I assume I can just skip over the introductory sentences where I rehash how cool and world-changing smartphones have been, and get right to the crux of the matter: Your cellphone is making you act like an ass. Put your phone away.
It’s not like you’re unaware of the problem. You see the same people we all do – couples ignoring each other, friends staring at their phones instead of talking, people walking into lampposts as they browse /shitredditsays. You see these same people, then you pick up your phone to Instagram them to the world while bitching about how they won’t put their phones down. Stop being one of them.
You know it’s rude. Make the conscious decision to keep it inside your pocket more than out. It will take practice, and time, and patience, but every second will help. Every second will help you make or improve a social connection, or notice something about the world, or invent a solution to some problem that is vexing you. It is worth putting away to get to know yourself again.
Your phone is designed to take advantage of you. Your lizard brain responds to the beeps and buzzes by sending pleasure signals out every time you have a new notification. Thats how gambling works. Your brain is releasing endorphins everytime you get a message to reward your nervous system for the action. That’s why you are physically addicted to checking your phone.
Now we no longer live in a world where you can go cold turkey phone-sober forever, but you are strong enough to fight the urge several times a day. Leave your device in your pocket at the grocery line. Don’t text and walk at the same time. Tell your friends or date that you have an important message coming and you need to keep your phone face up on the table. Realize that everyone is messaging you about their life, and you’re reading it instead of living yours.
Live your life outside your phone and realize that being bored is good for you. You solve problems. You chat with strangers and make new connections. You actually have a short term memory.
You see the head-down-phone-up addiction just as much as the rest of us. Be the person in your social circle to elevate above it. Engage with your friends, don’t ignore them and ask them not to ignore you. Just put your damn mobile device away.
So help you god if you are reading this on your phone right now…