I Think I’d Rather Hang Out With Myself Than With You And Your Phone

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Katherine Burchett | Staff Writer

I know what you’re thinking. You think I’m going to bash on smartphones and social media. Well, I’m not.

I really like technology and social media. I really do. I love photography too, and I have fun coming up with ideas, strategies for advertising, and ways to connect with people. My major emphasis is public relations, which is right there in that same ballpark. I’m on the PR social media committee for Utah Valley University, and I love using my phone to communicate with people. I’ll be the first to admit that I spend too much time looking at my phone.

Honestly, I wanted to write about this because it’s not only a personal struggle, but it’s something I see others struggle with every day.

Cell phones are so great and it’s amazing as time goes on to see what they can do. But there are times when we shouldn’t be looking at our phones.

Friend hangouts have turned into “everybody sit on the couch and look at Instagram while we small talk about who we know that got married off of Tinder.”

A while ago I invited a few friends over who I hadn’t seen in a while and I was excited to catch up with them. When they showed up they said hi and immediately sat on the couch and pulled out their phones. I asked a few questions about their weekend, trying to start a conversation, and they proceeded to scroll on their phone or text other people. I couldn’t believe it. I was annoyed and felt extremely disrespected. I didn’t invite them over to look at their phones on my couch. I wanted to TALK! Weird, I know. And for some crazy reason I thought they came over to talk to me too.

Unfortunately, this experience is only one example of the countless times I’ve seen this behavior. Almost every single group hangout I see now often leads to that type of situation. I used to love hanging out with people in big groups and doing fun things, but now it’s almost painful when the first question asked is, “What’s your WIFI password?”

I am NOT saying that I haven’t been a part of this or haven’t gone to my phone to avoid conversation, awkwardness, or to find something to keep me entertained. I totally do it. It’s a habit. You barely realize you’re doing it anymore.

Not everyone is like this. I know a lot of people who understand the importance of conversation, building relationships, and being vulnerable in order to grow and learn from others. Cell phones have become a defense mechanism against real communication in today’s world.

The truth of the matter is that fighting cell phone addiction has become harder and harder as time goes on and it will only get harder.

I have tried many things to help myself. For a short time I deleted Snapchat, Instagram, and every other social media app on my phone so I could be more alert, get more things done in my life, and prioritize.

Eventually I got the basic social media platforms back, but those little breaks taught me something. I learned that I actually don’t need them. I really don’t need to look at my phone every 10 minutes. I learned that my priorities needed adjusting. I remembered the importance of living IN the moment, not just being in its presence.

Conversation is one of the most important factors in building relationships. How do you think people met in the days when cell phones didn’t exist? People took advantage of silence, awkward elevators, bus rides, and waiting in lines to make conversation and make connections.

Do you really think you can’t handle saying hi to a stranger, even if it makes you uncomfortable for just a minute? How much more important is that notification than the homeless man sitting out on the curb with the sign that says, “hungry”? What about your Dad, when he’s trying to have a conversation with you, and all you can do is nod your head and check your phone for the billionth time?

When someone asks you what you like to do, one can only hope you don’t respond with, “play pancake flip on my iPhone.” What ever happened to real hobbies and developing talents?

In the end, don’t forget the importance of respecting yourself and others enough to put your phone down for a minute.

Life is too good and too short to let the best and most important things in our lives be replaced by the worldly things.

So forgive me when I say this… but,

I think I’d rather hang out with myself than with you and your phone.