Is There Anything That Your Phone Can’t Interrupt?

For some reason my eyes are being opened in a new way to how rudely I treat people by paying more attention to my phone than I do them. I’m on a walk talking to my wife and my phone vibrates or “dings.” What do I do? I immediately disconnect with my wife to look at it.

I’m in a meeting and I get a text from someone. What do I do? Read the text and start responding while the person talking keeps right on going.

My kids are talking to me on one of our many car rides and someone calls. What do I do? Tell the kids to hang on and immediately answer the incoming call.

Friends are sitting on my deck visiting and someone texts me. I don’t hesitate to respond even though I’m in the middle of a conversation.

I’ve even caught myself at the dinner table checking to see if I have gotten any email!

Here’s the worst: I let my phone (text/email) interrupt my personal time with God. While reading the Bible and praying to the one and only God, I can’t resist the urge to read and respond to people. The same is true in the worship service on Sunday morning.

What is wrong with me? Why is it that I have turned over such power to technology and let it change (and probably harm) my ability to have relationships with other people?

I don’t know that I have the definitive answer or even a satisfactory one. Maybe it’s the rush of being connected to a web of people.

Maybe it’s the feeling of importance that comes from people wanting to be in touch with me, wanting to ask me a question or get my input.

Maybe my attention span has shrunk and I don’t have the ability to focus.

Maybe it’s easier to have text relationships rather than relationships with the people sitting in front of me.

I’m not sure what’s going on inside my head but I am sure that I don’t like it. If I were talking to another person, I wouldn’t willfully interrupt them. And yet I evidently have no problem checking my phone and carrying on a another conversation via text with someone who isn’t physically present all the while talking to another person, sitting in a meeting, or meeting with God.

Here’s the kicker: I’m not sure many (any?) others consider this behavior rude because they do it too. In other words it has become acceptable to multitask people and not just projects. Of course we all have come to expect others to immediately respond to our texts. Is this a good thing?

How do you see technology in general and smartphones in particular changing your relationships and how you treat other people?

Click here for part one of this series.

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