While I appreciate the advances of modern technology, one of my pet peeves concerning it is that we’ve become what I call “wired but disconnected.” If you’re like me, you know other people—even friends and family members—who share the disrespectful habit of talking on their cell phones, checking their emails, etc., while you’re trying to engage them in meaningful conversation, often during meals or other such private times.
It seems that we’ve become tethered to our gadgets but unplugged from the lives of those around us. The irony here is that our widgets were designed to draw us closer together instead of coming between us. Of course, if used properly, technology and its corresponding toys are gifts that allow us to stay in touch with those we love.
The “disconnect” occurs when otherwise well-meaning people fail to acknowledge and respect the proper protocol for communicating effectively. For example, think of the “walkie-talkie” cell phone user who publicly chats away, obviously oblivious to life as we know it. And don’t even get me started with “crackberry” users who pay more attention to incoming emails than to the person seated in front of them for supper.
What it all comes down to is a need to practice the presence of people. The most important person we encounter at any given moment is the one we’re with at the time. And the greatest gift we give another is to be fully present with that person, particularly if it is someone we claim to love but typically ignore in our chase to be “connected.”