There’s pressure to always be on, to Work It, at 100% all the time. Introverts have a disadvantage, so here’s how we cope.

Society in the United States is set up to give more advantages to extroverts than introverts. Whether in school or at work, those setting the culture make it clear that socialization and cooperation in groups is much preferrable to a collection of isolated individuals.

Introversion, antisocial behavior, shyness, and social anxiety

For introverts including myself, spending a large portion of the day navigating interpersonal and group interactions can be physically and emotionally draining. But an introverted personality type is not the same thing as being antisocial. Introverts can excel at being social and might love the company of others; they just may need time to themselves to think alone, introspect, and recharge.

Being antisocial makes it hard to succeed in a traditional sense, but having an introverted tendency does not need to be a curse. To be antisocial generally means to be able to socialize with others but to do so in a way that is unexpected or differs from others.

Shyness is an additional potential trait among introverts, distinct from introversion. Shyness makes social interactions uncomfortable, especially with people and situations that are unfamiliar.

Social anxiety disorder can affect introverts and extroverts. It’s an intense fear of interaction that leads to avoidance of situations where someone might come into contact with other people. It could be a fear of being judged by others.

If you experience uncontrollable stress when you might be the center of attention, when you feel you might be criticized, or when you have to meet a very important person, you may be experiencing social anxiety disorder.

An introvert, if neither antisocial, shy, nor socially anxious, can be outgoing, friendly, and fully aware of social cues. It’s not uncommon for these introverts to be the bosses, the business leaders, the engaging teachers, and the prolific actors. You wouldn’t know who is an introvert because only those close to them would be aware of whether they thrive from their social efforts or they require recuperation from those efforts.

Introversion alone doesn’t justify the stigma. Why do people think introverts have a lower chance of being successful?

It’s because many introverts have the other traits that do make success difficult.

When You're an Introvert But You Have to Work It

Most introvert advice sucks.

Unfortunately, most of the advice available for introverts contains no insight. That’s because it tends to simply suggest that introverts be more like extroverts. In theory, copying extroverted behavior should be enough for an introvert to gain advantages of extroverts.

The typical advice of “just force yourself to be more outgoing” should suffice for pure introverts who can socialize for a fair amount of time in ways that culture deems appropriate. But because many of us introverts also have other traits mixed in, those suggestions fail.

What’s worse, is so much advice I’ve read encourages introverts to feel bad for being who they are, going so far as to use guilt to try to convince them to take on the attributes of extroverted, successful, outwardly confident people. Keep in mind that you can change aspects of your personality without sacrificing your identity, but you should only adjust the things you want to change.

Knowing that introverts can be just as successful as extroverts should allow you to be quite comfortable with your approach to life. But shyness, antisocial traits, and social anxiety can all be improved without changing your core personality.

You probably already fake being extroverted.

This is just the first step. Think, what would an extrovert do? Maybe it’s my theatrical background, but I like to suggest approaching social situations by playing the role of the extrovert. And I think that’s what many introverts feel they are doing when they do find themselves needing to participate in interaction.

This “faking it” approach doesn’t change the fact that introverts will need recovery time, but it might change your mindset and allow you to be more comfortable putting effort into socialization.

We are expected to “work it” in front of our friends and coworkers. Taking an extroverted approach helps in those situations, even if it doesn’t feel right at first.

If introversion isn’t your biggest social problem, other suggestions might help more.

When You're an Introvert But You Have to Work It

Build connections even when you’re antisocial.

If you’re antisocial, you feel like you don’t fit in with the culture around you. You might see all the people who seem extroverted, and it all looks fake to you. You want to stay genuine and authentic, and you don’t feel the need to fit in.

But sometimes we just have to fit in. Navigating social expectations is part of being an adult. You don’t have to change who you are; you should just be aware of the world around you and how other people behave and interact within it.

