In today’s day and age, it is not unlikely to be virtually anywhere and hear the buzz, tweet, hiccup or bing of someone’s cell phone going off, but is the contraption attached to that noise the demise of physical human interaction? We all know that it is a common sight to see two people having lunch while both are glued to their phone to see who is trying to text them, but is it the age of phones that is making it easier for people to just stop making the effort to see their friends at all?
Today’s group outings usually consist of texting someone when you get to the coffee shop letting them know you got them a seat and are waiting. This isn’t like the ’90s, where you had to pre-determine a location, give a quick description of your outfit so your friend can find you and then hope that no one gets lost or held up. Now it is so much easier to just send them a text and tell them you won’t be making it.
What does this say about our generation? That we would rather make our friends upset then be on time, just because we can now? Are we are more comfortable with our phones than our actual friends? Is it too much to ask to hang out with my friend and not their new electronic limb? Am I just wishing for a simpler time and my old ways will die out?
I have friends who are so charismatic via text/Facebook chat/messaging, but in person they are simply glued to their phone and the idea of actual conversation is just too much to handle for them. They close up and hardly look up from their tapping thumbs. But guess what, friends – I have a face and hilarious things to say and you are missing it by simply refreshing your Twitter feed!
I have one friend who I met for a birthday lunch that was just the two of us, and I was just downright bored watching her text the whole time. It felt like a really dull reality show, and I thought I had turned off Real Housewives of Vancouver before I had left the house! Her phone didn’t leave the table; she was texting literally the entire time and it felt like a fight for her attention! When I got home, I noticed that she had posted a photo on Instagram of the gift I gave her, and that was the only way I knew that she had liked it. I barely got two minutes of her time to give her the thing. I got an ”aww”, 3 seconds of eye contact and a quick “thanks” before she went right back to her phone.
On Facebook, these people seem so comfortable with themselves, “selfie shot” after “selfie” (how many angles can I possibly see your new shirt from?), but it is like pulling teeth trying to see them in person. Even when you get them away from their laptop, you never really get them in full because they get to bring their favorite part of the computer with them in their cell phone, which for some is just too consuming. It makes me wonder if when I am the one being texted consistently, they are ignoring someone else for my sake!
Is the technological age a blessing for these shy people, or a way to isolate oneself and abandon those around them? I still have a few unsullied friends who don’t have cell phones, and meeting them may need a bit more pre-planning but they are never late and always attentive to our conversations.
It is not a new idea that people are in love with their phones, ignoring those they are with to check it, but is it becoming an epidemic of just blowing off seeing the actual person altogether, just for a chance for a bit more alone time with our phones?
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