I was out to dinner with a group of 6 people earlier this week. At one point during the meal something funny was said, and one of the people at the table laughed out loud with one of those great infectious laughs that make other people that hear it begin laughing as well. It went on for several minutes. It was great!
Several times prior to this uproarious event there were instances when most of the people in the group were on their smart phones at the same time, either looking up someplace to eat, or just checking in on social media. It’s always weird to me when a group of people that have made an effort to gather together spend so much time on their phones seeing what other people, that aren’t present, are up to.
After the meal I was thinking about the person’s infectious laugher and how it created a shared experience that was enjoyable and created a connection between everyone at the table. I also thought of the times when folks were all on their cell phones. There was no connection or shared laughter when people’s faces were buried in their phones. The only shared experience we had at those times was that we were all occupying the same space.
Perhaps it’s just me, but I think if you’re going to make an effort to get together and spend time with people in person, you shouldn’t be looking at your phone to find out what other people are doing, or what you might be missing out on. I personally have never had an enjoyable shared experience with people who are all sitting together focused on their smart phones and disconnected from one another.
With the holidays upon us, we’ll likely have several opportunities to gather with others over a meal, for drinks, or just for the sake of spending time together. Be mindful during these times about connecting with the people you’re present with, and consider leaving the smart phone in your pocket or purse.
And if you’d really rather not connect with the people you’re gathered with, it begs the question… what are you even doing there?