One of the most helpful ideas is to seek out your partner in crime. Even in the most conforming environments, there will be someone who’s ready to accept and enjoy your approach to friendship, camaraderie, or teamwork. Find the one person you’re comfortable with, and build on that relationship.

Shyness is generally a lack of confidence.

I’ve found that I behave differently in different groups. If I know my place in a group, and especially if I feel that I am already well-respected, my confidence builds and I can be the center of attention without being uncomfortable. I can introduce myself to new friends and colleagues, and I have an energy that infects others. In a good way, I think.

But when I’m unsure of my place in a group or I’m new myself, my shyness comes out. I’ll stay quiet and reserved, and I’ll wait for someone else with more confidence to be my social guide.

Building confidence is key. If you know a situation is coming up in which you might be shy or lack confidence, consider this approach. These will work for both social and business interactions, as well as combinations like the dreaded “networking.”

Plan for it. Take the introvert approach and preview the event. Find out who will be there and have some ideas about who you might want to talk to and what you might want to talk about.

Have a goal you can measure. Decide to have a target for the number of people you’d like to have conversations with.

Replace any negative thoughts with positive thoughts. Have a mantra for the event. Give yourself a mini pep talk. It sounds corny, but it works. Convince yourself that you are confident and you will meet your goals.

Get help for social anxiety.

If you are so disabled by fear of social situations, you need to go beyond help from articles about introverts and see professional psychologists or other therapists. They chan provide you with one-on-one coping mechanisms as well as medication to help with this disorder.

You are probably overestimating the visibility of your anxiety. It feels strong to you, but others may not notice that you’re uncomfortable. So if that is in turn making your anxiety worse, you may be able to keep this in mind and do a better job coping with anxiety when you are forced into these stressful social situations.

At Adulting, we have an entire podcast episode about being calm, and that comes in handy with dealing with certain anxiety. One calming technique that has worked well for me is the 4-7-8 technique, which I explained in this video.

You can be an introvert and still be outgoing and confident. Some of the most successful people in the world are introverts, and they need their alone time to recharge. You can address shyness, social anxiety, and any antisocial traits while still being you.

You don’t have to sacrifice who you are to do a better job with dealing with people. Work it.

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If you follow just some of these suggestions from long-time and newbie adults, you’ll be better than most. Which is your favorite?

I asked some of my friends and colleagues for the most important things they’ve learned about being an adult. I certainly don’t have all the answers.

Many of them were excited to share their favorite ideas. Some of these suggestions come from newly-minted grown-ups, or some who are just starting to have the opportunity to find out what life is all about. Others have years of experience.

Pick out a few tips that speak to you. You’ll find something great. This could be the most influential article you read this year.

Stop trying to impress others or shove your opinions down other people’s throats. Instead, work at creating value. Jackie L. from Cheapsters.

Don’t take anything or anyone for granted. Tell and show the people you love how you feel about them because they could be taken from you at any moment. Forgive and let it go. Surround yourself with people who lift you up, not drag you down. Treat everyone with respect. Elaine M.

Make your satisfaction and happiness your first priority. Learn to say no. Christian V.

Take the long view when making big decisions. These kinds of decisions can be painful at times, but that is, sadly, part of being an adult. Holly J. from Club Thrifty.

Know yourself: your strengths and weaknesses, your morals and values, what you hope to achieve and what you want out of life. Deanna H.

Avoid avoidance. Not looking at your bank account doesn’t make the balance bigger. Not paying off your credit card doesn’t make the interest stop accruing. Not discussing difficult things with your significant other doesn’t make the issues disappear. Learn to face things head on, no matter how unpleasant. Rebecca C.

Found your new mantra yet? There’s more!

Start Adulting With These Awesome Instructions: Don't Stop Dreaming

Don’t stop dreaming. Many people around you will tell you to “grow up.” Adulting doesn’t mean one should abandon those big audacious adolescent goals. As an adult you now have more control in making your dream happen. Jason V. from Phroogal.

Do good, don’t suck. Brittany H.

