“Where are we having brunch this weekend so we can stare at our phones together?”
Phone scenario one: You meet a few friends for brunch and when arriving, each and everyone puts their one on the table right next to their cutlery and it stays there the whole time through brunch. You have great conversations but throughout the whole brunch, at least one of the friends is not present because they are busy looking at something on their phone that is clearly more important than being in the conversation with your friends you might not see too often.
Phone scenario two: You meet a close friend that you haven’t seen for six months and you are excited to catch up and talk about everything. The conversation never gets to that point, because your friend is too busy chatting with other friends (from the online world), uploading what they are doing on Instagram and Snapchat instead of being present in the moment.
I ask myself: Is your phone really that important that you can’t put it away for that one or two hours you are meeting your friend? Why does it have to lay right next to you on the table like it is a part of your body? Why don’t you put it in your purse? What is so important to check that it can’t wait till you are done meeting your friend?
Why is it more important to post on social media what you are doing instead of being present in the moment?
I detest (strong word, but almost true) this insane usage of smartphones I constantly see around me, and I think it is deeply charmless and disrespectful when friends and family are on their phone while spending time with me. I am not trying to be a saint about this, because it is a fact that I spend a lot of my time being online on my laptop and iPhone during the day (I am a blogger and Instagrammer, duh!) but the truth is that I am rarely on my phone when I am with friends or family. The other truth is that my iPhone is the first thing I look at when I go to bed and when I wake up (which is also bad, but at least I am alone when I do it!) To me, it seems so freaky and selfish to spend time in the online world when you are so lucky to be surrounded by people in real life. I get that in 2016, social media and smartphones are a real addiction, but if people are really addicted, they should open their eyes and do something about it (pronto!):
Here is what I do to be less on my phone when I am out and about
Keep your phone in your purse I have made it a rule to myself to keep my phone in my purse at all times when meeting with friends. I think it looks ridiculous when the first thing people do when arriving at a cafe or restaurant is, to put their phone right next to them on the table. It is like they are so important that they can’t devote themselves to being a 100% present where they are currently at (out meeting their friends or family!) I keep my phone in the purse and if I really need to check something, I’ll do it real fast for example while my friend is in the bathroom. But to be real, it is seldom that anything on my phone is so important that I really have to check it.
Instagram later Yes, I do cover most of what I do in my daily life on my Instagram, but I don’t do it instantly. For me, it doesn’t matter if I post my pictures to Instagram right away. Yes, I take the picture right away and then I post it whenever I have some time to myself (mostly at night time). Fine, take a picture for Instagram but wait till you get home to actually spend time putting it up on the app – Instagram is not going anywhere, the world won’t go under just because you put your photo up on Instagram an hour later than it was actually taken.
Look up The other day I walked around Manhattan and reached the Flat Iron. My friends and I sat down in front of it and then…. out came all the phones and the next ten minutes everyone was staring at their phones, while they should have been staring at the amazing building that is the Flat Iron, thinking about that they are actually in New York City, being in the moment and enjoying it. Think about it – try it. Don’t take any opportunity to grab your phone and look it at. It is unnecessary. Look up instead!
Turn off your notifications All of them. This made a big difference for me, especially when I turned off my Instagram notifications. This will ease your urge to constantly check for messages and likes. The only notifications I have on my phone are Facebook messages. Try it and see if it makes a difference for you!
Follow less people on social media This also made a big difference for me. I have an OCD that forces me to scroll through my whole Instagram feed, and that takes time, especially if you follow a lot of people. One day I sat down and decided to purge my Instagram and unfollowed a whole lot of people (I still follow around 320 people) and this caused me to spend way less time scrolling my Instagram feed.
Think about all the things you are missing out on The cute couple in the park that are in love. The guy doing yoga. The sounds around you. The long real life conversations… I believe that smartphone addictions can make you unhappy, especially for those thinking more about what to post on social media next. So really! Get off your phone and enjoy the little things around you that are happening in real life!
Realize that it is a waste of time (mostly!) Think about how many things you could be doing instead of those daily hours scrolling through endless of (rather unimportant) posts on social media. Reading a book for example… Working out.. Getting better at something (for example cooking). Going for a walk. Spending time with friends and family and actually talking to them…. The list is endless and that should motivate you to put the phone down – at least when you are with friends and family for a start!
I would love to hear your opinion on this matter “put your phone away” – do you agree or do you think it is simply how it is with modern times and social media? Do you think a lot about your own smartphone usage?