Here’s the thing. I say this both tongue-and-cheek, but also with a pang of honesty. We suck. We treat each other like trash and we have no mutual respect. Oh sure, there are people who we are nice to and tolerate, but the truth is with the advances in communication we treat each other like crap. Think about it for a moment. How often do you actually talk to someone? When do you put your technology down and actually have a conversation? I bet not very often. And when you do put the tech down you’re not focused on the person you’re with, but what you’re missing on your cellphone.
I’m guilty of this, that’s why I know what I’m talking about.
I’m trying to be batter about this. We all need to try to be better about this.
There was a time before cellphones. When we had to sit and actually talk to each other. We had to learn visual clues about human communication. We had to talk in full sentences and not in 140 characters or emojis. There were no selfies (think about that term ‘selfie’ sounds like ‘selfish’ it also excludes others and makes whatever we’re doing all about ‘I’. To hell with anyone else – Right?).
Anyway, in the time before technology we had to write letters to communicate or talk on the telephone (a landline – gasp). If we wanted to talk to someone we would have to make an appointment or schedule something. We had to be invited to visit them. We didn’t email or text them at all hours of the day (which by the way is totally rude. I don’t want to hear from you at 2am. You better be dead, or dying, or the world should be ending.). Spending time with each other was an event (that was only about 30 years ago) so not really that long. And what happened at these events/parties? Well for one, there was a certain code of conduct. There were ways you talked to each other, how you addressed one another, it was all about etiquette. I’m not talking ‘Downtown Abbey’ etiquette, but still there were social norms we all adhered to.
Now don’t get me wrong. I love technology (well most of the time). I have a Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/mdneuauthor/). I have a website. I have a Twitter account @Writer_MDNeu and I spend quite a bit of time on them, but when it’s time to shut it all off I do.
I hear you all gasp.
What do I do when I shut it all down? How do I survive?
I read. I write. I cook. I do things around the house. This weekend my husband and I had a bunch of projects to work on at home. I visit family and friends. We go to a movie. We go shopping. We go and eat (without cellphones). It’s amazing when you go to a restaurant and see people sitting there looking at their phones for the entire meal and never (and I mean never) talk to the people they are sitting with. It’s sad. It’s rude. And it’s disrespectful.
How did we as a species survive all these thousands of years? We made connections. We formed communities. We bonded with each other.
Now we bond with technology, what does that say about us. What does that say about where we are going as a species? As a people?
Did you know Millennials are having less sex than any generation in the last 60 years? Don’t believe me here’s the article:
I pose a challenge to everyone who reads this. When you go out with family or friends instead of checking the little screen in your hands peer into the eyes of the person or people you’re with. That’s magical. It’s a moment you won’t forget.
I’m not telling anyone to give up their tech (I know longer believe it’s physically possible), but just be a decent person and put the phone away. Shut down the tablet. Be in the moment with those around you, because at some point those people won’t be there anymore, and what will you remember of them? The top of their head bent over a glowing screen or their eyes, and their face?
I would prefer to remember the eyes and face, but maybe that’s just me.
To remind you all here are a couple of etiquette rules to live by:
- Be a gentleman and open the door (any and every door) for a lady.
- If you’re on a bus or sitting on a bench offer your seat to a pregnant woman. Or offer it to an elderly person. If you can stand with ease, then give the seat to those who can’t.
- Ladies, when a gentleman opens a door for you say, ‘thank you’ he’s not disrespecting you, he’s treating you with respect. Do the same for him.
- If you ask a person out, you pay. You don’t spilt the bill. You ask, you pay. Simple and respectful.
- When you’re having a meal with someone put the cellphones away, talk to one another. Whatever you share while talking is so much more interesting than what’s on your cellphone.
- Be kind to each other. Let me repeat that, just be kind.
- Treat each other with respect even if you don’t agree with them (especially if you don’t agree with them). I really need to work on this.
Until next week. Have a great week and build connections and be a decent person.
Agree with me? Don’t agree with me? Let me know down below. I love hearing what you all have to say.