Read The Tao of Pooh and The Te of Piglet. These books take the stories of Winnie the Pooh and show Pooh to be a master zen philosopher. When you begin to study this philosophy you are taking steps to becoming a more centered, focused adult. Scott B.

See things as others see them. Realize that not everybody who you feel has wronged you did so maliciously, and see that people are generally doing the best they can, just like you. Liz B.

Focus on what you can contribute (to a job, to your relationship, to your community, etc.). Give more than you take. Lindsay J.

Accept personal responsibility. When you recognize how much of a role your own decisions and reactions play in your life, it’s hugely empowering, but not easy. Accept your flaws. But recognizing both the good and the bad within yourself and understanding how much of a part you play in influencing how those strengths and weaknesses manifest in your life is the first step in creating a world which revolves around the former. Stefanie O.

Never forget how to play and blow off steam. Aaron S.

Love the adultier adults who helped you get older. With adulthood comes loss, but also the need for guidance, encouragement, and love remains. Love the ones who got you here and never be afraid to ask them for help. Magdalen S.

Be comfortable with winging it. There isn’t necessarily a single correct way to do something. Figure out what works best for you, and give other people a break. Barb D.

Show up on time. Save just a little bit of money each month. Doing these two simple things can cover a lot of sins in other areas. Julie R. from Working to Live Differently.

From money to family to your job to your overall life philosophy, these tips really make a difference.

Start Adulting With These Awesome Instructions: Be Honest With Yourself

Be honest with yourself. Self-deception can be hard to notice and it takes work to root it out. Honesty’s twin need is gentleness. It is easier to be more real with yourself when you are gentle. Alan S. from Real Money.

Pay attention. Being an ostrich isn’t going to help you now or in the future. If you’ve made mistakes, don’t beat yourself up. Acknowledge them, learn from them, and don’t repeat them. Also, read as much as you can. Jana L. from Jana Says.

Realize things are not black and white. True understanding often involves much more complexity than a 21 year old is ready to contemplate. Dig deep and have empathy and realize that sometimes we contradict even ourselves in the same breath. Gina B.

Wean yourself off of the comforts of childhood before jumping right into adult mode. Paul Z.

Remember that the grass is greener where you water it, and comparing yourself to others isn’t an effective measurement as an adult. Melissa Van F.

Learn something from everyone, no matter how much education they have, how old they are, or where they come from. Clayton F.

The world owes you nothing. Just because people fawned over you in high school or college doesn’t mean it’s going to continue in the real world. It takes a lot of hard work to make your mark on the world. Jessica G. from Every Single Dollar.

Change from self-centeredness and growth to selflessness and helping others grow. Make the world around you better through the positive energy you contribute through empathy and caring. Virginia M.

Communicate honestly with your loved ones. Tell the truth about who you are, and what you’re feeling, and listen to them do the same without judgement or fear. Make the world a better place by making your home a better place with clear, honest, loving communication. Casey F.

Just sign up for the 401(k), all right? Worry about getting your money out later. Do your job the best you can, learn about what’s happening around you, and make someone else’s job a little easier. Doug N. from The Military Guide.

Find an idea that makes a difference to you, and write it down. Put the message on your fridge or door or mirror so you see it each day.

Start Adulting With These Awesome Instructions: Save At Least 10% of Your Income

Save at least 10% of your income for retirement, starting now, and don’t spend it before then. Also, don’t make excuses. Make changes instead. Empower yourself by accepting responsibility for your current and future situation. Jackie B. from The Debt Myth.

Do what you love, not what is expected of you. Melissa T.

Be patient. It could take 20 years or more to get the life you want. Also, Rediscover the art of discovery. Don’t lose sight of that childlike sense of exploration. Take spontaneous trips, get excited about your birthday, and commit continuously learn. Whitney H.

Get on a budget and stick to it. Also, do the hard thing. Don’t follow the path of least resistance. Jacob W. from iHeartBudgets.

