Technology is incredible and has really come a long way over the last decade! “The Little Mermaid’s” Ariel would be very jealous of how many “gizmos” we have these days.
It’s wild to think how cell phones are like mini computers in our pockets, laptops are getting lighter and easier to transport with us wherever we go and there seems to be an app for just about everything. It’s also become easier to connect people with information using either a voice command or a finger-tip stroke on a keyboard away.
Pretty cool, right? We can all agree there are a lot of benefits to technology. I myself am a PC gamer and truly appreciate the advancements in this realm most, if I’m being transparent.
However, with pros, usually come the cons we must acknowledge which are the disadvantages of such easily accessible gadgets that we have and how they can impact social and romantic relationships with others.
Do you notice yourself pulling out your phone to check the latest status of social media, your email, voicemails, etc more than you probably should?
Maybe you are working around the clock since you have access to email on your cell phone or find yourself easily accessible to answer work calls when you should be enjoying a nice dinner with your family.
While it’s nice to have instant connection with others in the world, it’s no wonder people still find themselves in a love/hate relationship with technology because it also distracts people from being present in the moment.
If you can relate to these cons, the good news is that even with all of the instant access we have to people and information, there are ways to lessen the impact this noise has on your relationships with others and I’m here to help provide you with some tips.
Before we dive into those tips, let’s first understand why it’s so hard for people to detach themselves from their technology in the first place.
Humans thrive when they have a sense of belonging. Most can agree with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to some degree that this is true. In order to have a sense of belonging we usually need to take steps to make connections with others. This process is easily disrupted when one is distracted by phone calls, handheld games, etc.
Have you ever been with a loved one and you ask them a question and they do not even hear you because they are busy doing something on their phone? I know I have!
Sometimes we can be talking to a friend and they become distracted by an incoming call, text, etc. Or maybe you are out to lunch with someone you haven’t seen in a long time and they keep checking their phone instead of being present in the moment with you. It can be incredibly frustrating to say the least!
These things happen from time to time and most can admit they have done these things as well. However, if it’s constant it can truly create tensions or rifts in a relationship, or even prevent a friendship forging from meeting new people if these distractions disrupt the natural process of connection.
So, what do we do about this so we can be more present and nourish the relationships with others we are with instead of falling prey to the constant notifications popping up on our phones and endless options that are just a fingertip away?
Keep reading for my 3 tips to not let technology get in the way of your relationships with others:
1)An easy fix for this problem is to decide in advance to do any of the following:
- Put your phone on silent or do not disturb
- Leave your phone at home (if it’s safe to do so for you)
- Turn it off (put it in a safe place so you do not lose it)
This will help encourage you to be in the moment with others and not feel pressured to answer every ping you hear go off on your phone. Spending quality time with others is incredibly important and spending it constantly half distracted by other things may be the cause of conflict in your relationship. By actively choosing to put your phone away you gain back the power to be in the moment.
2) Another thing that I have found helps is to ‘basket’ phones during quality time with my spouse. He and I agree that it has truly been a game-changer for us as we are in the present moment and making memories vs getting disrupted by outside factors.
Making this conscious choice shows your partner that you are actively choosing them. Doesn’t it feel good when the person you are with elects to focus on the time you are spending with them? It shows them that nothing else matters other than you and that really goes a long way as to how special that makes them feel.
3) Another thing that can be useful is to have specific times of day that you give to yourself to use your phone for leisure activities such as gaming and social media apps, calling family and friends, etc.
It’s good to set limits and boundaries so that you manage your time well and so that you can know this time is going to happen. It’s not that we want to eradicate the time on the devices we have. It’s that we want to make a decision to be present when we are with others in person, while knowing we will have time for activities on our electronics later. It’s important to separate time on screens from time with people.
So, now that we’ve identified some great tips on how to not let technology impact your relationship and connections with others, I empower everyone to take the time to make some changes that put you back in control of your life and to not leave it up to the battery life of devices to become an active participant in our lives.
I challenge you to make a conscious effort to cherish the time you spend with others and to put the electronics on hold until your visit with them is over. They say life is made up of many moments; seize them!
If you find yourself having a hard time letting go of your devices and notice it’s making an impact on your relationship with others, Solid Foundations can help! Learn more at solidfoundationstherapy.com or give us a call at 630-633-8532 today!