Disconnect from technology, connect with friends

We’ve all been there. Sitting across from Friend A at the table, we tell her about our fight with Friend B and how she was so insensitive, but that we’re thankful that Friend A is always there for us. We look up at Friend A, expecting the understanding and sympathetic look we’re so grateful for, only to find that she’s Snapchatting.

She’s Snapchatting!

It’s sad, but when I look around at restaurants, dinner tables, meetings and classes, I see lots of Friend As (A for Addict). In fact, I used to be Friend A. Not only Friend A, but Daughter A, Girlfriend A and Sister A.

However, when I realized that I hated being seen as Friend A by others, I finally stopped taking my phone out during conversations.

Sure, we all check our phones while we’re sitting around waiting for the shuttle, for class to start or for commercials to end. But during a face-to-face conversation, the only thing we should be waiting for is the other person’s next statement, which we won’t find by looking at our phones.

It’s awkward to talk to someone who’s texting someone else. You wonder if you should just wait for them to stop because if you continued speaking, you’d probably be met with a “Wait, what?” once you’ve finished anyway.

Our generation can certainly vouch for how messy text conversations can become, which is why we seek out face-to-face interactions. So, if you’re going to go out of your way to meet up with someone, make him or her feel like you actually want to be there. Pro tip: checking the likes on your latest Instagram is not the way to do that.

If you’re Friend A, you are unknowingly upsetting the people across from you who are pouring out their hearts while you are busy deciding between the “0 miles per hour” or temperature filters on Snapchat. Even if the person across the table isn’t spilling his deepest secrets out to you, there is something to be said about giving your full attention to the people you interact with. It’s almost pathetic how good I feel when I talk to someone who never looks at their phone because it’s such a rarity today.

I’ve found that it frustrates a lot of people to have conversations with a distracted person, but no one speaks up to their friends about it or curbs their own habits. If gymming is too ambitious of a New Year’s Resolution, consider being more mindful of your phone usage during conversations. If you’re feeling extra bold, call a friend out on his or her habits. Sometimes addicts just need a push to help them out of their old ways.

Try to leave your phone in your pocket or bag when talking to someone instead of placing it on the table where it can be a temptation. If your phone rings or vibrates and you must answer it, excuse yourself from the table or apologize before answering. You’ll be surprised at how pleased your company will be at your manners.

Don’t add to the stereotype of mindless millennials who text through life’s important moments. Remember, no one wants a Friend A.

Nayna Shah is a junior majoring in biology.


Featured photo courtesy Pixabay user dangquocbuu

January 25, 2016


Nayna Shah

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