Prepare for the future financially as much as you are living today. Figure out your long-term dreams and create a plan. You will have to do things that are less than desirable to reach the huge milestones. Don’t let those undesirable and painful periods last any longer than they need to be. Elizabeth C. from The Reluctant Landlord.

Learn to be still. You’ll be surprised how good the quiet feels after constant clamor in the outside world. Also, track your expenses and then interrogate them. Was that pizza and beer (plus taxes and tip) with friends really worth two hours’ work at your entry-level position? Donna F. from Surviving and Thriving.

Say no to things that aren’t good for you. Budget, eat healthy, go to bed at a decent time. Take criticism. Work at a job you don’t like because it pays your bills. Take care of yourself, all by yourself. Mindy J. from Bigger Pockets.

Save money, because nobody else will do it for you. Be responsible for yourself. Show up on time, listen, follow directions. Sounds simple, but not doing them will get you fired, will cause you to waste money, will get you in trouble with the government/organization, etc. Robert F. from The College Investor.

Travel far and wide. Nothing makes you appreciate what you have more than interacting with people who don’t. Travel also allows you to find things that you’re passionate about, and really think about ways to make your hustles works. Fahima A.

Take personal responsibility and realize the world isn’t out to get you. You have a part in everything that happens. Also, get life insurance. Glen C. from Free From Broke.

Go forth and adult. You might just conquer the world. Or you might find inner happiness.

Which was your favorite tip? Want to add your own? Comment below.

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Take any relationship to the next level by ditching the device and communicating deeply instead.

We need other people in our lives. Your crew is a big part of your emotional health. If your device is getting all the attention you should be giving to your friends and family or if you feel like you have a lot of acquaintances but no real friends, you might want to think about how you can create closer ties with the people in your life.

Our social interactions make us happier, and developing deep, meaningful relationships with people lead to feeling support and even greater happiness. This doesn’t mean that you need to try to become besties with everyone you meet. But you can work to create deeper relationships with a few people you really enjoy being around. (As an introvert, I am more comfortable when I limit the number of deep friendships I have.)

Reduce textual intimacy.

Your first step is to stop using text as much and actually connect in person — or at least via voice. I love texting as much as the next person. It’s easy and you can avoid a person or put them off. Plus, you can respond slower, reviewing your words before firing off.

While all of this is great, the reality is that texting has made it easier to avoid people and their emotions. Want to break up with someone? Send a text and block their number. You can avoid the emotional consequences. Telling your bestie something difficult? Texting means you may have the guts to say something hurtful that you would never say to someone’s face.

Rather than relying on texting (or Facebook messaging) to keep in touch, make sure to spend some time talking on the phone, using Skype, or seeing each other in person. Textual relations might be easier to manage, but that distance means that you could be missing out on something harder, but worth it.

Listen.

No More Textual Relations: Develop Meaningful Connections: Listen

One of the issues with our soundbite culture is that we’re always looking for the next quip. On top of that, we often want our turn to talk. My 13-year-old son can barely contain himself when he has something to say, and that means he’s often busy trying to figure out what he will say next, without really listening to me.

Listening is one of the keys to meaningful relationships. It forces you to pay attention to the other person and usually results in boosting your empathy. Your buddy will appreciate your effort to listen, and you’ll have a willing ear for your own issues. Just the act of sharing these thoughts can help you develop meaningful relationships that go below the surface.

Laugh.

Laughter really is the best medicine. When you can laugh with (not at) someone, you are more likely to build stronger ties. Research indicates that laughter can foster an emotional connection and enhance positive feelings. If you can find some common things to laugh about, you are likely to have deeper relationships.

Don’t be so judgy.

We all have our unique quirks. If you’re constantly judging others for their issues, no one will want to hang with you. Plus, you’ll have a harder time seeing others’ good qualities. You can’t really understand someone and get to know him or her when you are too busy passing judgment.

Follow up with potential besties.

