We live in an ever changing, constantly moving culture. Over the past two decades our interactions with people shifted from person’s center to convenience centered. When I dated my husband 20+ years ago, we could only talk on the phone from a land line. If we wanted to communicate that was one of three options, the other options included seeing each other face to face or write letters and have the pony express deliver them. We didn’t have constant contact with each other via text messages or video chatting, rather we needed to have patience and make the time together really count.
I’ve seen my own relationship with my husband and my family shift in the past 10 years. Here’s a few questions to ask to take inventory of your relationship with people vs. social media:
- Do you show your partner and/or family more affection than you do your smartphone?
- Do your followers or fans know more about your life than your partner/family or friends?
- In the quiet moments at night are you sneaking a peek at your wall or newsfeed rather than your partner?
- Your family, friends or partner feel the need to text, tweet or IM you to get your attention.
- Do you know more about pop culture and social media happenings than what is happening in your own home or family?
I can’t answer these questions for you, only you can do that. This is a great way to take inventory of how you are being perceived by the people who need to count in your life. It’s true if you are sloppy with the time you spend in your relationships then you may find yourself alone at the end of the day.
Admittedly, I’m guilty of doing some of the items on this list. Thankfully, I have a decent amount of intuition that allows me to notice when something is off in my life, so I make a shift to get back on track. I adore my husband and my kids, they mean everything to me and I want them to know that. There is nothing, and I mean nothing on social media that can replace good old fashioned family time or a date night with the love of your life. I’m not going to tell you how to run your relationship, I get that times have changed and that people have become accustomed to technology. I’m right there with you, I’m merely suggesting that you give your time, and undivided attention to the relationships that really matter to you.
Feeling like you matter makes a person feel full, loved, and that is the best way to show you actually care about someone. The best way to show this is to look someone in the eye, put your phone away, turn it off if you need to. We’ve lost our ability to focus and be with someone without distraction. It’s just a muscle that’s weakened over time because we have been spending so much time working on several things at once.
Be the person who makes a difference, starting with you. Who is it that you need to give your undivided attention to? Can you give them 10 minutes of your time without the distraction of your smart phone? How will that impact your relationship? Will it enhance it? Will it show that there is nothing to talk about? What will you do? Who is worth fighting for? What is the story of your relationships? How will it be different than the norm? Whose eyes do you wish to get lost in?