Be fully present with those whom you spend quality time with

Credit: Sincerely Media (Source: Unsplash)

Our ability to grant someone our undivided attention is at a tipping point.

We’ve seen the documentaries. We’ve read the articles. We’ve sat across that table once and have felt that unshakable sense of loneliness despite being two feet away from them.

Worse of all we, too, are guilty of unconsciously inflicting that same feeling onto others.

Despite being increasingly well aware of the notorious effects that most of our mobile apps have been built to produce, we can’t seem to (or just plainly won’t) change what we’ve been telling ourselves for some time — that we’ll spend less time on our phones.

There’s an abundance of coverage on this issue, yet it seems that few of us, to this day, recognize that…

*checks for new notifications*

… that when we’re on your phone while in the physical presence of others, even for a quick second, we’re quietly telling them, ‘You’re not that important.’

And it hurts.

I have this vivid memory of spending my birthday brunch with two friends several years ago, both of whom spent what felt like half the meal on their phones — checking Instagram, taking food pics, comparing food pics, putting their phone away only to check them again 5 minutes later. And I remember thinking, ‘Am I really that uninteresting for them to be this interested in what’s happening elsewhere?’

I’ll reiterate.

When we’re checking our phones in the presence of others, they are most likely asking themselves, ‘Am I really not that important?’

And what do we do when everyone else around us is checking their phones? We check our phone, too. And chances are we’ll feel bad for it; for doing something just because everyone else is doing it.

In this regard…

Our unconscious behavior can (and does) negatively affect the mental health of those we care about.

The truth is, the time we spend on our phone while in the presence of someone/others is time that they could be spending with people who would give them their full attention — and, consequently, not make them feel lonely, sad, anxious, or whatever mental state they find themselves in.

This 👆 is something worth thinking about deeply as we plan our work lunches, dinner dates, and social activities for the weekend.

You may not think the person you’re with feels lonely because you’re physically together (after all, wouldn’t they feel lonelier if they were home by themselves?) but when you’re on your phone, I can guarantee that a part of them does feel lonely.

So next time you’re in…

*scrolls through WhatsApp for potentially missed messages*

…next time you’re in a social setting, make a conscious effort to give your full, undivided attention to those you are surrounded by.

Listen to what they have to say.

Truly listen.

Your sheer attention may be just enough to brighten up their day.

A few tricks that have personally helped me focus:

  • Turn off notifications for all apps which you do not truly, truly need to get notified by (yes, this includes Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, and many more.) Chances are the world will still go about its day for the next 30–60 minutes without our having to check our phones.
  • If this doesn’t do it for you, delete apps whose feeds you can check online (e.g., you can do just about the same on Facebook mobile as Facebook desktop.) Re-prioritize what should be on your phone, and what can be omitted.
  • If you need that extra layer of “protection”, leverage your phone’s Focus Mode to only allow necessary apps and block others while it is turned on. I personally use it overnight and only turn it back off one hour after waking up so I’m not tempted to check for notifications the second I open my eyes.
  • A solid combination: Focus Mode + putting your phone away. Or, for the daring souls, the ultimate kill… Airplane Mode.
  • Last but not least, let’s cut ourselves some slack. Should we have to message someone while in the presence of others, let’s be vocal about it. “Sorry guys, I just need to send this one text for a minute.” Plain and simple.

In between the latest Tik Tok dance moves, Instagram memes and Facebook invites, it’s about time we take back control of how we socialize with others.

In other words: let’s (re)learn to be available by being unavailable.

What’s this Daily Scramble about?

There’s a whole lot going on in my head, as you must very well relate, my dear virtual friend. The Daily Scramble 🔄 🍳 is a series about — wait for it — scrambling for articulate ways to put all those burgeoning thoughts around personal development & growth, career, and humanity into reflective words, packaged in short daily articles. P.S. there really needs to be a scrambled egg emoji.

Thank you for tuning in. See you tomorrow for another egg-citing read! 🥚

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Constantly experimenting with life and writing about it.

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Edouard Bellin

Edouard Bellin

Constantly experimenting with life and writing about it.

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