By Dan Krosse
They’re everywhere we go. You can’t miss the glow. The beeps. The chirps. The ringtones. And for many of us, leaving the room without our cellphone is enough to induce nervous sweats, shakes and anxiety.
We love our phones, but are any of us thinking about what the virtual world is costing us in the real world? Is technology pulling us farther away from each other with each google search, facebook post or tweet we’re making in the presence of a loved one? Look at the picture accompanying this article. Who hasn’t seen a table filled with people where no one is interacting with each other – just their cell phones?
Pets Feel it, too
When it comes to our pets – are we really there on those walks, if we’re talking on the phone, texting and catching up on CNN Breaking News? I’m working on leaving my phone at home when I take my dog for a walk. It’s more difficult than it sounds, and I should make it a New Year’s Resolution. But I think the effort is worth it. I remember those phone-less walks much more than the ones where I’m taking my Pixel-2 with me.
An article in Psychology Today shared a study where, “researchers found that the mere presence of a mobile phone is enough to diminish relationship quality.” The researchers discovered that you don’t even have to be on the phone; just its presence is a malevolent third wheel that is sucking the soul out of your personal interactions. I would bet – even with your pets.
A Toast to Change
All this got me thinking about a toast my nephew Doug made at his brother’s wedding. He wrapped up a fantastic speech with three pieces of advice from the couple’s dog “Little Man.” I would challenge each of us to follow Little Man’s advice with our loved ones and our pets in 2018, to improve our relationships and to help us be more present:
- Get really, really, really excited when your spouse comes home and act like you haven’t seen them in years, even though they’ve only been gone for an hour.
2. Enjoy all of life’s long walks, especially when there is a beautiful fountain at the end, even if you don’t know exactly what that fountain might look like.
3. Whether it’s on the coldest winter night, or the hottest summer day, figure out how to put your paw or your wet nose on the other person to let them know you are always there for them, in good times and in tough times.