In the same way that it is easy for someone not embrace each day of the week due to being completely absorbed in what will happen at the weekend, it is also just as easy for them to ignore the people in their life due to being completely absorbed in their Smartphone. In each of these cases, the present moment won’t be fully embraced.
A Smartphone could be seen as the ideal piece of technology for the mind, since it gives the mind a way to leave the present moment. The mind needs something to do and it doesn’t have anything to do in the now.
But, while someone’s mind will be happy to be totally absorbed in this piece of technology, it doesn’t mean that the people they spend time with will be equally happy with this. Then again, if these people are also glued to their device, it might not bother them that much.
Most of their time will be spent somewhere else, even though their physical body will be right in front of them. There is a term that comes to mind here, and this is ‘together alone’, whereby two people are together but they are still alone.
In The Same Boat
When two people behave in this way, there may be moments when they get annoyed that the other is not present but this could soon pass. Before long, what is taking place on a screen will be far more important.
The person who is right in front of them will be more like a distraction than someone who is an important part of their life. So, as long as the other doesn’t want too much of their attention, everything should be fine.
When someone spends a lot of time on a Smartphone when they are around others, it can also be a way for them to hide. And if they don’t feel comfortable with being seen, they will feel comfortable around people who behave in the same way.
The other person will be too busy looking at a screen to really see them, and this could stop them from feeling unconformable. Deep down they will want to be seen, but the baggage that is within them will have caused them to also have the opposite need.
Ultimately, they are an interdependent human being, and this is why they need human contact. Thus, when this doesn’t take place, it is going to have a negative effect on their wellbeing.
Yet, when someone is carrying a lot of shame, for instance, and doesn’t want to be around people who actually show up, it is going to stop them from being able to fulfil this need. The need to hide will be stronger than the need to be seen.
If someone is consumed by their device and the person they are with doesn’t spend as much time on it, it is bound to have a negative effect on them as time goes by. In the beginning, this could be something that they could brush off and simply tolerate.
They might end up asking them to not use their Smartphone as much, with the hope that they will see how destructive it is for them to behave in this manner. They might not get the message, though, and continue to behave in this way.
If these two people are in an intimate relationship, the emotional connection that they have might start to disappear. The person who spends a lot of time on their device will have already been directing a lot of their energy towards their phone (this might even be their primary relationship), and now the other person will start to pull their energy back.
From the outside, it might seem as though their relationship hasn’t changed, and this could be because they still live together. This will be nothing more than an illusion, as the bond that existed between them will have stated to erode.
A friendship between two people can end up going down the same path, too. Here, someone might not spend us much time in the other’s company, but the time that they do spend with them is unlikely to be very fulfilling.
So, unlike the person who is in a relationship with someone like this, they won’t spend as much time in the presence. Or, as this person will rarely be present, it would be more accurate to say they won’t see them as much.
But, regardless of what the context is, there are certain things that are likely to occur when someone is unable to put their device to one side and to be present. The person they are with can end up feeling ignored, disrespected, and as though they are not valued.
These emotions are going to be like kryptonite to the emotional connection that they have. What this emphasises is that it is not enough for someone to be in another person’s company; their whole presence needs to be there.
This is then similar to how it is not enough for a parent to be in close proximity to their child in order for their child to feel seen - they need to be fully present with them. A child can be neglected without being physically abandoned; this can take place by having a parent who is physically present but emotionally unavailable.
Speaking up about what is going on might be the best approach to take; but someone might find it easier to look towards another person to fulfil their needs if they are in a relationship. Taking the second option can end up creating another problem, while not solving the first.
If someone realises that they spend too much time on their device when they are around others, they can start to put their phone away around others - doing this will make it easier for them to truly show up. This something that is likely to have a positive effect on all of their relationships.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.