In this day and age, it's all too easy to feel disconnected from the people around you. Although modern technology has allowed us to remain in touch with business associates, friends, and relatives from all across the globe, it has also prevented us from forming close relationships with the very people around us.

To combat this problem, we must begin by making sure that we are fully present in every moment. This means making an active effort to contribute to conversation when in a group or in another's company. We must give everyone the attention they deserve in order to receive the same respect back.

Take the time to have a full, meaningful conversation without staring at your smartphone, scrolling through Facebook, or constantly checking your text messages. Put down your phone, lock your tablet, close your laptop, and build real, lasting relationships.

Smile at your co-worker, child, or friend and ask them something you've always wanted to know. Ask them about their day, their last inspirational trip, what they love most about their hometown. And, most importantly, listen.

People are usually more than happy to bridge the gap between being acquaintances and becoming true friends. It's just hard to be the one who takes the first step. So why not be that person?

We must take these small risks every day to reach out. How could we ever hope to foster meaningful relationships otherwise? Everyone loves being important to someone else. Sometimes, we just have to show others that they matter to us first--no matter how hard taking that first step might be.

Find the time to be present at least once every day in order to really get to know someone else. Be alert and fully conscious of every opportunity you can take to improve and deepen your relationships.

We miss all of the shots we don't take. But how can we try to shoot if we spend our time engrossed by a medium that detracts from the reality around us?

Put down your phone, and force yourself to find friends in unlikely places.

Put down your phone, and grow closer to everyone you know.

Put down your phone, and make relationships--and memories--that will last you a lifetime.

Published on: Jun 4, 2015
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.