Ever heard of the German phrase “wie Luft behandel”? It’s the feeling so eloquently described as being looked at as through air. Surely you’ve felt it when a stranger looks at you but doesn’t make eye contact or smile. They just look right through you as if you’re made of air.
It leaves you feeling empty and maybe even excluded or disliked when really it’s most likely nothing but the product of someone else’s distraction. It can unintentionally sting and leave you wondering what you did wrong, especially if you smiled or said hello.
It’s hard not to get lost in your own mind, full of thoughts and distractions. We bury our faces in our phones, tablets, or computers and forget to be present. But being present and in the moment is such an important part of your relationship core.
We’ve all been there and like it or not, we’ve all done it. Brace yourself and then check out this eye-opening article from Psychology Today on the effects of parents’ cell phone distraction on their children. In one study, it was found that one third of children felt unimportant when their parents used their phones during family time. Let that sink in. 1 in 3 kids feels unimportant not because we’re leaving them to do the things that we typically associate with neglect, but because we’re distracted by our phones.
This doesn’t just apply to our kids either. Phubbing, the term coined for phone snubbing, affects our relationships with spouses, friends and anyone else we form relationships with. Looking people in the eye and giving them your attention is a fundamental part of building strong, healthy connections. Eye contact signifies to people that they are important and you are listening. It also subconsciously builds trust and helps with learning and retention.
So put down your phone, look your friends and family in the eye, and watch as they reap the benefits of your undivided attention. They just might vor Freude springen, or as we like to say “jump for joy.”