While ‘afternoon tea’ may seem like a quaint tradition practiced in Europe to Americans, there’s something to be learned here. Taking a few moments to relax and reflect with a soothing cup of tea each afternoon is simply good for the soul. This is the time turn off your cell phone and be ‘in the moment’ with your thoughts. And, why not invite a friend to join you and indulge in a distraction-free conversation?
I don’t know about you, but I am thoroughly dismayed by our culture’s alarming addiction to cell phones and texting. The next time you are at a coffee shop, take a look around. Is there anyone not looking at a screen? Even more disheartening is observing parents with little ones at restaurants who are talking or texting on their phones rather than visiting or enjoying the meal with their kids. What is this compulsion to be constantly engaged with a device teaching their kids — that the phone is more important/interesting/fun than they are? At best, they are infecting their own children with their addictive behavior and poor manners.
And lastly — have you ever been at lunch or dinner with someone who puts their phone on the table and is constantly distracted by it? What’s with that — separation anxiety? It feels like a third person at the table whose demanding presence is more important than your own. With every flicker of the screen, eyes dart to the phone — or worse yet, your companion rudely starts texting or answers the phone mid-sentence — while you sit there ‘on hold.’
We seem to be losing our ability to engage in real conversations with one another at an astonishing rate as well as forsaking common courtesy and good manners.
The next time you think of meeting someone for coffee, consider having a friend ‘to tea’ instead. It’s not about the beverage, but rather the ritual. It doesn’t require much effort — ‘tea’ is simply a quiet break in the day with a drink and a snack in a relaxed atmosphere that is conducive to conversation, such as your porch, your garden, a cozy corner in your home, or even your kitchen table. Load a tray with a beverage (coffee, tea, hot chocolate, lemonade) and some tasty tidbits — and be prepared to indulge in an authentic, satisfying, social interaction. And, no cell phones allowed.
As we soldier on through our busy daily lives, don’t forget to take time to enjoy the little things like a cuppa with a good friend.