You know the feeling you get when you walk into an elevator with another person and you have an immediate sense of urgency to pull out your phone? Of course, it’s not ringing, there is no new text message waiting to be read, and you maybe got one more like on your Instagram post from the last time you checked (five minutes ago).
It’s the same sense that you get when you’re walking on the sidewalk and there’s someone approaching you on the left. Maybe you make eye contact and smile a small half grin and then look down immediately… as if you need to watch your step because you might trip over a crack in the treacherous terrain that is the concrete slabs under your feet.
I say “you” as if everyone experiences these feelings, but I’m really speaking from my own introspective experience. If you don’t relate to the first two scenarios, everyone relates to the feeling you get when you’re in the cashier line at Target and GODFIRBID should you have a conversation with a stranger, and instead, you reach for your phone or fumble through the latest magazine that has Chrissy Teagan’s dimples on it.
In all three scenarios, I find myself looking down. Not because I’m not outgoing or because I’m disinterested in what’s happening, but I’m so accustomed to staying within my own swim lane and trying not to disrupt others, which, when I really think about it, is making me miss out on an entire world of humans that I encounter every day.
So this year, as my New Year’s Resolution, I want to look up. As simple as that sounds, I hope this resolution will make me be more aware of my surroundings, help me connect with strangers, add fuel to an outgoing personality, and maybe even help with my posture.
To do this, the way I plan to achieve it is simple;
Keep my phone in my purse any time I’m not answering a text or phone call.
This is such a simple task that I have already started to do over the past couple years, but I want to do even more. Any time there is someone looking for a genuine conversation, say, over coffee or happy hour, don’t even put the phone on the table.
Try not to break eye contact.
This one is hard. Eye contact with strangers is awkward AF. The way I’m going to try to change this though; is through my new rule; if the eye contact is long enough to feel awkward, say hello.
So simple, right? Not for me. This year, I want to be more invested in the lives of the people around me. I have always genuinely cared for the stories and experiences of my friends and family, but I want to actively try harder to follow up.
In the spirit of this connectedness, something popped to the forefront of my mind. Barack Obama said, “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for”. This resonated deeply with me in this context of changing our habits and actions to better each other. Nothing will get better unless we do it ourselves, and I am using this as my motto as I enter 2018, and I hope you will too.
Cheers to all that 2018 holds, and 2017, you can just f**k right off.