No More Textual Relations: Develop Meaningful Connections: Follow Up

It can feel vulnerable to put yourself out there and make a move. Whether you are inviting a friend to the movies, asking your brother to hang out with you, or trying to get with someone, following up can feel like defeat. You don’t want to look desperate.

If you like someone, and you want to be friends or more, put it on the line. Follow up. You’ll show your interest, and it might be the beginning of something really cool. Waiting and making excuses only means that you miss out on the potential for meaningful relationships.

Like yourself.

Before you can have a meaningful relationship with anyone, from your mom to your bae, you need to like yourself. Take the time to get to know who you are, and learn to feel confident in that. When you like yourself, you are less likely to use passive-aggressive tactics on others.

Deeper, happier relationships require effort and time. Put down the phone, make eye contact, and watch your relationships mature beyond textual intimacy.

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Sure, moving back home is a great way to save money after college. But at some point you need to suck it up and move out.

One of the best ways to save money is to live with your parents. Food and shelter are provided, and you probably have Internet access as well. As someone who has been going over to my mom’s to print stuff out for the last three weeks, I know the pull of access to free services.

At some point in the next week or so, I have to buy a printer cartridge. And at some point in the near future, you need to move out of your parents’ house. Here are seven clues that time has arrived:

1. You can afford your own place.

It might require a little sacrifice on your part, but if you can afford your own place, it’s time to move out. Even if you need a roommate to help you afford your first place, it’s time to move out when you have the money to take care of your own needs.

2. Conversations devolve into arguments.

Does it feel like every conversation you have with your parents devolves into an argument? As long as you live in someone else’s home, they feel they have the right to tell you how to do things. And they aren’t too far off. If you feel that you’re always arguing with your parents, it’s time to move out. Get that distance, and you might be surprised at how much your relationship with your parents improves.

3. You have too much stuff.

Tired of trying to cram everything into a single bedroom? Even though I lived in a campus dorm three years out of four, I still ended up with more stuff than could reasonably fit in a bedroom at my parents’ house. When you have your own TV, computer, furniture (spare as it might be), and other trappings that make it hard to fit everything into your old bedroom, you should probably consider moving out.

4. You’re ready for the next chapter.

One of the biggest clues it’s time to move out is that you’re ready for the next chapter. It’s practically impossible to feel like you’re moving on with your life — and becoming your own person — when you’re living with your parents and still (sometimes) being treated like a kid instead of an adult.

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5. Lack of privacy.

Can’t bring bae home to chill because it’s awkward? Do you have to walk outside in the freezing cold when you take a call? Does it feel like your parents are staring at you every time you leave your room? Are you expected to come out of your room and socialize regularly? You need your own space.

6. The rules are getting to you.

You want to be treated like an adult, but you feel like all the rules make you feel like a kid? It’s time to move out. You’re living in someone else’s house, and that means they make the rules. After college, it’s hard to come back and worry about how late you stay out and what you’re doing with “me” time. Tired of living by their rules? Figure out what it takes to move and get your own place. Then you make the rules.

7. Your parents are dropping hints.

At some point, your parents are likely to want you to move out. My mom considered it a mark of success when we could get out of the house and mostly “make it” on our own. If your parents are dropping heavy hints, like sending you Craig’s List ads for rentals, it’s time to move out. The biggest clue, though, is when your parents start charging you rent. If you’re paying rent to live in your childhood bedroom, you’re not adulting.

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Your boss sees the photo of you partying too hard. Or she sees you rant about your job. You’re done.

The words you say, the pictures you post, and the memes you share have consequences.

Don’t be the guy or girl who gets fired or expelled for a stupid mistake you make on social media. You’ll just be next on the long list of people who didn’t realize that trouble awaits behind every ill-conceived post.

It is so easy for everything you do and say to be shared with the world. Forever. Permanently. There’s no going back to having private lives, now, so you just have to deal with it.

Remember when you thought Facebook was a safe place for you to just be yourself without parents, teachers, and bosses seeing what you’re up to? Well, social media sites are universal now. Everyone can see everything.

