#289 – Put down the damn phone, look me in the eye, and talk to me!
It can be hard to meet people.
Sunday I went to a new church because I’m in search of a new church home. My morning was a little disorganized and I thought I was getting to church late…or at least just in time for the service to start.
Turns out I was about 30 minutes early. As I arrived, there were parking attendants and door greets as you would expect. Once I walked past those smiling faces and warm greetings I was struck by a general disconnect by those that had already arrived.
As I walked through the commons area there were a couple of friendly smiles and nods of the head to acknowledge my presence but that was about it. Most people were wrapped up in their own circle of friends.
So, I looked for a place to sit for a bit. They had seating scattered throughout the commons area and I zeroed in on an area with a couch and six overstuffed chairs around it.
Not only was there an open seat there, but there were five people sitting there. One was engrossed in a book and the other four had their heads down look at their phones.
As I sat, I looked each one in the face and there was not so much as an upward glance to see the stranger that had just joined the group.
I sat there for a moment, checked my phone, looked up and looked each person there in the face again. Nobody looked up. I sat for a bit more and decided to write a check for the offering.
I tucked the check in my pocket, my check book in my back pocket and looked at everyone one more time. Nothing!
I’m sure they were nice people.
However, it didn’t make a great impression on me…a stranger amongst their midst. This whole experience took less than ten minutes.
How is one supposed to meet people when so many have their head down staring at their phones?
I know a lot of you are shaking your head in agreement.
The problem is, YOU do it too! We’re all guilty of it at least to some extent. Technology can be so wonderful and at the same time it is so isolating.
How many of you will sit at home in the evening texting your friends or texting someone you’ve just met online?
The problem with meeting people today is that we’ve lost the art of communication. We don’t connect with people on a personal level anymore. We don’t know how to sit and talk to a stranger eye to eye.
Personal conversations, connections, and relationships are becoming a lost art.
We’re isolating ourselves from the world because of our ability to connect via technology in a less than meaningful way. You can see what your friends are doing just by logging on to social media.
You think you’re actually connecting in a meaningful way by making a couple of comments on their posts.
You think you’re having an impact on your social life by how many view, likes, comments you get on your posts.
Try something old.
Try turning off your phone for an evening and going out with friends. If you’re lacking friends, try making the bold move to go out and strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know.
When you lose the art of conversation and connection you lose the ability to have meaningful relationships. You lose your ability to communicate effectively.
This past week I was having a conversation about dating and relationships with a group of people. One woman asked how to break up with someone she knew wasn’t right for her.
I said it was simple. Start by telling the other person that you’d like to talk. You may have to plan a time but let them know you have something on your mind that you want to talk about.
When you’re together, all you have to say is “I’ve been examining our relationship and have come to the conclusion that this isn’t a good fit for me. You are a wonderful person and have a lot to offer, but there’s something missing for me.
We both deserve an extraordinary relationship and I can’t give that to you just as you can’t give that to me. It’s time for both of us to move on.”
Yes, it’s this simple. You will more than likely get some pushback and that’s okay. Stick to your decision. Don’t cave in. If you do you won’t be happy. They can’t change who they are.
What’s the point of this story?
The point is that with technology you’re losing your ability to have an adult conversation with someone. I’m not saying that every conversation can be easy or pleasant. But many conversations like this never happen because you’re afraid to hurt someone’s feelings.
It’s too easy to hide behind your phone and text a breakup. It’s too easy to hide behind your phone and ghost someone because you’ve lost your skill to share your thoughts and feelings.
Take some time each week to turn your phone off and have a real conversation. Talk to a stranger at church. It may be their first time in your church. Or maybe you’ll discover they have been long-time members that may attend service at a different time.
Take some time to talk to a stranger face to face in the grocery store. You never know, you just might make a new best friend.
I hope you’ll think about what I’ve shared with you today and use this information to help you be more proactive and successful in your dating life.
Join me next week for “It’s not them. It’s you.”