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Posted by on Jun 19, 2018 in Advice, Coaching, Dear Coach Kiki, Emotional Learning, Emotional Life Lesson, Life Lesson, Parenting, Resistance, Tech, Tech Addiction, Tech Break | 0 comments

Man of a Few Words Needs to be Offline on Vacation

Hi again — hope you’re having a great week.

I got a great question last week from Man of a Few Words who Needs To Be Offline on Vacation (MFWNOV), but I needed some more information in order to answer it in more detail.

So I asked.

Here’s how the email exchange went. The first one was 12 words. Really.

Question from (MFWNOV): I need to be offline on vacation how can I do it?

My response: Do you want to be?


Me: Why do you have to be?

(MFWNOV): my wife said she’ll divorce me

Me: For being online.

(MFWNOV): i’m online a lot

Me: How much?

(MFWNOV): all the time for work and to relax.

Me: Work?

(MFWNOV): tech

Me: Relax?

(MFWNOV): gaming poker reading watching

Me: Age?

(MFWNOV): 37

Me: Wife?

(MFWNOV): 38 fitness professional

Me: Anything else?

(MFWNOV): she says this vacation is a test. she wants to start a family. doesn’t think I’ll be ‘available’ as a father or partner

Note: I asked (MFWNOV) questions in very few words since I understood from Man of Few Words question that he is — uh — a man of few words . I wanted to communicate with him in a way that he’d find comfortable.

Coaching Tip: If you’re in a leadership position, be it as a manager, employer, teacher, trainer, or anything else — pay attention to the communication style of the people you’re working with.

Your best bet for getting more information, and keeping the conversation going, is to speak in their ‘language’. The style they’re most comfortable with.

Thanks (MFWNOV) for your great question. Here are a few thoughts.

Dear (MFWNOV),

There’s a lot more information I’d love to know about your situation in order to give a detailed answer, but this is great. Thanks for asking, and I’ll answer based on information I do have.

First of all, you’re not alone in having an issue like this with your wife. I’m hearing from more and more (and more and more) clients of all ages, relationship status, family status, work status, all the statuses that there are conflicts around screen time, online-offline time, and all the issues that go along with that. So, there’s that.

In your case, I did notice that you don’t speak much — although that might be a function of email and texting.

Which would lead me to ask, if you were my client, “what came first?”

  • Did you speak less and therefore find refuge online where speaking/communicating isn’t as necessary?
  • Or, did you used to speak and communicate more and somehow do less of it once you spent more and more time online?

Why the questions? Because it would help knowing how to assist you in spending less time online during the vacation.

I do see some resistance here though. You do NOT want to be offline, buuuuuut you have to be or else…

Some Questions I’d Ask You:

Do you want to go on vacation with your wife?

How much do you care about starting a family?

Because if you don’t care, or don’t want either of those things — you’ll probably find that you’ll be spending time online while you’re on vacation.

Now. Your original question is “I need to be offline on vacation. how do I do that?”

Need. You didn’t say ‘want’, or ‘I’d like to be’ so any tips I suggest to you will either go out the window — or — will be really hard for you to accomplish if you’re feeling resentful about needing to do it.

Emotional and Life Coaching Suggestions for some hard thinking:

Spend some time thinking about

  1. What you want as far as your relationship with your wife.
  2. How you really feel about  having a family.

Coaching Tips About the Thinking:

  1. This is the time to do it.
  2. Be honest with yourself.
  3. Be honest with your wife.

I’m not suggesting that it’s easy. You might need some coaching or therapy to really go deep with this, but you’d be doing yourself, your wife, your relationship, and any future children you might have, a real favor thinking this through now.

I make these suggestions before getting to your answer since if you come to the conclusion that you don’t want the same things, or you’re at a crossroads with each other that won’t be resolved before vacation…well, it’s up to both of you to decide what to do with that.

Having said that, here are a couple of ideas I’d suggest to clients who are online all the time to help them ease into being offline for an extended period of time.

Coaching Suggestion:

  1. Would it be possible for you and your wife to agree on some short online times for you while you’re on vacation? If she’s okay with that, it might help you knowing that at some agreed on point, you’d be able to go online even if it’s only for a short while.

Because…This is who you are right now.

Being online is important to you, and something you need, so explaining to her that you’d like some online time might help her understand.

Explain that you’re not doing it to avoid her, or to disappear into the ether, but it’s something you need to do, even if it’s only for short amounts of time.

That doesn’t mean you won’t ever change, but right this minute, in the immediate short term, this is how you operate.

Vacation Coaching Tip: You didn’t mention where you’re going, or what kind of vacation it is, so I’ll use a beach vacation as an example here.

Sounds like you’re someone who gets very involved when you’re interested in something.

  • So, doing some advance work for the trip, can you find something/s that you’ll be seeing/doing while you’re away that you could really really get into?
  • Are you interested in oceanography?
  • Animals?
  • Sailing?
  • Surfing?

If you’re not —

  • Can you become interested in one or more of them for a short time?
  • What might you be able to become interested in that would be available where you’re going?

What I’m suggesting is finding alternate focuses that you can engage in while you’re away. Different things that will keep you interested. Really interested.

  • Choose things that need a lot of attention and focus.
  • I’ve worked with clients who’ve taken up card games, crafting, new exercising & workouts, studying geography, oceanography, skydiving, reading, audiobooks, meditation….and on and on.

It’s hard for me to make specific suggestions since I don’t know more about you — feel free to send a follow up email with thoughts about how/if any of these can help you, or to ask for more/different suggestions.

Coaching Suggestions:

  1. Begin weaning yourself off your tech before you go on vacation. You can begin today by setting a timer (a simple watch or egg timer) for one minute. Tomorrow move it up to a minute and a half. The next day shoot for 2 minutes.
  2. Monitor your reactions. Are you getting anxious when you’re offline? Are you feeling sleepy or disinterested in what’s around you?
  3. There are ways to minimize some of the anxious, sleepy, or depressed feelings you’re having. (They’re beyond the scope of this response, but feel free to email and I can point you in the right direction/s.)

Emotional + Psychological Life Lesson:

Remember: This is a way of life that you’re very, very, very used to — it would make perfect sense if you have an emotional, psychological, and even physical reaction to it.

Coaching Suggestion:

  1. Discuss with your wife what you’ll be doing while on vacation. Plan ahead.
  2. What you’re attempting to do is to make sure there’s no vacuum.
  3. Deciding to shut-everything-off with no plan for what to do with all that time instead, will leave a huge black hole where your online time was. Prepare for that time.

Suggested Reading:

The Dangers of Distracted Parenting. When it comes to children’s development, parents should worry less about kids’ screen time—and more about their own. The Atlantic

Video Game Addiction Tries to Move From Basement to Doctor’s Office. NY Times

Great good luck! I admire your guts in asking the question, that indicates some real interest in making this change during vacation. And for a Man of Few Words — you did a great job communicating some of the very important aspects of the issue.

Have a great time on vacation!

and keep in mind…

Your life is like no other. sm

Kiki aka Coach Kiki

aka Rebecca Kiki Weingarten, M.Sc.Ed, MFA

Have a question you’d like answered? Or an issue you’d like some thoughts on? Ask away.

© 2018 TradeCraft Coaching & Rebecca K. Weingarten Please note that all posts are for entertainment purposes. It is not intended and should not be construed as the delivery of medical or psychological care. You are always encouraged to check and confirm the information with other sources and through direct professional contact.


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