How often do you sit and have a one-to-one conversation with someone? (Without you both having one eye on your phone). Think back. Did you manage it today? This week? This month? It’s hard to know isn’t it. We have conversations all day long. At work, at the pub, at the shops, at home, at the school gates. But they normally take place while lots of other tasks are happening. While you’re sending emails, making food, scrolling on your phone, looking after the kids or thinking about what to have for dinner. When do you ever sit and look at the whites of someones eyes and be 100% present in just that conversation?
It’s something that I thought about during the interview I did with the lovely Josh Astrop of the Audio Works Podcast It was a point that Josh made during the interview:
“How often do you have an hour conversation with one person? Very rarely I imagine……How long are you ever engaged with one person? It just doesn’t happen now. I don’t speak to anyone as much as I do my podcast guests.”
It was one of the few times I could remember where I had that level of concentration on just that conversation and part of that was because there was a microphone in front of us.
So why are we so preoccupied? It’s like the more technology we have to make our lives easier, the busier we become. Conversations with people are shorter, they are in emoji form rather than words. We might have 1086 “friends” on facebook but can’t maintain meaningful relationships with even a handful of people. We’re more connected but less connected. This way of living doesn’t lend itself well to creating happy, healthy people. If anything, it’ll create a society of anxious, narcissistic, depressed people.
What the fuck do we do?
One of my friends has ditched her smart phone. She did it to see if she could. She knew it would be a challenge:
“It took about a month to get out of the habit of documenting everything. I’ve noticed how people randomly scroll mid conversation. They don’t even realise they’re doing it. I have been able to daydream and actually relax instead of having my phone to distract me. My eyes are better, my stress levels are reduced. My brain has exploded with realisation….. Technology can stop advancing now, it’s boring me.”
I see the benefit of living without a smart phone but being a blogger and building a business prohibits that a bit at the moment. I mentioned in Less Photos, More Memories about how destructive the competitive nature of social media can be but I hadn’t realised just how un-mindful I have become. Even writing this blog post, I have picked up my phone, maybe 20 times. I’m not even joking. To reply to messages, change the song, post on instagram, google something. No wonder it’s taken me so long to write!
One of my goals for 2018 is to connect with loved ones properly, on a deeper level so what am I going to do to achieve actually that?
- Allocate an hour time slot per day for social media and log out of the apps during the the day.
- Turn my phone off at 10pm and only turn it back on after I’m up and dressed.
- Leave my phone at home. If I don’t need it for directions to get where I’m going, I don’t need it.
- Explain to my loved ones why I feel disconnected and ask them to engage 100% in conversations with me.
Finally, I want to give myself permission to spend time talking to people! I’m not too busy. Yes, I’m building a business but there should always be time for meaningful conversation.