I recently heard a phrase that I’d never heard before: attention infidelity.
I’m familiar with both words, but I’ve never heard them used together. Since hearing the phrase, I’ve not been able to get it out of my mind.
The term “infidelity” means “to be unfaithful” or “not loyal.” Attention means “to direct our mind” or to “concentrate on” something.
With all of the technology available to us these days, we are constantly tempted to multi-task. And multi-tasking, in general, isn’t always a bad idea. We can watch TV while we iron. We can do email while we’re listening to our favorite radio program online.
What I’ve come to understand is that multi-tasking an activity and a relationship is when the term “attention infidelity” applies. When I try to do email and listen to my daughter tell a story, I’m being unfaithful to her. When I’m cooking dinner and I don’t stop to greet my husband when he walks through the door, I’m being unfaithful to him. When one of my adult children call and I’m in a middle of a project and I don’t step away to listen, I’m unfaithful to the conversation.
Have you every considered your faithfulness to those around you? Are you guilty of “attention infidelity?”
I’m still a work in progress on this, but I do feel that I’m making some improvements. I’ve learned to use three simple words to keep me accountable, faithful, and loyal to my loved ones.
STOP: I’m trying to stop what I’m doing to give the person the full focus.
LOOK: By turning away from the computer, the laundry, the dishes, or whatever I’m doing, I’m able to look in the eyes of the person I’m talking to. If I need to give my full attention to someone on the phone, I try to change chairs or move away from the project I was working on.
LISTEN: I’m working to listen with my eyes and my ears. Listening with my eyes speaks value to my friend or family member and listening with my ears allows me to hear what they say.
It seems that I mess up as often as I get it right, but I’m working to give my full attention to those around me.
How about you? Are you guilty of attention infidelity? Do you have any tips to help battle attention infidelity?
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well… talk about pegging me. When you put a name to it like that it sounds alot more serious. I'm guilty of attention infidelity alot more than I realize. One more thing for me to work on. Thanks for the reminder. 😉
All I can say is: OUCH!!!
(Exactly what God has been working on me with both my time with Him and with my kids….)
Thanks for the eye opening reminder!
I think you have drinking my koolaid…
We are a busy family and business almost always sets the tone of the house. thanks for this reminder.
Oh man. That's me. What an eye opener this morning. Thank you for the new term….it really puts a name to the offense. I hate it when people do it to me so why would I do it to others??
I am so guilty of this. My boys catch me way too many times and remind me to stop with their words "Mommy, look at me with your whole face!"
This is so true!! As a mom of 4 kids (ages 13 to 1), full-time babysitter of 2 newphews (ages 6 and 4), and with a part-time job out of my home office, I have been so guilty of this. I've been really focusing on changing for the past couple of months with my kids, and now need to focus on the hubby too. I didn't realize what my "inattentive listening" was like for my children until my oldest (age 13) started responding to me with the same distractedness, which as you can imagine I did not care for. What a wake-up call to change my ways! It's definitely been a positive around here. I'm taking the time to face-to-face listen and interact (even if it means putting off work til later or the next day), and now we're even finding time to play more games and just be together. Time passes too quickly not to hear the stories these precious children want to share!
That would be me, too. It is so hard because I would never get anything done–my kids can talk CONSTANTLY!! But I do need to be better about this. Thanks for holding my feet to the fire!
Yes. Yes I am. Sometimes it takes my kids having to say "MOM!" more than once before I hear them. THANKS for this post. Time to get to work! 🙂
Needed this reminder today…..