When was the last time you spent a day without your phone? Half a day? Heck, even a couple of hours? If you’re anything like me, you probably can’t remember a time where you were purposeful without your phone.
Our lives—both personally and professionally—have become so controlled by the flow of communication that even a few minutes without our phones within reach has been shown to cause anxiety, physical signs of stress, and even depression in some users.
But despite their misgivings, our phones are also incredible tools for productivity, when used properly. Unfortunately, few of us do this.
Here are 7 things that happen when you focus on your phone instead of people.
1. When you put your focus on your phone instead of people, you invalidate the presence of the person who is trying to have a conversation with you. When you take that phone out, you’re telling them that you don’t care about what they have to say. You’re telling them that they’re boring you. You’re telling them that you’re done with the conversation. You’re telling them that what they have to say doesn’t matter.
2. When you put your focus on your phone instead of people, you’re being rude.
3. When you put your focus on your phone instead of people, you’re missing out on the living that’s happening right in front of you. You’re missing out on conversations, you’re missing out on laughter, you’re missing out on heartfelt moments, and tiny moments, and bits of connection that you can never get back. It’s the tiny moments of life that make a life—not a Facebook article, not a tweet, not a “like” on Instagram.
4. When you put your focus on your phone instead of people, you’re distancing yourself from the people in your life who are there. The more time you spend on your phone, the bigger the gap between you and your loved ones grows because if you’re constantly on your phone, it is impossible to consistently be present.
5. When you put your focus on your phone instead of people, you’re removing yourself from reality. Stop arguing with people on the internet and start having a conversation in real life—even if it’s a disagreement. You can actually learn something from a disagreement in person. All you learn from a fight on the internet is that some people feel most powerful hiding behind a screen. And let’s be honest, there’s nothing powerful about that.
6. When you put your focus on your phone instead of people, you’re being rude. Yes, I know this was written already. It needs to be said again.
7. When you put your focus on your phone instead of people, life is passing you by. Sunsets and sunrises, the way the sky looks on a clear day, the laugh lines around your grandmother’s eyes, the way your kid wobbles after a soccer ball, the feeling of curling up next to your partner on the couch after a long day—these are the things that matter. Those are the moments that you miss as you type and text and swipe and post and “like” your minutes away.