Who are You Talking too?
Imagine a time when walking into a neighborhood department store, looking around to see if you recognized someone you knew.
Imagine a time when having dinner at a local restaurant and a conversation began with the waiter or waitress.
Imagine standing in a checkout line and striking up a conversation with the person standing in front or in back of you.
Imagine being on an elevator and talking to the stranger riding up with you.
Imagine a time when people were actually interested in being friendly and neighborly to perfect strangers.
This short exercise is not a fairytale but a way of life before the invention of the smartphone.
Who are You Talking too on the Smartphone?
Recently, I made a bold move and began talking to strangers again. Yes…I was the one standing in line at Starbucks mimicking everyone else in line…staring down at the device in our hands acting engaged and busy!
If you’re honest…when pulling out the smartphone in a public place, it’s to occupy time while waiting. Nothing earth shattering needs attended too on that time robber.
Here’s what inspired me to write this article.
My son was recently home for a visit. He’s a 27 year old millennial. However, he doesn’t fit into the millennial label as you will quickly see.
We were out to dinner and I noticed something about him that reminded me of my parents and myself at one time long ago. He talked to everyone. He took time to talk to the restaurant hostess that greeted us. As we were waiting, he turned and talked to the couple next to us. When we were seated, he engaged the waiter in a conversation.
By the time we left the restaurant, he had made four strangers into acquaintances! The couple he talked to while we were waiting; he helped them find a BMW mechanic.
As we were leaving the restaurant he turned to me and said
“Ma, that was fun”
I replied, “Where did you learn talk to strangers so freely?”
“From you ma. You use to talk to strangers all the time.”
Wow…he had me there. During dinner both our smartphones stayed tucked away but Luke was right…I use to be the one who talked to everyone around me. What happened?
Once Upon a Time
The time before smartphones, I clearly remember how cumbersome it was to type out a text message on a Blackberry or other type of flip phone. Instead of taking 5 minutes to type a sentence as a text, I called the person I was trying to text.
When the iPhone hit the market, it was a couple of years before I finally succumbed and my smartphone habitual use began it’s journey…like everyone else.
Don’t get me wrong..I LOVE technology. I love getting information at my fingertips. I love engaging in real time.
Here’s the question though….
What do you really need that piece of technology in your hand called the smartphone? What is it really for?
And how about the endless emails on your smartphone? I don’t know about you, but I delete more than I actually read.
What about all those notifications pings throughout the day? How many are actually useful?
Yes..I’m suggesting you reconsider engaging with the people around you instead of the digital people on your phone. The smartphone is a convenience, not a life.
If you need more persuading, then listen to this Zig Ziglar’s Podcast called “Reclaim extra time, attention and peace from that thief in your pocket.” This podcast will be worth your time.
Talk to strangers today. Strike up a conversation. Make a new friend or a business friend. Stop staring at the device and stare out into the world around you.
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