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Making Time for People | Chapter 2

Emily Dean


Phones are for friends

I vividly remember the day I got a cell phone. The case was a shocking shade of iridescent blue, the sort of color you only spot on the shell of a June bug. The keyboard slid from the side with a very satisfying ‘click’.

To say the least, I was ecstatic.

That little blue phone opened up a whole new world. Suddenly, my relationships grew much closer. I had plans on the weekends and friends to talk to at all hours of the day (and night). At 16, I was the last of my friends to get a phone, and the wait made it all the more wonderful.

When I think back to those days, I can’t help but laugh. My simple little qwerty keyboard has been replaced by a handheld computer. A phone’s purpose isn’t just to talk to people anymore. Now, there are millions of things we can do on our phones. Most of these things do not include conversation. Instead of connecting me to friends, I often find my phone driving me away from them.

If you don’t believe me, I challenge you to conduct a social experiment. Next time you find yourself in a public place, do a sweep of the room. How many people have their eyes in their phones instead of on the people they are with?

Please let me know if the answer is zero. It would make me very happy.

I’ve put a lot of thought into how I can challenge this “norm”, and wanted to share some practical ideas with you.

1. I find texts to be very impersonal. Maybe you like them. that is fine - if so, skip to number two. Lately, I’ve been sending people voice memos instead of text messages. In doing so, I can convey the words I want to say instead of writing out my message in shorthand. When I receive a voice memo from someone, I am delighted. I hope the recipients feel the same.

2. When feeling lonely, do you ever mindlessly pick up your phone and scroll through Instagram? I sure do. Instead of responding to the friends waiting for me to get back in touch with them, I often choose to look into their lives instead of taking part in them. I’m working on creating a new habit. If there is someone I need to text or respond to, I’ll do that BEFORE opening Instagram. I don’t want to be a spectator in the lives of those around me. I want to be a participant.

3. Once upon a time, phones had only one function - the ability to call people. Imagine that! If I’m missing a certain friend or haven't talked to my mom in a while, I’ll pull on my boots, head down the sidewalk, and give them a call. No matter how far away you may be from each other, you can always take a walk and talk.

These ideas are exceptionally simple and not-at-all profound. I hope they encourage you to make time for people in your life. Stay tuned for chapter 3!

Article & Photography by, Madeline Long