You Can Put that Smartphone Down and Engage with People by Vinita Nayar
Have you had people coming home to visit you and what you end up doing is sitting there twiddling your thumbs while you watch them engrossed in their smartphones? These folks fall into three categories:
- They are talking to you but the phone next to them is a constant distraction. You can tell that they are itching to pick it up as it pings and beeps constantly. They are totally distracted – nodding as you talk and engaging with you – but preoccupied because what they really want to do is pick up the phone and peer into it.
- The next lot ignore the occasional pings and beeps but after a point, they can’t bear it. They HAVE to check. They’ll give you this apologetic smile and some story about how someone is in trouble…or how they must check if so-and-so has messaged…or how X is coming into town…or whatever. And these are the ones who will take personal phone calls and have long chats while you watch with a polite smile plastered on your face, while your mind is buzzing with the million things you could be doing instead of entertaining a visitor who talks to someone else while purportedly visiting you. I mean…like…WHY?
- Then you have the hardcore smartphone addicts. They make no pretences. Whether they’ve come visiting, whether you’re out for lunch with them, whether you are visiting them, whether you’re travelling in a car with them…you come a distant second in the pecking order. It’s the phone that matters. Your attempts at conversation are met with a distracted uh-uh, oh okay, sorry, just a minute, oh really (said in a very disinterested tone!). They may ask you a question and just when you are narrating an incident with great flourish, they cut you dead by staring into their phone and typing something. And you sit there like an idiot, your tale hanging in the air incomplete. And you’re wondering how to cover your embarrassment.
Strange, isn’t it – how smartphones have made us forget our manners? Most of these people are not even aware that they are being rude. The phone is an extension of their lives and they’d rather engage in virtual reality versus engaging with a flesh and blood person.
Now I’m not going to write any spiel on smartphone addiction. Each to his or her own. If you haven’t recognized your addiction, so be it.
But rudeness? I will address that!
- If you are so wrapped up in your phone, ideally you should stay home. Then you can peer into it for eternity or have those long chats that you want.
- When you are visiting someone, you are taking up her time – time that the person could spend reading, listening to music, working, doing chores…whatever. And if you’re going to be wrapped up in your love affair with your phone, you’re wasting their time.
- You are being downright DISRESPECTFUL.
Put away that smartphone and engage with human beings face-to-face. You might learn to like it!
About the Guest Writer: Lazing on a sofa with a strong cup of coffee, reading a good book, with the sound of raindrops in the background is my idea of a great time. And snuggling up to a fluffy puppy or playing with my dogs is sheer bliss. Listening to music transports me to heaven. Writing and editing are my job, but I enjoy the process so much that it’s like recreation! It’ soothing, enjoyable and a constant learning process – This is Vinita Nayar and she is a just a tweet away here
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