Most everyone nowadays has a smartphone they carry with them at all times. It’s become like a lifeline to the universe; an ongoing and instant connection to friends and family who aren’t present.
People compulsively check their phone for incoming texts or mail. Sometimes on early morning subway rides I’m entertained watching everyone in silence with eyes transfixed on their phones….that is, when I am not doing the same.
What is less entertaining is seeing couples out together who forego talking in the interest of texting their friends, or perhaps even playing online games. Do they have nothing to say to each other, or are they just distracted?
The other day I was having an important conversation when my friend picked up his phone as I was mid-sentence. Not only was I hurt by the apparent lack of interest (especially in light of what was being discussed), but I totally lost my train of thought. He apologized and we moved on, but it was a poignant reminder of how “attention challenged” we’ve become. Not only do we write in short sound bites must we speak in sound bites too?
Listening has always been an important way of showing respect. But in a society where it has become more difficult for people to show their undivided attention, is real listening worth more? Or should we accept this as a new norm and share information differently? If so, how?
I am listening to your ideas. Bring them on. In the mean time, for those whose relationships are suffering due to technology, here are some tips you could find useful.