Even if you think your privacy settings prevent people from seeing what you’re up to, the real truth is that it doesn’t take much for anything you share in the strictest of confidence to be made public.

Here’s what happened to famous people who didn’t realize this. (Hint: they weren’t famous first.)

Craig Keefe, Justine Saccor, Ashley Payne

These folks became infamous after their incidents.

Craig Keefe

Craig Keefe was a nursing student at Central Lakes College in Minnesota when he used Facebook to make “private” derogatory comments about his classmates. The school nevertheless discovered the comments. Because that behavior violated the school’s code of professional conduct outlines in the student handbook, the student was expelled.

Keefe believed he had protection under the First Amendment to publish whatever he pleased as long as his comments didn’t slander anyone, but that was not upheld in court.

Justine Sacco

Justine Sacco made a bad decision when she, the lead public relations employee at an advertising company, posted a remark that could be considered racist on Twitter right before her airplane took off. Sacco may or may not have thought her “joke” was racist, but when her flight landed and internet service returned to her phone, she discovered she was fired for quipping about being safe from contracting AIDS in Africa because she was white.

As someone who worked in public relations, she should have known better. Good news for Justine. After only seven months of unemployment, she found another job in communications, working for the fantasy sports company facing legal troubles, FanDuel, according to Sacco’s LinkedIn profile.

Ashley Payne

Ashley Payne did nothing more than post a photo on Facebook holding a couple of drinks. Payne was a teacher, and even if she kept her profile private, a parent spotted the photograph, taken and posted several years prior, and informed the school’s administration.

She was asked to resign immediately, losing her job for a photograph that depicted nothing illegal. Even if she hadn’t touched alcohol since that photograph, because someone could find it, she had to face consequences.

You may think none of this is “fair.” Here’s what you can do.

Don’t use social media to complain about your job or school. If your boss hasn’t found you on Facebook yet, she will. And hiding posts from people isn’t the perfect solution because any vindictive “friend” can take a screenshot and make your post public.

Realize the public doesn’t have your “context.” If you joke about racism often, and your friends encourage you for some reason, don’t expect that anyone outside of your group will also consider your thoughts appealing. There are laws to protect employees from being fired for illegitimate reasons, but if your conduct in public reflects poorly on the company, you’ll quickly find yourself unemployed.

Remember you represent every group you’re a part of. When your actions become a news story, whether globally, nationally, or just within a group larger than your closest friends, you become a scapegoat for everything people don’t like.

If you’re a student at Yale making an insensitive comment about privilege, you now represent all Yale students to someone who’s not. You represent the Ivy League to anyone outside of that community. You also represent all college students to someone of a different age or life path. To someone outside the United States, you now represent all Americans.

It’s worse when you’re a member of a minority, especially if you are part of a group that isn’t well understood by others. If your skin color is dark, every mistake you make is seen as a failing of all those who share that skin color. If your sexual orientation or identity is not normative, despite diversity within your group, your attitudes could come to represent the entire group for those on the outside.

Does it matter what other people think of you, even if they’re ignorant? Yes. Once your behavior hits the news, your identity from an external perspective will be reduced to any identifying group that you could represent, regardless of the depth of your character. And sometimes you need to be respected by those people as an individual, and a capable, responsible person.

Yes, these consequences can stifle free expression throughout society. The world has opened up, and what used to be private communication now has the potential to get you in trouble. If you freak out when your boss finds your Twitter account or when your students find the Facebook account you use with your middle name instead of your last name, you may want to change some of your online behavior.

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Stressed out? Can’t slow down? Your health will suffer if you can’t find some inner peace and relax.

Do you have trouble relaxing?

It’s not always easy to relax — especially since the harder you try, the worse it is.

It’s important to find time to relax, but most busy people often find it difficult. We’ve got some tips for you. When you are unable or unwilling to relax, your stress levels can negatively impact your physical and mental health, your mood, and your relationships.

