Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Eye Contact in the Modern World

Think back. Way back. To your high school dances. Have you ever been dancing with someone and they are looking around the room? Possibly they're looking to see who's watching them and what they are thinking, or possibly they're looking at (or for) more attractive dance partners. Either way, it doesn't feel good.

That's how it feels when someone is constantly looking at their phone when I'm out with them.

Now, I'm fortunate enough to have a group of friends who are techno-savvy as well as polite enough to make me feel like they really want to be there with me, not whoever may call or text in the next five minutes. But I know I'm one of the lucky ones.

It's the elephant in the room that makes us feel like "old fogies" when we bring it up. I didn't include it in my last article, but it deserves some discussion. It's not just etiquette, it's a lack of appreciation for a person you may really care about. It poisons the intimate, face-to-face connection that all of us crave and that all of these technologies were created to foster, not destroy. It's behavior that says "I'm not that into you," even when you may be.

As cell phone technology has advanced, users have been more and more trained to look for that "greener grass." This habit robs them of the enjoyment of the moment, time spent with the people who like them enough to make time to be with them in person. Being an adult is about making sacrifices and taking the chance on committing to something to reap deeper rewards. Only kids float from place to place, always searching, always proving and impressing, and never stopping to revel in the intrinsic satisfaction of the current experience. Having a short attention span and taking people for granted are immature traits.

So take a chance on the person in front of you, and let the rest of the world find someone else to dance with for an hour.

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