THE BLOG

Get Off Your Phone and Go to the Bathroom By Yourself

10/29/2013 05:15 pm ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

No one else had to use the bathroom, but my friend insisted that one of us go with her. Not me. I stood my ground and held down the corner table at the bar, while they scurried off to the ladies' room. Why can't she just go alone? I thought as I texted "whats up?" to half a dozen people. But I had no room to judge. I was the one resorting to mass texting because I didn't want to sit there alone.

This is our generation. We make pointless phone calls while we wait outside the restaurant because god forbid anyone think we're dining alone. We pull out our phone in elevators to make the ride up a little less uncomfortable. We text and drive because 10 minutes with just our thoughts would be unbearable.

I think my phone use might actually increase while I'm driving. When I'm at home there's so much to do but when I'm driving it's just me, my iPhone, and the open road.  

According to a study done by Harvard Center for Risk Analysis, texting while driving causes 3,000 deaths and 330,000 injuries per year. That's more than drunk driving. But I'm not trying to scold you for texting and driving. I'm really just trying to figure out why we do it.

"People are willing to risk taking a life and ruining their own because they don't want to be alone for a second," Louis C.K said about his hatred for cell phones on the Conan O'Brien show.

When I moved from California to Texas, I drove by myself while my dad followed me in a U-Haul. By the second day of driving I was tired of listening to music, my friends and family roaming minutes had expired and I was still about 12 hours away. We pulled into yet another Subway for lunch when I asked my dad what radio station he had been listening to. I almost dropped my foot-long when he told me that the radio in the U-Haul was broken. And my dad isn't much of a phone guy. Which means he drove from California to Texas with nothing but his thoughts... and a few Subway sandwiches. But the thing is, that was completely fine with him.

So what's wrong with us? Why can't we have a device-free drive? Or make a dinner reservation for one? Maybe it's our fear of being alone. Maybe the social dependency distracts us from who we really are. Or lets us mask our emotions. Maybe we are trying to maintain an image. Or perhaps it's the need for constant validation.

And don't get me wrong, I love documenting memories. We all enjoy getting a bunch of likes on our Instagram photo. But there's a fine line between taking a few memorable photos, and missing out on the experience altogether. Sometimes it's better to just put the phone down and embrace the moment. Even if that means losing a few followers.

I don't have an answer for you as to why we are so socially dependent. But I have one tip of advice: Get off your phone and go to the bathroom by yourself.