Thursday, May 22, 2008

TFT: how in touch are you?

I went to our women's bible study group this morning and Beth touched on something that I wanted to think about and get your thoughts on this Thursday...
Our study this week was on patience and Beth mentioned her reflection on how little patience our world has these days... that we can be such an impatient society, and just one example of that is with our pagers and emails and cell phones... all these were of course created for convenience, but in so many cases it's resulted in becoming a must. How so many of us feel that these days; that we must get ahold of that person now, that we must always be multitasking, we must always have access to the internet, to calling someone, texting someone, getting ahold of someone now. We're all about the immediate response... the here and now.

I don't use my cell phone a lot. And this might be rare, but my phone is simply a phone. I do have internet access, but I don't think I've ever used it. It's not a camera phone. It's simply a phone. You know, to make phone calls with.
I rarely talk when I'm driving. For one, I most always have my kids in the car and being stuck in a confined space like that and trying to hold a conversation on the phone with those quiet and considerate (please note the sarcasm) little ones over my shoulder is the last thing I want to do. Plus, I kind of think it's rude. Not so much now that there's two of them, and they can fight with talk to each other, but how would I feel if I were driving across town with my husband and he spent the whole time on the phone, I'd think how rude. If I'm in the car with them, I should be having conversations with them. Or just keeping quiet to myself. Not talking over them or ignoring them.
When I am by myself, I rather enjoy the quiet. :)
If I'm making a long drive on my own, I'll usually call someone up to chat a bit, but that's about the only time.

I use my phone, I think, as cell phones were originally intended. For emergencies, or for getting ahold of someone for meeting up/change of plans, quick check-ins, etc.
Maybe it's because I'm not a phone person to begin with. I'm not one to often call anyone just to chat. I have to really make myself do that. I usually don't pick up the phone unless I have a reason. And then it's usually just a quick, to the point conversation.

For a long while, we didn't have a house phone, and I used my cell phone then accordingly. Now that we do, I usually leave my phone in the car. I find myself feeling bad when I miss or ignore calls on my cell phone. Back to the "immediate gratification" mindset of the world these days, we know that most people's cell phones are always on, always accessible. We expect to be able to get ahold of anyone at anytime these days. I feel guilty when I don't answer my phone or leave it in the car and find out someone was trying to get ahold of me. Like I always have to make excuses. And while I do leave it in my purse or my car much of the time I'm home, the reality is, when I do have my phone on me? When I'm out and about or driving around town or hanging out with friends? Most of the time I still don't answer the phone. If someone's trying to get ahold of me for an emergency, they will. Otherwise, I don't really want to chat while I'm grocery shopping, while we're at the playground, while I'm driving to the zoo. I'm with my kids, I'm with my husband, I'm otherwise occupied. Why do I feel guilty for that? Because I have a phone with me, because I have that capability, I feel bad that friends and family might think I'm just choosing to ignore them because I don't want to talk to them. That I don't always take advantage of these conveniences we have.

I feel guilty because I look around and it seems that we live in a world where people use cell phones and email and text all the time. Where parents sit and talk on their cell phone in the car while ignoring their kids (or putting a movie on for them on the portable dvd player), or blab on their cell phones on the park bench while their kid runs wild on the playground. Where friends text other friends in the midst of conversations with friends that are face to face right in front of them. It's becoming the norm. Maybe not always for us parents, but most definitely for the teens and young adults growing into our world.
I find myself wondering if our "convenient" and immediate communication isn't also stealing a little from being completely involved in the life and the people in front of us?

What are your thoughts? What are your communication habits? Are you easily swept up in the being in touch at the touch of a button? Do you find yourself taking calls and texts instead of giving complete attention to the people and things around you? Are you an old fuddy duddy like me who just shakes their head at the whole text message all the time thing?
How "in touch" are you at any given time?

And other Thoughts for Thursday bloggers today:
Jenny, Jessica, Cass, Denise, Kristi, Jess


Jessica said...

I have actually taken a big step back from being so in touch lately. I was getting to the point where every time I was alone in the car with the kids, I'd get on the phone...and I started to realize I was on the phone too much at home as well. The comp is another one I try to balance a litle better lately. Since I've tried to not be so "in touch", I've realized that my days feel more full, I feel more in touch with my kids, and even more like I accomplished things...even when I really didn't!

