Disconnect to Reconnect: I Dare You

This is a PSA (public service announcement) for all those attached to their electronic devices while in the presence of friends and loved ones:


A long time friend of mine came over the other night. We hadn't seen each other in over a year, but I remembered everything he told me from our last phone conversation (which was a couple of months ago), so it was like we had just seen each other. We were able to pick right back up from where we left off and fill each other in on all the details of our lives. After he left, I realized neither of us had paid much attention to our phones the entire night. He received a text (and briefly checked it on our way into a restaurant) and I got out my phone at the end of the night to show him some photos, but neither of us spent any time scrolling through social media or having long texting conversations with other people. I was pretty impressed by how we spent our time together. It felt meaningful and I greatly valued our conversation.

After that evening, I started to think about all of the people that I've been around that continuously scroll on social media or text others. It is very disheartening.

How many times have you been around a person and their phone or watch or some other electronic device they have on them keeps beeping or buzzing?  The person will look at their device and you can instantly feel them sending you a message that what you are saying is not important to them. When it happens to me, I actually can see their brain switch from what I'm saying to what they expect the text to say. When this happens time and time again with the same person, it makes me do an inventory of my time. I end up coming to the conclusion that I either need to speak up and ask them not to do this (because some people are clueless) or I need to spend less time with this person.

Believe it or not, you can't actually put your full attention into both conversations (electronic and in-person). There's research to back this up. Here's an article from CNN that discusses multi-tasking (which is what you are doing when you are trying to have the text conversation and the in-person conversation at the same time). Only about 2% of the population can truly multi-task, and I bet you probably aren't one of those genetically gifted humans.

We are at our best when we are putting our full attention into one thing at a time. It's a fact. Do you really think Olympians are thinking of a million other things when they are trying to win a race? No. They are concentrating on the one thing, being first, and that is how they are so good at what they do. I like to listen to my friends and family when they are around me. Listening is such a big part of human connection and I believe we all need to work hard to do better at this.

Now you may wonder, how can I work to get better at this? Here is the easiest way to do it: Leave your phone in your pocket or purse. It won't walk away and leave you forever (I promise). It will be there when you are alone again.

Here's my challenge to you:

I dare you to disconnect from the tech world when in the presence of your loved ones and truly listen. I feel this is a sign of showing you truly love the person and care about what they say. And who doesn't want to do that!?

Now, if you are waiting on an important call and need to keep your phone out, that's completely understandable. Just tell the person you are around so they know your time could be interrupted. I will also tell you that getting out your phone to share a video, website, photos, or to take a selfie is also cool. But, try to limit this as well if you are involved in deep conversation with someone.

Carolyn Braden Disconnect to Reconnect.jpg