Technology disrupts, corrupts, and interrupts love (if you got the Jack White song reference, you’re awesome). But it’s true. Technology is the third wheel in any sort of relationship, particularly romantic ones. And it’s not a one-time third wheel that sits in with a couple awkwardly during a movie, or crashes an intimate dinner. It’s permanent. Technology is always involved in and disturbing the conversation, the chemistry, the whole time spent together. It forces its way into the middle of two people, and as long as one person allows its access, there’s going to be a love interruption.
Technology always needs your attention. It doesn’t want to be forgotten about just because you’re having a good time with someone. It wants to be a part of that good time. More importantly, it wants to document that good time. It wants to take a video or picture and Snapchat it, then Instagram it, then put it on Facebook. It wants to be texting your friends and answering their unimportant questions, telling them where you are, who you’re with, what you’re doing. It wants to make sure your whereabouts are known. It wants you to keep your eyes glued to the artificial glow as your likes rack up of a picture that you took in the moment. But you’re staring at the popularity of the picture, rather than seeing it in 3D, in front of you, much bigger than a few inches and much more real.
Technology wants to talk with those who aren’t in the room while you’re watching a movie with someone, forcing you to look up and ask them, “Wait, what just happened?” It wants your ringtone to go off, suddenly and loudly, hiding deep within your pocket so it takes a painfully long time to find it and silence it. It wants to check your Snapchat story for the tenth time, and then your friends’ stories to see what they’re doing, and then the stories of those you haven’t seen in years, until you realize you haven’t been paying attention to the story someone is actually telling you. “I’m sorry, what were you saying?” I got distracted by people who aren’t even here. Technology smirks, content with itself. It has succeeded again.
Technology wants you to look down and smile at a funny text or clever status, rather than look into the eyes and smile at the person staring at you. It wants to entertain you, rather than you being entertained by the person physically there. Technology wants you to grasp it in your hand, your fingers interlocked around it holding on dearly, rather than hold the hand of the person reaching out for yours.
Technology is selfish, attention-seeking, smitten with the person helplessly encumbered by it. It doesn’t care if you’re missing an important story, if someone is desperately trying to get your attention, wanting you to hear them. It doesn’t care if someone is looking at you across the dinner table with both boredom and disappointment. It doesn’t care that the person is embarrassed to be so blatantly ignored in public. It doesn’t care whose feelings you might hurt. It doesn’t care if someone is left staring at the wall, wishing that would at least hold a conversation without getting distracted. It doesn’t care someone got all dressed up to spend a nice evening with you, one on one. It doesn’t notice the exasperated sighs, the rolling of the eyes, the impatient foot-tapping. As long as it has your attention, nothing else matters.
Technology becomes a third-wheel thanks to anyone who permits it to be. If you feel the need to document what you’re doing for the world to see, you are allowing technology to take your attention away from what is actually going on in front of you. At concerts, bars, parties, dinners, etc. people care more about showing everyone else how much fun it is, rather than living in the moment and having the fun. They are ignoring those in front of them to entertain those who aren’t even there.
Technology is a third-wheel and will compromise relationships and start fights that should never happen in the first place. Technology will take precious time away from you and the person wanting to spend it with you. It’s time to start blowing off technology, rather than blowing off the person right in front of you.