I think it's something that's hard to balance. It's easy to get caught up in what you're doing on the computer, or a long conversation on the phone...the way things are now, it's soooo easy to get caught up, I think.

Robyn said...

I'm pretty much in the I have one for emergencies and because it is handy. Do I use it, rarely, my minute usage is minuscule. I have internet on it, but have never really used that either maybe because the piece of junk wasn't working and has been replaced twice since Dec. DO NOT GET A RAZOR. Though it is nice to have when your stuck somewheres and bored. I forget it more often than not. The only people who call me on it usually are my husband and stepson and I don't always want to talk to either one of them:)
My husband would be lost without one, L-O-S-T.

karicarp said...

So interesting that you blogged about this today. My mom and I were just talking tonight, or rather she was "scolding" me, because I rarely answer my phone. We have both a house phone and cell phones, however... both have voicemail and I figure it's not always convenient for me to just drop everything immediately to answer the phone and quite honestly the majority of the time I just don't FEEL like talking. I'll call them back when i'm not busy or maybe in a "better mood" or when my kids aren't in need of my attention. People trying to contact me seem to think it's that I don't want to talk to "them". Not the case... in fact... I DO want to talk to them, but wouldn't they also rather have my undivided attention to what we are calling about vs. my attention being diverted else where while I am on the phone.

So many things are so distracting and lead our minds where we really hadn't intended them to be. I like that at your study you all brought this up and it's really something that's super healthy (IMO) to be intentional about.

I am SO out of the loop with texting also... NEVER use it. I have tried it, but I felt like, why do I need this?

I am guilty of using the computer way to often and ignorning things around home... I honestly think I might be addicted to the dang computer, but I can feel so productive with so many things I do on the computer. Do you struggle with that at all? This is something I need to SERIOUSLY work on and balance it INTENTIONALLY!

Great post!

jenny said...

i prefer not to be around my kid when i'm on the phone - i can never concentrate on my conversation! i'm also not a big 'phone' person. i'd rather talk to you in person if anything. with that being said...

i usually have my cell phone on me. i have in case something happens, but also i guess i'm totally making myself available to others. i'm fine with that i guess. i don't usually let the phone or computer get in the way of the other things i have to get done around the house - or the time i spend with my family.

i think i have a happy balance? :)

Anonymous said...

i admit that i do talk on the phone in my car when i'm driving with max. i've started to feel a little guilty about it though, so i probably won't be doing it for much longer. it's just that right now he can't talk back to me. although i know he benefits from just listening to me - and i do talk to him and sing him songs - but at some point it's hard for me to keep carrying on that one-way conversation when i can't really be interactive with him in any other way, not even look at him really. soon though he'll be able to talk to me and i don't think i'll be on my phone as much then.

i think it's interesting that my mom is one of the worst people i know with her cell phone... she owns her own business and so she's constantly available to her employees. but even if my sister or someone else calls, she ALWAYS picks up no matter where we are and her phone rings SO loud. agh.

i don't mind being connected most of the time, but i have no problem letting my phone go to voicemail. and i do love going to our cabin because our phones barely work out there... we have a TV but never turn it on... NO computer (that is worse for me than a phone ever is). it's nice to feel FREE. :)

Anonymous said...

I think I fall into the 'old fuddy duddy' category... I have a cell phone but I do NOT text, and I thinking texting is super annoying. I agree with you that it is rude to be checking one's phone/taking calls/texting while in the presence of other people. I feel offended when I'm with friends at a social gathering, and they find it more important to check their phones or answer calls than to appreciate the live person in front of them. I think some people feel really important or 'cool' when they're out and about and their phone rings a lot or they have to respond to a bunch of texts. Does it show how popular they are? I don't know.

Anyway, I also find it sad that people have such a hard time disconnecting from technology these days. Weekends, vacations, holidays...these to me seem like times it would be nice to turn off the phone, turn off the computer, and just enjoy some real human interaction and relaxation, without the bothers of being constantly accessible and connected.

I'm not much of a phone talker myself, and enjoy my cell phone in that it has caller ID and I can avoid a call if I want to, and save the return call for a later time when I'm not busy or otherwise distracted. The computer however...I'd say that's probably my one addiction. I've been trying to limit my time on it though, and feel like I get lots more accomplished when I set limits on my computer time.

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