“Wait! I forgot my phone!” I said as we headed out the back door.
Who can’t relate to the freak out moment of forgetting your cell phone? We gotta have them. Always by our side. Always checking them. For me, ever since they have become more than just a phone I act like I can’t be very far from it.
I don’t think I have phone anxiety.
We were on our way to a birthday party. The fall evening was perfect for an outdoor party. Ideal for walking.
Spontaneously, I decided to just leave my phone buried in our house. “I can live without it for a short while,” I announced. I knew I wasn’t expecting any important phone calls. I locked the door and pulled it shut behind me. The rest of the evening out, I didn’t think one minute further about my phone – except once or twice when I didn’t know the time or when I saw somebody else staring at their brightly lit screen. (And I may or may not have coveted for a brief second or two.)
Later when we got home, I was reunited with my cell phone. Disappointed, I looked at my screen. Only a couple of boring push notifications laced my screen. Nothing real heart warming. Bummer!
And, then I thought, “See, it’s ok to leave your phone for an entire evening. You don’t miss anything great anyway.”
My entire evening at the birthday party was soaked up with taking with people in REAL LIFE. Looking back it was such a fun night.
Jason and I have been on each other lately about putting our phones and iPads down to have family time. It’s frustrating to be eating a meal when one of us on mentally checking out on a screen or when we’re walking together and one of us is in their own little world with their phone. I could give many more examples… but, I think you get it. Each time we are nudged to free our hands it’s like getting pricked with a pin.
You know how it is when you’re at a party and just finished taking to someone and you have that moment of ‘now what?’ So instead of looking like a loser all alone you go on your phone and mindlessly start scrolling through Facebook or Instagram? Well, since I forgot my phone…. Guess what I did? I went and found somebody else to talk to! I was so cool! I left that party feeling like I had talked intentionally to so many people. And when it was time to leave, there were others I wished I could have talked to.
Our friends don’t want us to be physically present at a party. They want us to be mentally present.
Our families don’t want us to be physically sitting in the chair next to us. They want us to look and listen and be a part of them.
Recently I read somewhere that the proper etiquette for cell phones at a restaurant is to keep them out of sight and especially off the table. If you are expecting a phone call, keep your phone on vibrate and on your lap if you must so you don’t miss the call.
I think that should be etiquette for hanging out with friends. The most important person to be communicating with is the person right in front of you. I often feel like I’m boring or not important enough if I’m with someone and they are repeatedly glancing at their phones. I want others to think that Jolynn cares about me or likes me because I gave them my full attention.
Intentional friendship involves full attention. When our minds are engaged with the people closest to us. When we are a part of the people around us. Don’t be confused and think that this means you have to talk or say something intelligent or funny or anything at all. Eye contact. Listening. Following along. All that is intentional. The loudest or most chatty doesn’t equal the most intentional.
My husband remembers things better than me. Perhaps that is because he is the one that is part of a group listening. He takes it all in, swallows every moment, every word and can give a full accurate character sketch of each person there. That’s one of the things I love about him. He listens. For real.
Let’s be intentional with our girlfriends this week! Let’s leave our phones in our purses, out in the car or in the kitchen drawer when others come over. Let’s put them away when we eating together, hanging out in the living room or at least in our pocket on vibrate when taking a walk together.
Let’s be intentional by being fully present.
Want to follow my series on intentional friendship? Catch up reading here.