Last night after dinner I had a real moment of ‘what has happened to the way we communicate with each other?’ Let me explain. So here I am, lucky enough to be sunning myself in the Caribbean staying at a beautiful resort swarming with newly-weds. Now maybe it’s an age thing, actually, I know it is because I look around me and see couples sitting opposite each other in a truly stunning setting, with the person they love, on their mobile phones. Transfixed and almost drugged by the lure of social media that there is no verbal communication and certainly no non-verbal signs that they are even in the same room as their partner.
I remember a time before email accounts and mobile phones, where we actually picked up a phone and spoke words to each other, when we were out for the evening we were present and not distracted by the beep of a phone or the desperation and constant need to share our lives on social media. We looked each other in the eye and communicated in the good old fashioned way.
Don’t get me wrong, one of the first things I wanted to do when I arrived was to take some photos and add them to Facebook- I asked myself why this was so important, why I needed to share a photo of a palm tree and a white sandy beach. What was I getting from my need to share this? Is it a sense of connection?
As I sat with my partner (without our phones) watching these couples absorbed in their individual lives on their various devices, I felt a real sense of sadness, a realisation that this is how we choose to communicate now.
I might be a little harsh with my thoughts on this one, and I absolutely know I can be as caught up and obsessed with my phone as the next person. I have had the “mum you’re not listening because you’re too busy with your phone.” I’m not proud of it and I am consciously doing something to change this.
While I am on holiday my phone remains in the room. My partner and I have verbalised the fact that we are only allowing ourselves to check our phones in the morning- just once, and in the evening- just once. Why? Because it is vital to any relationship, be it personal or work related, that we understand the importance and need for the most basic of connections- verbal communication and that of human interaction and contact.
So on that note, I am putting my iPad down and applying the sunscreen.