Deeply Craving Technology-Free Time

You know what is a pet peeve of mine?

Hanging out with friends but not really sharing our time, minds, or hearts openly.

To me, when I ask to hang out with you, I expect to truly catch up with you. To give you my undivided attention. To leave my phone in a bag, turned on silent. To fully immerse my energy into whatever activity we are doing together.

What kind of friend am I if I text someone else while my friend is talking to me? Or if I cut a friend off to take a phone call that is not emergent? I don’t want to be with you and behave in a way that says, “This is more important than you right now.”

And yet, I feel like this half-hearted, semi-attentive, selective-processing way of ‘hanging out’ has become the norm. Especially since we can be virtually connected to anything, anyone, anywhere, at any given time. When we have so many opportunities, so many distractions to look at, no wonder it is difficult for us to choose one to listen to.

I decided to go super gung-ho with setting technology aside this weekend. And I think I just chose the wrong weekend. For an hour, I was with someone not of my choosing and found that having a phone would have been a really great excuse to leave or make a call. I craved an escape route. Another evening, I was invited to a movie night where the two people I sat next to texted one another. The final evening, I suggested a picnic dinner as the night was cooling down and the sunset was spectacular. It was the most lackluster experience in terms of company until we went back inside and watched tv. Then, and only then, did my company laugh.

I would like to make a disclaimer: to go without technology, I suggest inviting company to be with you who you find intriguing, who you love, who you want to get to no more, etc. I wonder though, despite how we select our companionship and time, we have come to depend on technology for connection….rather than what we have naturally in front of us?

I know that I feel disappointed, sad, and empty after not giving others the attention they deserve OR not finding that others behavior whole-heartedly reflects how much they cherish me.

I think I am more aware of this because of dancing tango. After all, dancing for a few hours at a time, being fully available to a partner, and not picking up my phone while dancing or between songs…..I have discovered a great deal about my partners and myself. I want that discovery and awareness beyond tango. Is that a thing of the past or it is possible that it is attainable today?

And even if this openness, availability, and consciousness of putting technology aside to fully experience our time with others isn’t reciprocated, should I still continue doing so? Will that be fulfilling?

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