Personal technology has become quite a paradox in today’s world and I’d like to propose a creative solution. But first let me point out the big contradiction I feel that our society is struggling with.
On one hand our devices help us accomplish more than ever before and they connect us to a far larger number of people than in the past. But on the other hand, those same devices can drain us of precious time and our social media tends to disconnect us from authentic human interactions.
Here’s where I see the biggest problem. People have more “friends” than ever because they have hundreds of connections online. But yet too many of those same individuals sit at home feeling isolated, lonely and depressed. How can that be? Tons of virtual friends but no one to really talk to. No one to share your life with in person. No one to laugh with or cry with or go for a walk with. Just a lot of “likes” and emojis and photos of other people’s perfect lives.
Wow. How did we get here and how do we get out? Well, I’ve got an idea. Let’s start really connecting with the people we see each day. Let’s pay more attention to each personal interaction in our daily lives and see how that works.
So instead of texting and surfing, try talking and smiling! Look other people in the eyes when you meet them – what a concept?! How about calling a friend in real life and reconnecting over coffee? Or what about this? How about actually making a date to take a friend for lunch on their birthday instead of just sending an obligatory “Happy Birthday” greeting online? Can you imagine how surprised they would be?! You’d make their day.
When you think about it, do you really need hundreds of birthday greetings from all those “virtual friends?” Call me old fashioned, but I’d rather get one phone call from a true friend who remembered my birthday and wanted to hear my voice.
Once you start reaching out, you can start something big! Tee up some time for face-to-face fun. Ask friends over for an evening at your place. Pay attention to the people you see in your workplace and have a real conversation with them about something you love to do. And find out what makes them tick. Share a smile and a laugh and see how good it feels.
A few years ago, I started making a point to really connect authentically with people, each and every day, and it changed my life. I’m still doing it, so I know it works. In my case, I started sending a handwritten thank you card each day to someone who helped me the day before. It raises my mood and it raises their mood, so everybody wins. It’s a great way to connect and share good feelings in a personal way, through your thoughtfulness and your own handwriting.
So now it’s your turn. Whom could you connect with today face-to-face or with a personal phone call? Whom could you thank today for something nice they did for you or for support they gave you? Why not pick up a pen or pick up the phone and make that authentic personal connection. Leave the texting for another time! Technology will always be there — but it doesn’t have to run your life. Life is so much sweeter when you share it with a living breathing “someone else” instead of just your keyboard.
I’d love to hear how these ideas work for you! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences below and thank you for sharing goodness and gratitude in your corner of the world.