Slow down. Breathe deep. RELAX!

Concepts

  • Why is it so important to learn how to relax?
  • What makes relaxing so difficult in today’s world?
  • Can your health really be impacted by stress?
  • Is “multitasking” making it more difficult for you to relax?
  • How to begin relaxing on your own.

You don’t have to be productive all the time. Take the time today to start spending a little time doing something enjoyable and relaxing. From breathing techniques to teach you calm, to taking the time for self-care, here’s what you need to know if you want to relax.

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Resources

NPRWhat causes stress in people’s lives?
GuardianHow multitasking is bad for your brain
New York TimesHow relaxation makes you more productive
HarvardHow breathing can help you
WebMDStep-by-step breathing exercises

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You spend more time with your eyes on your phone than on the people you love. Save your relationships for living creatures.

I couldn’t wait to get my hands on her. The anticipation lasted months, and finally, she was on her way. Now, I had to be patient, and that was the difficult part. Her timing was unpredictable, through no fault of her own.

Not knowing the precise time she’d show up at my door, I was practically quivering. This was to be our first encounter, and all I could do was wait. My last one was no longer satisfying me, so I couldn’t wait for the future to arrive.

The doorbell rang, and I rushed to greet her. Grabbing her, I tossed her into my apartment, while being careful not to inflict any damage. With the door closed behind us, she was finally all mine.

I grinned.

I opened her right there in the living room, and finally held her in my arms. She was beautiful, and she would be constantly with me from that moment forward. My hands would remain on her throughout most of the day, every day. Every night she would be beside me.

And that’s how my Samsung Nexus 6P and I became an inseparable couple.

My girlfriend’s not happy about this new relationship. “Nexy” does get in the way. Often.

But my human companion has her own device she fondles as well, so this is a two-sided problem. Here’s what we’re going to do about it.

My partner noticed recently that when I’m writing or reading, my hands are usually on my device. Even if I’m not actively looking at the phone, I’ve got it in my hands, or it’s in my pocket. It’s touching me every waking hour of my life.

Maybe it’s the tactile warmth of active electronics that activated the pleasure receptors in my brain, or maybe it’s the security of holding onto something, anything. I am sure the manufacturers know all about the physical connection between a man or woman and his or her device, because they keep designing phones that are sleeker, more comfortable to touch, and more beautiful at which to longingly stare.

It’s almost as if they’re trying to sell even more of these devices. Don’t fall for that trick. Any relationship is sure to cost you money, but woo your lover, not your phone.

You have a stronger connection with your phone than you do with your partner because you see it more, touch it more, and interact with it more. Some devices even talk back to you with a “personality” all their own. (Siri’s creepy, right?)

So let’s get back to the point where our hours of staring, our longing gazes are for our intended, not our internet. Welcome to your new cellular plan.

Set aside time each day for purposeful disconnection. Thirty minutes a day away from the Internet is a good start until you alleviate the separation anxiety and don’t freak out from being out of touch for a very small time frame.

In this time, do something that doesn’t require technology on your part. Read a book! Write a story. Draw a picture. Think about your life.

Increase your separation time gradually. Eventually, see if you can go half your waking hours without your phone. Suddenly, the world is new! Nature once again exists, you can observe it with your eyes in person, and you can enjoy it.

Go see your friends. Socialization happens when everyone is actively involved in connecting — also known as talking and listening — with each other. Observe your friends. Count how many times each caresses his or her phone-companion.

Get some. Can you put the phone down long enough to have some extended physical and emotional time with your lover or anyone else? Forget the fact that you’re only together because you were both bored on your phones using Tinder. See if you can take your relationship to the next level — the “we don’t have to spend our limited time together sitting on the couch looking at nothing but our phones” level.

Look at each other! Touch each other! It’s so much more exciting than the boring comfort of holding your own device. Now you can explore each others’ devices.

If you know what I mean.

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