7 Rules To Put The Damn Phone Down And Talk To People IRL

Photo: WeHeartIt

We're all guilty of having our phones strapped to our hands or under our pillows. The bottom line is that life is right where we are, right in front of us; NOT living in an inanimate piece of hardware.

While an incoming text may invoke a smile (hopefully), it doesn't bring us fulfillment. It has no heartbeat, and just because an incoming text can make our hearts flutter doesn't mean we should let the machine take over our moments, which would be better spent in face-to-face conversation, making eye contact, savoring the flavors of a meal, or sleeping peacefully.

It's time to use those purses and nightstands. It's time to reclaim life as it's meant to be enjoyed. No more will I walk down the street missing the beauty of my city. I hope you will join me. Here's how:

1. Don't look at your phone unless you need to. That means no checking your phone unless it actually vibrates or rings, and no looking for text messages without notification.

2. Don't use it until you finish your morning rituals. This can include coffee, dog walking, or a shower are done. In other words, when we roll out of bed, YOU are first on the list. The phone is last.

3. Use a rubber band. This is for peeps who don't have enough things in their lives to serve as healthy distractions. It's also to remind us we need to seek out healthy distraction as opposed to walking around with a welt on our wrist.

Place a rubber band around your wrist. Every time, and I do mean every time, you think about when that important text will come, or why it hasn't come, snap the Rubber band — hard. Don't like it? Fill your life.

4. Put all tech devices away at the dinner table. Think about it: a meal lasts an hour or two. What a break to actually focus on a meal, enjoy the flavors and company of the lovelies you choose to break bread with.

Texting ultimately doesn't fill our hearts; people do, and things that stimulate your senses do. Any text received over the short course of a meal can be responded to in due time. The earth will not burst into flames.

If there's an emergency, most people with common sense will call. No excuses, people!

5. Lights out, phones off.

No checking texts after bedtime. In other words, if you wake up in the middle of the night, leave the phone alone. You're not going to answer a text at 3AM, so why check for one?

I know at times it's easier said than done. Last night I was out with a friend and engaged in text. It was my last night of "no rules" texting with the knowledge that I was going to embark on a journey to becoming less text dependent.

I won't be doing that again. I'm not saying if you're out for an evening, the phone is off limits. I'm saying that we should be limiting text communication while in the company of others. I encourage you to ask them to do the same.

Enjoy the company in front of you instead of in the piece of hardware that should be at the bottom of your purse.

6. Adjust your perception.

Don't over-analyze the content of a text. You may have to snap your rubber band to re-condition your thought process. Bottom line: take every text in a positive light. If it turns out you're wrong, there are worse things ... like spinning and over-analyzing.

7. Don't be the last one to text.

That will take the "edge" off. Think about it. You aren't tied up and awaiting yet another response.