There is an epidemic in our society right now. People are so distracted with the constant flow of information that they’ve completely forgotten how to actually connect with each other.
How many times have you been in a meeting or at lunch with someone and they are constantly checking their phones for text messages and status updates? Not only is this rude, but your effectiveness in building that relationship is handicapped by the fact that they’re not fully engaged in the conversation. Worse yet, they will unintentionally project inappropriate emotions in the moment.
I was recently in a meeting with only 5 other people, so it was easy to observe the situation. Four of us were engaged in a topic of interest while the other person was evidently checking their Facebook page when all of a sudden this person abruptly interjected a “recent event” that had nothing to do with the topic at hand. The sensationalized story was fully intended to draw out emotion in its readers, which it did, and worse yet the story was a lie. So now, the entire conversation was taken off course while we had to deal with this interruption.
This case is obvious, but hundreds of other situations go more unnoticed as the distracted person keeps the thoughts to themselves – but do they really? Our minds were created with synapses that constantly connect information to emotion. When you read about a sad story, you might as well be experiencing it live because you will have the same general emotional response.
So when you’re in a jovial conversation with friends and read a sad post on your smart phone, your mind doesn’t differentiate between what you read and what you said, it just responds by connecting the story to the emotion. This results in an awkward and sometimes inappropriate emotional response that completely separates you from building the relationship.
If building relationships are important to you (which they are), then put down the phone – unplug and connect.
Have you seen anyone react inappropriately because they were checking their phones during a conversation? If so, please add a comment here and let the rest of us enjoy the laugh.
“Success in today’s world is in direct proportion to your relational IQ.” – Dave Ramsey