Do you love your phone more than you love having sex? Research says you might. In fact, 1 in 5 people (ages 18-34) have used their phones while having sex. (Shocking, I know.) Cell phone usage and the warnings against it are not new, yet we continue to use our smartphones as a distraction or even as an escape in the most intimate of times.
If you’re ever around me, there is a great chance you’ll hear me say: “If you’re going to be here, be here.” What do I mean by this? There is absolutely nothing that both enrages me and makes my blood pressure rise more than when I’m having a conversation or hanging out with someone, and their focus is either divided or just plain missing altogether because they are on their cell phone. So to avoid this, I encourage them to “be here”.
Let’s be honest, when people are on their cell phones during a conversation, they are only half-listening or half-engaged in the conversation. They are mentally checked out due to the fact that their mind is wandering on their smartphone. In fact, according to LifeHack.org, the average person checks their cell phone 110 times a day.
I bet if you were SUPER intentional about tracking your smartphone use, you would be shocked at how often you pick it up, check it, and respond to something; but this article isn’t just about being on your smartphone. It’s about being mentally present during every task, conversation, job, date, etc, you ever have. A mentor and friend of mine, Clay Clark, often says “being present is a present”, and I agree with this. If you are only slightly participating in a conversation, you are both doing yourself a disservice and pissing off the person you’re talking to (guaranteed), because they know exactly what you’re doing.
Marriage and Care Pastor at Fellowship Bible Church Dallas, Richard Kerry, says “Humans long for connection. When you’re distracted, you’re disconnected. The only way to create a connection is to stay mindfully present in the moment. Be present. Put your phone down. Make eye contact. Studies show that making eye contact activates the social parts of our brains – allowing us to establish a connection and empathy. You can’t do that with a phone in your face.”
I get it, we are all pulled in a million different directions each day. So many tasks are competing for our focus and attention, so it’s important to be intentional about what we commit to and what we say yes to. Whatever you say yes to-focus on it, and give it your undivided attention. Feel free to turn your phone on airplane mode or Do Not Disturb the next time you go on a date or are doing something at your job, and see how much better your focus is when you do something as simple as leaving your phone in the car or turning it off altogether; the results are remarkable. Whatever you are doing if you have decided to be there . . . be there! Do not be the person that commits to something, but goes away on a mental journey to Whoknowswhereville.
Decide to be all in. If you’re not, simply just say no to the task or conservation! People will appreciate your honesty and when you do say yes to something, they will appreciate your mental presence and engagement.