Rachel is a junior in high school who loves to act, sing, dance, play soccer, get good grades, and spend time with friends.
Watching movies can be a fun experience, especially when you are with a group of your really good friends. I find myself in this situation a lot; it’s later at night, we have a couple hours left, so let’s watch a movie, right? We all talk about which movie to watch and after a little while finally decide. And everyone watches it…for the first five minutes. After that, everyone is on their phones, texting and Snapchatting the people that aren’t even at the party.
Growing up without a smartphone made nights like this really difficult. I would either sit on my own while everyone else was crowded around each other’s screens, or I would be surrounded by people who would be laughing about something that didn’t pertain to the movie at all. I felt like the only person even wanting to watch the film. Every time I found myself in this situation, I would begin to wonder why I even went to a party like this. I came to hang out with my friends, not the screens they brought with them.
Every movie that I have seen at parties where I seemed to be the only person paying attention turned out to a movie I don’t like anymore. Every time I have had the opportunity to see these movies again, I never really wanted to, associating the movie with the feelings I felt when I first watched them.
Recently, I went to a party and was tired of what had happened at basically every other hangout that I had been to. When the group said they would be watching a movie, I immediately asked the people around me who wouldn’t be on Snapchat the whole time. One of my friends (who was visiting from another state and had left her phone behind) raised her hand. As we talked about this pattern we notice at parties I was relieved to see that someone else understood what I was feeling.
As we watched the movie that night, I was sitting by both this friend who had agreed to pay attention and another who ended up on Instagram the whole night. Just having the person there next to me who acted like they actually wanted to be there made that experience so much better than any other I have had.
Right after I saw the movie, I was talking about how much I loved it to everyone else. When I got home and really thought about it, however, I recognized that it wasn’t a movie that I would be excited to see again. It wasn’t really my type of film. It was the fact that my friend was willing to share the experience with me that made me enjoy the movie.
In the world we live in, it is way too easy to go straight to our phones no matter what we are doing. But, especially when watching a movie, try to participate in the shared experience with the people around you, rather than focus on the people in the screens you carry.