It’s difficult to find true connection, commitment, and friendship in the 21st century. It’s not easy to bust down the barrier of our technology-filled lives; it’s like breaking and entering into somebody’s heart. Everybody’s got theirs completely surrounded by gadgets and gizmos of all kinds – phones, Netflix, laptops, Facebook, iPads, computers, stereos, Twitter, kindles, Instagram, TVs, blue-ray, Snapchat – the list goes on and on and on. And I’m guilty of it, too. Focusing on my phone when I should be focusing on the person in front of me. Trying to multitask with 3 different social media sites when I really should be focusing solely on my homework. Answering phone calls when I should be answering the people I’m sitting across the table from. I’ve made the deal with the devil, too, and I’m suffering for it just as much as the next person.
Just yesterday I was at a going away party for a friend that’s moving to France for two years. We were all laughing, reminiscing, and chatting most of the night, but we all had our phones in our hands… at beck and call just in case anybody were to text or snapchat us. After the party, I decided to stop and visit a friend that just moved into his new apartment on my walk home. We were catching up and making plans and talking, but he kept looking down at his phone to respond to texts or change the music on his stereo. And I couldn’t help but feel entirely disconnected from somebody I usually feel a really authentic bond with. I knew I was competing with his virtual reality, and I knew I was losing.
This morning I was reading an article on Elite Daily called How Sex Isn’t The Only Form of Infidelity These Days, and it was ridden with examples of how incredibly dull and drab our relationships have become due to our incessant obsession with the World Wide Web. It was focusing primarily on romantic relationships, but I think it points at some valid truth about all types of relationships and friendships: we care far more about the people we follow on Instagram than the people who are sitting right in front of us. We don’t hesitate to “like” photos of strangers and their seemingly perfect lives, but we don’t tell those we love how incredibly valuable and beautiful they are to us. We would rather subtweet our frustrations or hurt rather than confront and be honest with the people who have caused us pain.
I don’t understand it. I don’t see the value in that type of behavior, and I know that I’ve a culprit in this game just as much as anybody else. Who are we becoming? What kind of future are we creating for our children if we perpetuate this kind of barren and disconnected communication? What are we setting ourselves up for? Sad, lonely lives, I think. Lives that are lived online, but never in Love.
I’m not advocating for a technology free life. I see the value, importance, and immense progress we’ve made through the development of technology. What I am advocating for is a step away from technology. A step away from the obsession we have with the lives of others and what they post online, so that we can learn how to whole-heartedly live our own.