We’re in the midst of holiday get-togethers, dinners and parties. We’re hosting, we’re being hosted, we’re struggling to fit all of this social time into an already packed schedule and make it out alive.
In the moments between all this social time with friends and family, stop and ask yourself: are you being present?
Think about the last social event you attended, whether with family, friends, or coworkers. How much of that event did you spend on your smartphone?
Did you look around the room and notice that everyone else was staring at a screen? How much of your social time did you spend being social without social media?
This doesn’t apply to just the holidays.
Technology is ubiquitous, and we always have our smartphones with us. But constantly being connected can hurt our psychological health (not to mention our social lives).
There’s no doubt that our smartphones have enhanced our lives in many ways. Still, as smartphones become an appendage we can’t live without, we seem to be missing out on parts of life that can’t be replaced—experiences, physical touch, having a conversation with the person next to you instead of the person represented by a carefully curated profile picture. Make sure you don’t let your screen block the life you can be living!
Not convinced that it’s important to be present in your social gatherings? Here’s some evidence.
Being engrossed in your “digital world” can have a negative impact on your kids and they feel unimportant when parents spend too much time on their smartphones. Too much smartphone time can also hurt your love life.
Now, I think we can all agree that smartphones can hurt our social interaction…but most of us use them anyway.
Since we all keep our smartphones with us constantly, we need to be mindful of not reaching for them whenever there’s a gap.
Each time you reach for your phone, ask yourself why you’re grasping for it.
Strategies for Disconnecting
If you’d like some strategies for staying off the smartphone while you’re trying to be social, here are some great ideas:
- Leave your phone in your purse/coat pocket. If it’s not right by you, you’re less likely to use it.
- Unless you truly need your phone on, silence it or turn it off while with family and friends.
- Get everyone involved: request that you all leave give up your phones and leave them in a designated location (a basket on the counter, a stack on the table at a restaurant, a shelf by the door).
- Leave your phone at home. This is the most daring of the bunch, but will the world really fall apart if you simply don’t have your phone around?