This past summer I spent two weeks in Cost Rica on a volunteer trip without electricity or the use of my cell phone. I learned about being completely off the grid during this time, how much I relied on my phone…and that scared me. Our cell phones have become our social crutch and an excuse to exit any uncomfortable situation. Next time you’re in an elevator notice how everyone is simultaneously engrossed in their phone – it’s a little disturbing. Unfortunately, I believe this crutch is preventing us from developing genuine relationships with our peers.
During the week, I work at the Rat as a server. I serve a lot of different types of customers at my tables – frats, sororities, clubs, parents and their kids, awkward first dates (my personal favorite) – and all too often I find everyone at my table with their head down looking at their phone. Sometimes, I even encounter customers that are perplexed when I drop their food off, and must wake themselves from the coma that a Wikipedia search wormhole has created.
I would be lying if I said I was guiltless, I also love Buzzfeed, twitter, and Instagram, but I still try my hardest not to check my phone around my friends. As much as I love Trivia Crack, I love my friends more. It may sound crazy, but discussing your favorite television show with your friend is far more entertaining than every Buzzfeed post on the topic.
So before our ability to communicate disintegrates completely and we all use Stephen Hawking’s computer program to talk, let’s put away our phones. When you’re out with your friends, actually spend time with them. Talk to them about the things you want to Google, because we need to value this time with our college friends.
After we graduate, some of us will head to Law school, or Medical school, and find jobs far away from Miami. Save your phone for communicating with the people whose beautiful faces you can’t see in person. If you can’t get through a conversation with your friend without using your phone as a crutch, then maybe you should find yourself a better friend, or work on your social skills. The best relationships can stand up on their own.