1. Stop relying on your phone to fill silences.
If we’re waiting for 10 minutes at a restaurant for our table to be ready or we’re outside having a cigarette together, you don’t need to bust your phone out. Really – you don’t. Is reading the “20 Things To Do In Your 20s” article or browsing through pictures of what your old college roommate had for dinner really that important? You seriously can’t make small talk with me? We can even talk about an article you read or about a picture you saw, but when you whip your phone out and read silently, you’re completely blocking me out, and it’s downright rude. It’s like you’re implying that nothing I can say is as interesting as the 5 inch screen in your pocket.
2. Please don’t shove your phone in my face.
When you notice that you’re on your phone and I’m not, there’s a good chance that instead of putting it back in your damn pocket, you’ll instead push it on me and say “look at this adorable kitten!” or “do you want to help me with this trivia game?” No, I do not. I get my fill of staring at a screen for 8-9 hours a day at work. I am a living, breathing human being who thrives on communication and interaction with others. Can’t we just talk? Or – get this – sometimes, silence is okay. It gives you a minute to have an original thought instead of just an opinion about someone else’s blogged thoughts. Silence offers a moment to reflect. To think. To just be. Why do you need to constantly be entertained by something? I do not, so please, get that out of my face.
3. Open your eyes.
There’s a beautiful world going on around you. Alright – it’s not always beautiful, but it’s real. Listen, if you’ve got nothing to say to me, we don’t have to talk – we can people watch. We can observe and think and learn. We can wonder where they’re going, what they’re listening to, what their story is. We can look at the wind blowing the tree branches. We can gaze up at the sky and watch the clouds race across it. We can let conversation come up organically. Most of the great thinkers and influential minds of the world weren’t alive in a time when burying your face in your phone was an option. Our parents and grandparents didn’t do it. Our generation doesn’t have to do it, either. Get to know the people and the world around you instead.
4. Manage your time better.
You’re awake for 15-18 hours per day. If you work 8 hours, commute 2 hours, eat and prepare food for 2 hours, and exercise for 1 hour, you still have 3-5 hours left over to do whatever the hell you want. Maybe instead of binge-watching TV until you pass out on the couch, that’s when you catch up on pinning or checking Instagram and Facebook. If you dedicate a certain time slot for internet junk, maybe you won’t feel so compelled to be glued to your phone when you’re in social settings and it’s not really appropriate. And if an hour or so at the end of the day isn’t enough for you, maybe you need to do a little re-prioritizing. If you spend 1 hour every day online, that adds up to over 15 days per year. 15 days.Wasted. Gone. Keep that up and by the time you’re 50, you will have wasted an entire year of your life on it. And I know that we all see/read some genuinely interesting, thought provoking, time-well-spent things on the internet, but let’s be real – the vast majority of it is kind of a waste. Nobody looks back on their life and wishes they’d read more celebrity tweets.