A couple of nights ago I went out with some friends. When I got there they told me there was a bet going on. Everyone had to put their phones in the middle of the table and the first person to pick theirs up had to buy the next round of beer. My eyes lit up and I immediately put my phone on top. That night we actually had hours of conversation without any texts/snapchats/tweets or statuses. It was awesome.
The best part was, these were complete strangers that had started the bet.
For some reason this was the highlight of my week and couldn't have aligned better with what has been on my mind lately: the loss of human communication.
Today, we have so many means of communicating with people that we are losing the ability to have a decent face-to-face conversation with someone without checking our phones.
The truth is, there is no way to fully understand a person if the only means of communication are through technology. We are humans and we have emotions. It's time to schedule more lunch dates, pick up the phone every once in a while and stop hiding behind Facebook messages, tweets or texts.
After reading the winter issue of Darling Magazine, this quote stuck out to me:
"Creating a positive future begins in human conversation."
The relationships that are fostered through actual human conversation are important and we need to treat them as such.
Here are a few things we can take to make sure that we are fully present this year.
Make time for in person lunch or dinner dates.
Whether it's catching up on the week or diving deep into conversations about your passion, show those that matter to you that you are fully interested and committed to what they are saying. If you can't physically meet up with them, take some down time to call someone just to say hi. (And don't text or be on Facebook while you're on the phone with them.)
Leave your phones in the car. (Or make a bet!)
When you go out or have people over for a party, BE at the party. Realistically, everyone probably won't agree on leaving their phones because of our attachment to technology. But, it's worth a shot. See what it is like when we had no distractions and all you had to socialize with were the people in front of you. It actually happened back in the day. If you're like the group of friends I went out with, turn it into a bet. The next round won't be on you, right?
Don't be afraid to open up.
Vulnerability is necessary in healthy relationships. if you're not comfortable opening up on personal issues, choose an issue that everyone can input their opinions on, even if it's a touchy subject. Quoted from the Darling article that inspired this post, "openness to new ideas allows learning to take place." If you don't agree, hear them out and back up your reasoning. But make sure you're never putting someone down for what they believe in.
Say hi to strangers.
I love encounters with people that I don't know that have a significant impact on my day. While you're waiting in line at the store or in a waiting room somewhere, strike up a conversation with the person next to you. Everyone has a story to tell and sometimes all we need is someone to listen.
This year, make time for people. Invest in meaningful conversations and detach from your phone more often. Your friends will thank you and you'll probably develop deeper relationships with the ones you surround yourself with. It's a really great feeling.