Talk to each other. Pretend it’s 1995.

When staying connected is actually keeping us disconnected.

By Luchia Karachorova

It was a warm spring evening. I was on a trip to Italy with a group of friends and we were chatting while we waited to be seated in a restaurant. Tired after a day spent wandering through the city. Not long after we sat down at our table, we hurried to order, driven by the hunger that was starting to take over. We waited patiently for our food to come, but there was something missing. My friend Dave took out his phone and started looking for the Wi-Fi password. After a few minutes of checking every possible page on the menu and looking around each visible sign on the walls, he gave up and waited for the waiter to come.

Our waiter was a friendly Italian guy in his fifties. His English was poor but we had managed to understand each other somehow and order from him earlier. After half an hour, we finally saw him coming back and I noticed my friend’s face lighting up. You might think it was because of the delicious pizza that was arriving, but it wasn’t exactly the case. He was hungry for something else. Hungry for the virtual reality that was locked inside his phone, awaiting for him to be consumed. He hurried to ask for the password, not prepared for the answer he got. The old guy smiled at him and said :

“No we don’t have Wi-Fi. Talk to each other. Pretend it is 1995”.

NO WI-FI?!?!? 
The excitement on Dave’s face disappeared within a blink of an eye and got replaced by the sudden realization that he was neither going to post his Pepperoni pizza on Instagram tonight, nor text his roommate Tom about the new cool camera he bought today.

Then it struck me: We’ve all become Dave. We are crawling ever closer to a world where we’re allowed to admit to one another we don’t really want to put our phones away, not for the whole time.

There is a new villain in town, who is haunting us even in our sleep — The FOMO.

Yes you heard right, FOMO. Fear of Missing Out. Fear of not being able to be up to date with everything that is happening somewhere there; inside the endless social media world that is stealing our time, hindering our human communication and breaking our happiness with the artificial reality that creates.

We’ve become so absorbed by our phones that we’re practically living inside of them. The need to constantly be connected is overtaking the need to spend quality time with the people around us and is causing serious damage to the “real” and face-to-face communication. We want to document and share everything on social media, from your healthy quinoa salad (here's my favorite recepie), to a Snapchat story of the party you went to last night.

Trying to convince and show people how amazing your life has become more important than actually living and enjoying it.

You can’t really help the way technology is taking over the world but you can definitely limit its impact on you. It can be rather challenging, especially if you are a wanna-be blogger on Instagram like me who always thinks about the next photo to post. But you must be aware of the damage it can cause to our real- life relationships. We need to stop chatting and start talking more. Snap less and enjoy life more, without having the urge to update others constantly with the fabulous life we are trying to lead.

Staying connected without being online is something we need to learn. Spending time with our friends and family, capturing the moment, not with our phone, but with our soul. Sharing emotions, not pictures- this is what life is for. Who knows, maybe being offline can become the next biggest trend?