction requires ACTION. You can’t just sit in a room with people and absorb their energy. You have to get to know them, talk to them, listen to them, invite them to be part of your life.
Just test it out. When you are out with your spouse, significant other, or a friend, put your phone away and leave it there. For the most part, anyone trying to get you can wait an hour or two. There are settings at least on the iPhone where you can make people VIPs and then if they try to call you something like twice in a row, it rings through, so you can figure out if your phone has something similar if you are worried about missing something really important. Here’s an article about that feature.
The problem is that back in the day, you couldn’t get people who were out with friends because their phones were at home . . . on the wall . . . with really long curly cords. Later, you could leave a message for them, but you had to wait for them to call you back. Somehow we all survived. We lived through it even though we didn’t get a response to something within two minutes. Just relax. If it isn’t an emergency, it will still be there when you’re finished. If it is an emergency, you can work on figuring out a way to receive that call.
Your friends and family deserve your full attention. They deserve to get ALL of the time they spend with you, because you never know when that time will be taken away from you. They DESERVE for you to Be. All. There.