[Column] Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten: Why are you picking up your phone?
Try this for a week: whenever you pick up your phone when you’re with other people, explain to them in advance what you’re going to do on it.
Checking your email or Twitter? Sending a text? Swiping right on Tinder? Be honest and announce it.
See, to other people, it seems just like you’re just staring at a black piece of plastic. You might be reading The Brothers Karamazov, curing cancer, or talking to six people at once, but nobody will guess it from the stupid blank stare on your face.
The benefit of explaining what you’re doing on your phone has an extra benefit beyond people knowing what you’re doing. It also forces you to think about what you’re going to do, and maybe make you realize it really isn't necessary.
If you tell your boyfriend or girlfriend "I’m just going to mindlessly refresh Instagram instead of asking you how your day went," you might realize that you’re really being a dick. If you admit "I’m just opening and closing emails I don’t want to deal with right now instead of paying attention to this meeting," you might realize you’re better off just excusing yourself from the meeting.
Too often we will grab a phone just to DO something.
This reminds me of a friend of mine who smokes. When he felt self-conscious and insecure he would grab his cigarettes. It would be a simple routine that gave him something to do. On top of that there was the physical addiction, but he also just liked to have a back-up for those kinds of situations.
I think most of us recognize that feeling. If there’s ever any awkwardness you can always just grab your phone and hide away inside of it. And as convenient as that may feel, wouldn’t it be better to not grab your phone as a way to hide from your responsibilities?
Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten is een serial internet entrepreneur en is oprichter en eigenaar van The Next Web, een techmediabedrijf dat zich focust op Generation T; de generatie met een groeiende interesse in technologie. Voor The Next Web schrijft Boris wekelijks een blog die tevens wordt gepubliceerd op Marketing Report.
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