Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Cell Phones and Relationships

Here in the Houston area when someone goes on a first date and doesn't get a call back, he/she can go to a website for a local radio show and fill out a form for the radio hosts to call the person and ask why he/she didn't call back after the first date. The hosts ask all sorts of questions and the person who filled out the form is listening in on the responses. That's the set-up. Really embarrassing, wouldn't you agree? I mean, obviously, if you went on a first date and the person doesn't call again, it's pretty clear that the date did not go well. And, let's face it, it's almost always women who initiate this to see why the man they went out with didn't call back.

This segment comes on while I drive back home after taking kids to school. I always think I should turn it off because it's so uncomfortable. I feel embarrassed for everyone involved. But it's one of those "I can't look away" situations. I'm embarrassed, but I want to hear why the guy didn't call back.

This morning's segment was a woman whose friends had signed her up for an online dating service. She'd received a note from a guy and agreed to a coffee date. She thought the date went well and she liked the guy, but he never called her back.  When the radio hosts got him on the phone, he explained that he didn't want to go on another date with her, because during the coffee date all she did was text, answer emails, and talk on her phone. He felt like he was on the date by himself. She countered that her job is stressful and she had to take those calls and answer the emails. The hosts told her that maybe this wasn't a good time for her to date if she's that busy.

This situation made me think of myself. How do I use my phone?Honestly, I am totally guilty of texting or reading texts while my kids are trying to talk to me. The majority of the time, I am texting one of my other kids. Sometimes, I am also emailing or reading emails. Some of that time is directly related to an issue with one of my kids (lately it has been about trying to get services for my son at school, but that's beside the point). The point is, back in the day, there were no cell phones, no email, no Facebook, no Twitter. We actually had interactions with live people and I think we had better relationships with them. I think technology is robbing us of establishing and maintaining relationships.

We have so little time to spend with the people who matter most to us. Some days it does feel like raising kids will last forever, but then, in a blink of an eye, they are on a mission, or at college, or married with their own babies. Once time has gone by, it doesn't come back. You can't save it and you can't stock up on it. Once it's gone, it's gone forever.

I need to be better at putting my phone away and truly listening to my kids, to my husband, to my friends. I need to stop allowing an electronic device to undermine my relationships. I feel like I don't have enough time with my kids as it is and I shouldn't be wasting that time surfing FB on my phone.

At the end of the day, relationships are what matter. I am going to put my phone away and focus on face-to-face interactions with my family when they are around. Yes, I will still text my other kids and family members because sometimes that's the only communication I have with them that day, but I am going to focus on not doing it at the expense of my other kids or my husband.


Stephanie Abney said...

Excellent post, Rebecca!!

Karlene said...

Great points! I am guilty of that.

Because I'm a self-employed freelancer, my schedule is fairly flexible. When I "play" during standard work hours, I make clear that I'm only able to play because I have a cell phone and if business calls, texts, messages come in, I have to take them.

But at other times, I need to Put The Phone Down!

Tamra Torero said...

I'm guilty off this too. I think we all are. it's just so easy having the world at our fingertips... and friends like you ( even though now you ARE just down the street)! :)

Tamra Torero said...

I'm guilty off this too. I think we all are. it's just so easy having the world at our fingertips... and friends like you ( even though now you ARE just down the street)! :)