The devil of miscommunication

Published: May 18, 2012
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A close friend recently reminded me that the phone is there for my convenience and not the caller’s convenience.

You’re talking to your best friend and despite the fact that he’s taking out the time to be with you, he’s constantly alert when that familiar red light blinks on his smartphone. You get annoyed and refuse to go on and an altercation ensues. The time you expected to spend catching up and having fun invariably becomes about how he’s always reaching for his phone.

Sounds familiar?

It really has become the story of our lives.

We have stopped living in the moment and are constantly glued to the mini-screens on our phones. After losing out on three very close relationships, I have come to the conclusion that smartphones made social interaction worse with their instant messenger systems and created an ugly addiction for the need to constantly stay connected with the world. With no tangible way to depict our emotions, instant messages get severely misinterpreted resulting in the most awful and hurtful play of words.

Hence, I have decided to get off the darn thing.

One of my best friends and I got phone packages so we could stay connected despite being in different cities. Sure, we had fun swapping pictures on what we wore and ate and where we were etc. But on occasions when we asked each other something serious or important and the other person didn’t respond in a timely manner, it became an issue of massive proportions.

Despite our constant strife for space, these phones and chats make our behaviour and lives naturally intrusive. They also kill whatever little patience we may have had with the other person. The desire to be ‘right here, right now’ engulfs the fragile dynamics of human relationships. It’s ironic, really, considering that by possessing smartphones we aspire to be everywhere all at once!

A close friend, therefore, recently reminded me that the phone is there for my convenience and not the caller’s convenience. I now put my phone on silent mode whenever I meet a friend. It’s my way of quietly saying that there’s nowhere I’d rather be right now than with you. And, guess what, my friends have noticed. I’m also hoping that this small but fundamental gesture sets me on the route to better relationships –– without Steven Covey’s help!

Read more by Hani here, or follow her on Twitter @taha_hani

Hani Taha

Hani Taha

Hani Taha is a journalist by profession who fervently reports on popular culture, depicting a softer image of her country. She tweets @taha_hani.

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