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Communicating: Cell phones take over face to face interactions

January 22, 2018

Do you ever find yourself in the company of others and feel you are not completely appreciated? Do you share your time with their cell phone texting and not truly valued as being there and present?

 

Awareness on how we interact in face to face social situations is coming under more scrutiny. There are constant attention grabbers that do not allow people to be completely available. We are attached to our electronic gadgets and very self-absorbed with ourselves and less concerned about what others might be feeling or experiencing when we are in their company.

 

Back in the day, we were more inclined to follow forms of etiquette that helped us be more civil and considerate of others. Now it is looked at as a form of snobbery and certain concepts are considered antiquated. But when you look at the intent of following certain rules, it provides a common ground where everyone is honored and respected and you in turn get to put your best foot forward by learning how to act and show respect towards others. Cell phone etiquette has to be practiced. Without proper conduct we are more like animals and less like people and would fail as a society.

 

We have gotten to be so smart, but less sociable. We get to Google just about everything and we believe we have all of our answers at our fingertips. We feel there is no need to learn anything outside of our own technological research devices and gadgets. In another light, our friends and colleagues only see us always under the best circumstances sort of speak and we tend to hide behind our screens giving the impression than our lives and situations are perfect. We keep our feelings and emotions shut and undercover in fear of not meeting the high standards and success of others that is famous on social media. What we fail to see is that we have a lot in common and we can learn a lot if we interact in a more meaningful level. 

 

Communication is an important component of strong marital, parent-child, sibling and workplace relationships. Trust, listening and understanding is developed through interactions with others. Feelings and thoughts are recognized fostering a safe and nourishing environment that can extend into the workplace as well. Today, empathy and good listening skills are not part of this equation when we gather and interact with others.

 

Your first level of communication skill training begins at home where essentially family gatherings should provide nurturing responses or positive criticism that promotes self-confidence, feedback and a sense of caring and belonging.  Outside of the home, this communication foundation exposure allows you to express your thoughts, feelings and opinions to someone else, while they listen and you get to reciprocate. All this is accomplished best accomplished through face to face interactions.

 

The nature of this type of interaction will help to foster problem-solving skills, sharing, good management and mediation at a workplace.  The bonuses to all of this are the close ties and relationships you develop and information you get to share and obtain. We exist and share common needs and experiences and the ups and downs and good times in-between and they are part of the human experience allowing us to bond in different areas.

 

Research indicates our brains react to face to face conversations quite differently than when we text as a means of communication.  Experiments have been conducted with babies where contact includes all of the five senses and it has been noted to help distress a baby.  As humans we are subconsciously scanning information in a face to face situation, which is detected through all of our five senses and need this type of distressing as well. We’re listening for the words that the person chooses when they’re talking to us, but we’re also noticing all the nonverbal components of the message, such as the tone of voice, volume, and pitch. The eye contact, gestures and a smile are nonverbal assurances. The hand shake or comforting touch is also registered. Neuroscience is at work.

 

According to research the immediate response and clear facial feedback during interaction is needed by the brain. Texting fails to send out the complete picture of the interaction and a lot of the meaning gets lost or the message is not completely understood. The condition causes levels of stress and the needed confirmation is not available. So we are left wondering at times what the other person really meant and our brains complete the story based on our perception and interpretation.

 

Here are a few suggestions how to foster communication and interactions so you can develop strong ties and relationships:

 

Put your phone away when you are in the company of other people. Unless there is a critical emergency and you are waiting on something fatal that is about to happen, you should not have your phone out. Be in the moment! It is rude and disruptive to be glancing at your phone every minute to look at what you think you are missing. It can wait.

 

With all our modern technology, we are going backwards instead of moving forward. We are always on the go; people can always track us and find us. Long gone are the days of true leisure time and having privacy and being off limits, this concept is rarely valued. Make yourself inaccessible when needed.  

 

Find activities that bring you together. First of all check your surroundings. Does it have enough comfortable seating that provides a sense of comfort where you what to hang out and stay a while. The areas to consider could be outdoors on a deck, a backyard, in the kitchen, dining room, the front porch, a local café, a restaurant or even in the park.

 

Make the time and make it a habit. Try to pencil in family time and time out with friends, also pencil in special events and make them a must on your calendar. They do not have to be over the top, but could help to create memories like baking grandma’s favorite recipe, or trying out a new dish. Just make it happen. Within these gatherings a lot can go on, someone might ask for advice or even share new ideas or goals. These activities can help to nurture the soul and help you cope with the world on a daily basis. These interactions are crucial to our self-awareness and support us and we can also help others. We are social creatures who need to share and feel validated in our existence.

 

So put your phones away when you are with others and do not look at it! If you are alone, give yourself a break from technology, enjoy your surroundings, contemplate nature, sit and people watch, go listen to a lecture, try out a new hobby or activity or go help out a neighbor. You might strike up a conversation and make a new friend. You will miss these opportunities when your head is constantly buried in a phone or computer.  

 

When you are with others, be in the moment, be present and interact. Keep your phone in the car, or in your bag. Value your time and honor others. It is rude, counterproductive and you want people to enjoy your company and value your presence. There is a lot to be said when we interact actively with others and feel valued and truly appreciated.   

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