Saw this sign in Robin and my favourite Japanese restaurant on Upper Street.
Made us both laugh. Of course I've talked before about going out to dinner with my husband and at the adjoining table was a family of five with mom and dad and three children of varying teen years. Every single one of them had a device and none of them were talking to each other.
What was sad-funny was that they kept ignoring the waitress every time she hovered and asked if they were ready to order and then got het up when they finally lifted their heads from out of their electronic clouds and realised they were hungry.
You could say that with all the devises around and all the avenues for 'connecting' we are communicating more. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, Talkbook, Facegram, Chatsnap, etc., are all ways for us to connect. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with any of them; for some people they are a life-line.
But I do think the sign makes a good point; people who's heads are buried in their electronic gizmos aren't having conversations with the people they are with, though they may very well be 'conversing' with someone at the other end. It's often that they're playing games, though.
Like the family I witnessed at dinner, everywhere I go where people are eating, I see that most have their phones on the table if they aren't already poking at them or have them to their ears. There's an unspoken and probably completely unintentional message being given when that happens which is, "Something more important than being here with you may come up, so I have to be at the ready."
Personally, I find it incredibly annoying to sit with someone (even if it's not at a meal) who continually glances over or prods their phone to get the screen to wake up.
I know we're all supposed to get better at multi-tasking but when I'm at a meeting, in a workshop or indeed, out for a bite, I want to be able to converse with the person I'm with and not have this sense that they're only half present.
'Talk to each other instead' is about being fully present so you can engage with the people you're with; 'talk to each other instead' is about looking people in the eye and hearing what's going on for them; 'talk to each other instead' is about finding connections face to face.
Leave the electronic stuff for when it won't interfere with communication.
By Jo Ellen Grzyb, Director, Impact Factory