Put your phone down and say hello


Lisa Alioto

10 March 2020 30 comments

How many times have you stepped into an elevator and not a single person, even the ones you know, have their heads down, phones on, and they never utter a single greeting to you?   Have you ever gone to a restaurant and seen a table full of friends not talking to each other and instead texting others on their phones?   Or, have you ever walked by a fellow student in the hallway and they are so wrapped up with the music coming through their ear buds that they don’t really see you?

What happened to a friendly hello?  The greeting that may simply be as kind and brief as that.  Or the hello that is the start of a cordial conversation.  What happened to it?  I’ll tell you in two words:  Modern technology.

Modern Technology

Music has made has become a mainstay for many when they aren’t actively involved in another activity (or even when they are).  Whether traveling to work or just a meeting at work, music has taken over the friendly chats that used to happen on the way to meetings.  The informal sharing of ideas is gone.  The desire to strengthen working relationships in this way has been sidelined.

Smartphones is the other big culprit swirling around in this arena.  If there’s a free moment, many instantly grab their phones to check Facebook, Twitter, message a friend, or monitor emails.  Big deal?  Little deal?  No deal?   I think it depends when and why you do it.

As far as when, driving and texting – big distraction.  In the middle of an important conversation with a friend – disrespectful?  As far as why, is it to avoid human interaction?   To catch up on work? FOMO (Fear of missing out)?

What worries me is two things here:

Human Interaction:   It seems to have become devalued.  Interacting via devices seems to have taken over as the quicker, more efficient option.  But is it a quality substitution?  It seems to me that there are losses that should be considered.   Personally, I see our ability to effectively communicate in person has suffered a bit.  Our opportunities to communicate with those we may not do so otherwise are also lost.  The person in the hallway at school, in the elevator, walking down the street…  These may not seem like important connections to make but in a world as busy as ours, the power of a strong network cannot be undervalued and the value of the ability to communicate effectively cannot be underestimated.

Down TimeOur minds need a rest.  What once was filled with quiet thoughtful moments of reflection and rest time for our brains has now been taken over by other activities.  This time is also often the time where our minds wander the most and our creative juices flow.   Lastly, we need this down time to rest and regroup as a part of our own self-care.   If we don’t get it, we are bound to collapse from over-stimulation at some point.

So, all that said, I challenge you today to put down the phone, shut off the music for a bit and walk around and spread a few hello’s around.  If you do, what kind of response did you receive?  How did it feel on your end?

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30 thoughts on “Put your phone down and say hello

  1. We’re so out of touch without each other these days. Thank you for opening our eyes to some of these problems xxx

    1. Lisa Alioto

      You are welcome Ashley – I”m glad you enjoyed the article!

  2. I agree with you! Our phones have taken over our lives, essentially. That’s why whenever I’m out with someone, especially if we’re eating, I won’t touch my phone unless someone calls. Meditating and reading the old fashioned way help me, as well.


    1. Lisa Alioto

      Those are two great additional ideas Miriam! Thank you for sharing them!

  3. Absolutely! It makes me so sad when I am at soccer, ballet, or at the park with my kids, and all I see are parents glued to their phones. They never even look up to watch their kids for a second. How sad! Nothing on social media or email is more important than your family. And that includes what I am posting.

    1. This is soo sad. Our phones are taking over our lives. One of my goals for 2020 is to reduce the amount of time I spend scrolling through my phone and not being productive. I want to go out and meet new people, have a physical conversation with them and just enjoy nature for once. I hope I will be able to do that because as a blogger myself, it’s not really easy.

      1. Lisa Alioto

        Good for you Rumaisa – those sounds like fabulous goals!! Thanks for sharing!

  4. I totally agree with you. Nowadays we are all looking for distractions even while we have someone right beside us. I remember been on a date and the guy I was with pressed his phone all through. I felt my presence wasn’t needed and it was no fun at all.
    So most days, I keep my phone away to be in touch with people around me. Thank you for sharing this

    1. Lisa Alioto

      Putting the phone away is a great way to avoid the temptation – great idea Rayo! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Lisa Alioto

    I so agree Blue to Bliss – it’s sad to see people not being fully present at such important events. I’d love to see things swing back in the other direction but I just don’t know if that will happen, or happen soon.

