In recent years there have been a number of films and TV shows depicting zombie invasions. They roam around aimlessly running into people and trying to bite them. But why do we need all of this expensively-produced zombie entertainment when we have our very own zombie epidemic right here in the real world (minus the biting part)? They are, of course, the phone zombies. If you haven’t noticed, it might be because you are one.

These are the people who are glued to their phones on the subway, at the cafe, at the concert, in the meeting, at the group dinner, at the gym, or even simply while walking down the street (one of them may have even bumped into you and gotten upset because you caused them to drop their phone). And I’m not talking about people having a verbal phone conversation, but just playing with their phones for the sake of keeping themselves occupied. Who uses their phone for making calls these days?

In our increasingly noisy world, even a few seconds without stimulation is unacceptable to the phone zombie.

Why is this a problem? Well, think about your handwriting. When I was a kid I used to have some pretty bad-ass handwriting. My teachers would consistently compliment me on it. But, if they saw it now they’d probably slip into cardiac arrest. With the onset of the digital age and constant typing of everything, my handwriting has plummeted faster than a barrel of unused white-out being pushed over Niagara Falls. I’m guessing yours has, too.

The same thing is now happening with our verbal communication skills. As email, texting, apps, and social media take over, our ability to be expressive with our voices slowly degrades. It’s becoming harder to connect with someone face-to-face than it is by simply clicking a button.

So here’s my suggestion: get off your phone. Wherever you are, be there. Be present both physically and mentally. Keep practicing your ability to have stimulating face-to-face conversations with both friends and strangers. I use the word practice intentionally, because it is most certainly a skill you can lose. Responding to that friend request can wait. And don’t even get me started on selfies.

Don’t be a phone zombie. Please.