Tomorrow’s Thanksgiving which normally means we’re eating a lot and getting together with family. Maybe we’ve seen the family recently, or maybe relatives are flying in from far away. Either way, the whole purpose of the day is to give thanks. For food. For family. For love. For life. We are sharing each other’s company because it’s an important holiday in our history.
So why then, if it’s so important, are we glued to our phones?
Look, I don’t know. I think it’s because of two reasons. One: we’re absolutely addicted to our phones. Two: we just don’t see how it impacts our surroundings.
Let’s look at number one first, though.
How much time do you spend on your phone in a day? A week? A year? It’s probably a lot more than you think. If we clocked each second we looked at our phone, I think a sense of shame would wash over us. We spend a lot of time on our phones. Needlessly opening and closing it like a fridge. Scrolling through social media to see what’s happening in the world. To entertain our minds.
There is a problem with this though. There is a world around us. Why are we on our phones?
I don’t think any of us actively woke up one day thinking, “I know! I’ll get too sucked into my phone and forget about reality” because why would we? Losing touch with reality isn’t something we set out to do . Especially when we realize how many problems stem from losing touch with reality.
What problems, you ask. Lemme lend a hand. False expectations. Lowered self-esteem. Anxiety and depressive disorders. Lack of patience. Increase in anger. Need for instant gratification. Hunger for drama (unstable relationships). It’s an addiction.
Enter the solution:
Put the phone down.
Thanksgiving is a good time for this. In later articles, I’ll talk more in depth about the problems phones and technology can bring. But for tomorrow, maybe even today. Put your phone down. Turn it off. Tuck it away.
I recognize that it is a coping device for social anxiety except that it isn’t. It isn’t the healthy way to deal with social situations and in fact can make them significantly worse. So, buckle down and put the phone away. Learn to enjoy the company of those around you.
You don’t always have to engage in conversation. Remember that it’s completely fine to sit back, snack, watch, and listen. That’s fine! If you have something to say, say it. If not, just enjoy what is around you. But do it without your phone.
For one whole day, (holidays are great for this) just leave it alone.
Second of all, it’s plain rude. It’s disrespectful.
I understand that not everyone understands this. Not all of us have been taught this and sometimes, because of generational gaps and the strong influence of technology, we just aren’t really made aware of it.
But the truth of the matter is this:
Being on your phone while in conversation, at a get together, or while eating is disgustingly disrespectful.
The message you are conveying is this, “You are not important enough for me to devote my full attention to.” And that’s very nasty. What you’re saying is that there is something much more important to you than spending time with family. Having a meal together. Having a conversation.
And if this is the case…you have to reevaluate yourself. Your priorities. Your attitude and your addiction.
Considering that Thanksgiving is about devoting time and attention to loved ones and the hardwork that has gone into the meals, that phone should be nowhere in sight. So again, we have the same solution. Put down the phone.
I don’t want to come across as an old-school, “phones are bad” kind of person. Because they have a lot of fun things, a lot of benefits. But not really in this setting.
Aside from pulling it out to show someone a picture (hello benefit) or video, just leave it in your purse, pocket, the car, or….gasp… at home. I know, how could I suggest something so heinous?
I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news here, but your phone isn’t that important.
How could I?! Well, because it’s true.
What is important? What could possibly be more important than our phone?
I’m going to cut to the chase on this one. They’ll die someday. All right, I know. Harsh. But that’s the thing of it isn’t it? Why should I beat around the bush by saying you should cherish the time, appreciate their presence, listen to their stories? It’s more selfish than that. You should create memories with them. You should absorb their mannerisms, imprint them in your brain. Create something that you can have when they are gone. In the even you die first, give them something of you to have when your body is no longer.
Do you want them to remember you hunched over a phone mumbling “yeah” every so often? Do you want to remember the sorrow on their face as they think you don’t have time to spare for an old person?
I worked in a senior resident facility. That look is real. Grow up. Get off your phone.
I know, I know. Conversation isn’t always that great especially for those of us who are introverted and would rather not. But, introverts don’t hate having conversations. All being introverted means is that we charge our batteries when we are alone, not when we’re at gatherings. Introverts can be bubbly too, you know.
For instance, I’m an introvert and a writer (doesn’t get more hermit-esque than that) and I love going to talk to people. You can learn so much. You can make meaningful connections. You can steal tools from people this way and better yourself. That’s magical to me. That’s a huge part of existing, doing all those things. Why would I choose scrolling through Instagram over that?
The world is out there. It’s beautiful. But I won’t describe it to you because you ought to see it for yourself. And you can experience it at any time of the day, any day of the year! How weird is that? We are part of nature. We exist within it. So why aren’t we enjoying it? Going for walks? Running, biking, working out outside? Why are we choosing to be inside on our phones, in a bland white and blue little world?
I don’t know.
So you tell me. Is your phone more important than these things tomorrow, any day?