This week I’ve been in Moscow and want to share something really interesting that happened to me that made me stop and think about social interaction.

I had been speaking on Meetology at a business event and, after my session, went for a walk to get some fresh air and ended up at a bus stop bench. Just opposite me was another bench and on it sat an elderly man engrossed in his phone. I mean totally engrossed, his eyes didn’t leave the screen. Now, I didn’t realise that he was waiting for a bus but as the one that had just pulled up and taken on passengers started to leave he jumped up and ran after it banging on the window. However, he had missed it and began to shout – I’m assuming he was cursing in Russian.

A few minutes later EXACTLY the same thing happened. He again had got engrossed in his phone but I was sure he had seen the bus. But no, off it drove without him – I was doing my best not to laugh out loud.

Finally, a third bus arrived and I was sure he would miss it as again whatever was on his phone was proving irresistible so I got up and tapped him on his knee and pointed to the bus. He was so thankful and run on – even then he only just made it.

The episode got me thinking about how our obsession with our phones can distract from real face-to-face social interaction. Most streets are now full of people walking around zombie like looking at their screens. Visit pubs, bars and restaurants and people aren’t interacting with each other, they are looking at a screen. It is truly bizarre.

Take time in the next few days to monitor your ‘screen time’. Of course the internet allows us to stay connected with people virtually which can be hugely positive, but if you are trying to interact with someone face-to-face then get rid of that phone. I have covered research before than suggests the very presence of a phone when interacting can damage the quality of the interaction itself and we miss out on so much when we do.

Evidentially even something the size of a bus


No references this week.