It was an overcast day – you know when you can feel rain in the air – so I didn’t want to venture far at lunch hour. I ended up at McDonald as I like their coffee. I sat in the corner, got my pen and paper out, and started my September or Fall to do list. Sipping, looking around and writing. I always feel more in control when I have a list.
A staff member approached my table, she saw me writing and it made her happy. That lead to a discussion on phones, devices and social media. She said she feels like an outcast as she is not hooked up to any social media. She described standing in line and turning around to talk to the person behind her and couldn’t as they had their head down and thumbs flying on their phone. She thought it would be rude to interrupt. This made her feel disconnected.
The conversation made me sad actually. I thought she is likely not the only one missing connecting with people in line-ups, bus stops or wherever. Are we becoming a society where the person/social media on the other end of the device is more worthy of our attention when the individual right in front of us? I’m not talking about being on the phone, but texting someone you are at the mall, or in line at the grocery store, or just checking Facebook/Pinterest, I could go on.
What if we lifted our heads more, or put our phones away when in line or waiting for public transit, and looked at the people standing next to us. Is there someone who makes eye contact and smiles? Is there someone who might need help getting onto the bus? Or, this is big, starting a conversation with someone who isn’t on their device!
Just the thought of someone feeling like an outcast and disconnected made me sit back and look around. A few people were in pairs talking, but all the ones alone where on their phones. What if these people put their phones away and talked to the person at the next table? Remember we are at McDonalds so the tables are close. What connections could be made? Or just to let someone not feel disconnected.
So lift your head more and put the phone away. Make eye contact and start a conversation. You might make someone’s day and worst, well, you won’t see the latest post on Facebook. (which you will see later).
You can always start now!