Why Your Cell Phone Is Bad for Your Relationship

Is your cell phone screwing with your relationship?

This scenario might sound familiar: You’re home after work, updating your significant other on all the drama—that meeting about your promotion, that weird thing you overheard the receptionist saying, how everyone totally lost their minds when the decaf and regular coffee were accidentally switched—but you can’t help but feel like he’s not listening. Sure, he’s nodding and mhmm-ing once in a while, but his eyes are locked on a tiny screen in front of him. Tap tap tap. Tap tap tap. Ah, the familiar sounds of someone distracted by their cell phone. We’ve all been there, whether with a partner or sitting across from a friend at dinner.

We all know it’s rude (even if we sometimes do it too), so it’s probably no surprise that it’s also bad for your relationship, as a recent study found. But did you know that even seeing a cell phone has a negative impact on how you connect with others?

Researchers at the University of Essex conducted an experiment in which they had pairs of strangers sit in booths together. Each booth had a book in it, plus another object—either a notebook or a cell phone. Then, the strangers spent 10 minutes sharing a story about something interesting that had happened to them in the past month. The researchers then questioned the pair about the interaction. The results? Even in a short 10-minute window, the pairs that were placed in a booth with a cell phone in it reported that they felt less close to their partner and reported a lower quality of relationship.

The researchers got the same result when they repeated the experiment, placing strangers in other environments and situation where there was a cell phone visible. So much for first impressions. And if the presence of a cell phone is getting in the way of our interactions with a new person telling an interesting story… well, then it’s no surprise that it also taints our interactions with the person we see every day (possibly telling a story we’ve heard before)—especially if we’re actively engaging with our cell phones. Our advice? Take the saying “out of sight, out of mind” to heart. Turn up the ringer in case you get an important call or text, and then put your cell away when you’re chatting with your partner or a friend. Make an effort to connect with the person in front of you, before your only companionship is Angry Birds.

Tell us in the comments: Do you put your cell phone away when you’re hanging out with friends or your partner? Does it bother you when someone else is checking or using their phone while you’re spending time together?

 

 

 

Related:
Do You Snoop Through Your Partner’s Phone?
Wobbly Chairs: Secret Relationship Killer?
Would You Give Up Sex for Sleep? For iPhone Time? For Bacon?

47 comments

 .
.10 months ago

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Teresa W.
Teresa W.11 months ago

spam flagged

Teresa W.
Teresa W.11 months ago

Maybe that depends on the relationship...

Nimue P.

And doesn't that picture say it all? :)

Nimue P.

If anyone I am on a date with, uses their phone, I will chuck it in the nearest bin. Or fish tank. Or out the window. Anything to get rid of it. And then I will tell them what a bloody prat they are, and leave. They can go on a date with me, or their phone, but not both.

Nimue P.

If anyone I am on a date with, uses their phone, I will chuck it in the nearest bin. Or fish tank. Or out the window. Anything to get rid of it. And then I will tell them what a bloody prat they are, and leave. They can go on a date with me, or their phone, but not both.

trina firey
trina fireyabout a year ago

Phone use stops when friends are around, when out on the town and during dinner.
It's rude to ignore people. Away with distractions when socializing!

trina firey
trina fireyabout a year ago

Phone use stops when friends are around, when out on the town and during dinner.
It's rude to ignore people. Away with distractions when socializing!

Cindy Rhodes
Cindy Rhodes3 years ago

I see to many times when people are sitting together or walking with each other and they are not present with each other because they are on the cell either texting {mostly} or yakking to someone other than the one they are with!!

Dot A.
Dot A.3 years ago

Hot Hot Topic! -we're breaking new territory with this intricate phone capability,... and while there are so many people who are profiting economically from this tech-toy-invention, I'd have to say that many of the comments here reflect that we've created an avalanche of social and safety problems (-esp: driving). I like technology, but we put ALL (all that is marketed so far, that is,... ) OF IT 'out there' without any consideration as to the privacy issues (which the youth rarely respect, if you just listen to any conversation shouted out in public and there's no regard for those who enjoy their quite independence and personal privacy,.. ) -and absolutely, this just HAS to affect our communication when we're 'face to face' with our friends and loved ones. As mentioned, the youth accept it all as normal, for this is the world that was thrust up them, without guidance, without social awareness, especially of the possibility for misuse,... and as this article so well addresses, without the warnings of what happens to our relationships if technology is the preference over human contact in an authentic and meaningful communication and caring way. It's not only rude!, it's harmful, destructive, and EVEN, dangerous when people are 'unconscious' of all else around them.