Do you ever leave your phone at home? Do you leave it in your bag when you’re out with friends, or do you keep it on the table? Often, my phone ends up being on the table and when it vibrates, it distracts me from the person I am talking to. Usually the person who is sitting opposite of me also has their phone on the table. And when their phone vibrates, they become distracted, too.
When I got to Germany two weeks ago, I ordered a sim card, but because of the long Easter weekend, it had not arrived for twelve days. And so, once again, I took a break from having a phone and making myself available to people at all times, trying to be in touch with everyone around the clock.
Sure, I couldn’t get half of the things done that I’d usually do on the go. At the same time, knowing that I couldn’t catch up with people online, I could focus on the conversations I was having in that very moment. I could focus on the people fully. They noticed. And suddenly, they also left their phones in their pockets. It was like a pleasant social phenomena; setting technology aside and being present.
These past ten days were filled with various business meetings, but also with an unusually high number of intense, hour-long conversations; exchanges that went much deeper than the usual intermezzos we seem to be capable off these days; before, once again, we get distracted by our phones. It was a time filled with conversations where you might run out of topics, but because you don’t look for distraction in your phone, you manage to pick up another topic and surf the wave of unexpected ideas. Maybe you might appreciate the read about the Art of Conversation from last year’s December issue of the New Yorker.
Next time you go out, think of me and leave your phone in your bag or at home. Enjoy what happens next. Silence is ok too.
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