  6. I agree with you about the phones but I always say hello and smile, even to strangers (ignoring any startled looks) as I think human interaction is so important 🙂

    1. Lisa Alioto

      I do too Lisa! I too have had those startled looks when I’ve done it!

  7. This is all very true, modern technology is taking over and we are missing out on human connection and down time. I’ve started to disconnect and put my phone away in the evenings so I can spend time with my family, do some reading or relax in the bath. It’s nice to slow down sometimes and recharge. Thank you for sharing Lisa, really thoughtful post <3 xx

    Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

    1. Lisa Alioto

      Thank you so much Bexa – I really appreciate your kind comments and great insights!

  8. I have to say that I’m very guilty of being on my phone a lot but I am trying to stop using it so much now! X

  9. Lisa Alioto

    Good for you Aaliyah – it’s a hard habit to break! I find that putting my phone completely away helps – out of sight, out of mind. 🙂 Thank you for sharing!

  10. I think about things like this a lot. I often see tables of people barely talking at all, looking down the entire time and it really worries me in terms of future communication. I definitely spend too much time on my phone at home but I rarely get it out when I’m in a social situation. I think working from home makes me appreciate social times more and understand that this isn’t phone time x


    1. Lisa Alioto

      That’s a really good point Sophie! Thank you for stopping by and sharing it!

  11. I completely agree. People are so preoccupied with technology that they often don’t even notice what’s going on around them. Great post

    1. Lisa Alioto

      Thank you Kelly! Yes – I’ve seen people accidentally run into things because they aren’t watching where they are walking. Its actually dangerous at times.

  12. I need to work on this myself this is especially bad in London such an awful awful problem this is a great post.

    1. Lisa Alioto

      Thank you Nyah – I know, I need to work on this myself as well. I do say hello quite often but there’s many I am still blowing past for my phone.

  13. Personally I find that in a city there are just too many people to connect with and music does give some relief to over crowded situations like walking in a city. I’m from a rural area so I’m not used to so much interaction, have a good set of friends, partner, job, specific times and places where I’m more open to connecting with people and I don’t need to talk to everyone who wants to grab my attention plus it drowns out creepy people and kind of gives me the freedom to go for a walk without being hassled cutting down on cat calling, people who want to comment on my looks, awkward conversations and anxiety. Plus with technology such as messaging I can keep in touch with more people I’ve met in life and still manage to arrange to go to events or meet ups. I see how it can be bad and quite lonely for some people and I can also see how with it we can build a bubble of the people we like, who have similar opinions and ignore the rest of humanity which makes for some weirdness if you never attempt to see the opposite views that exist but it just kind of depends on what you use it for.

    1. Lisa Alioto

      Bumbles – thankful you for such an insightful reply. I think you’ve made some really great points that are definitely valid for so many!

  14. Before smartphones there were MP3 players, minidisks, diskmans, walkmans, and before all that, newspapers. People have always distracted themselves with something. So why not enjoy listening to music when you’re commuting to work/uni, you shouldn’t have to worry about not noticing one person to say hi to whilst you’re on an hour commute.

    As for when you’re actually meeting up with people, put your phone down and engage, rather than spending the entire time on your phone, as you may as well have stayed at home, otherwise

    1. Lisa Alioto

      Very good points Unwanted Life!! I think that historical perspective is very interesting – it’s true that there’s always been “something” to distract” us.

  15. I agree about the human interaction, people are just constantly glued to their phone these days and can’t go 5/10 minutes without looking at it. On a daily basis I have to move out of people’s way to avoid them from walking into me on the street because they’re too busy focusing on their phone rather than the direction they’re walking. Annoying! Great post!

    Holly x

    1. Lisa Alioto

      Thank you Holly – I’m glad you enjoyed the post! (I’ve almost been hit by a texter too!)

  16. I agree with this so much! Great post!

  17. Lisa Alioto

    Thank you Sarah! And thank you for stopping by!

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