Don’t Let Your Smartphone Ruin Your Relationships

Smartphones are amazing, and I’m a recent convert so I’m still in the honeymoon phase with mine. The technology has given me the freedom to step away from my computer a lot more and has made a lot of things, like finding places while I’m out and about, much easier. I’m happy to report though, that after six months of having it, I’m not addicted. In fact, people have been frustrated when they can’t reach me immediately. I keep it in the diaper bag, usually with the sound off, and I even turned off that annoying vibration. Having a phone has always been a tool for me to use when I want to, not a leash so people can have instant access to me.

I don’t need to check my phone every 20 minutes to see what everybody I know is doing, so maybe I don’t have a bad case of FOMO yet. Maybe I’m too old to get it. Or maybe I’m just really organized. I have my Meetup calendar synched to my google calendar and my iCal. I print a hard copy and post it on my fridge so I know where I’m supposed to be at any given time. I may actually be addicted to real social networking. I could probably slow down and skip a few playdates, but my daughter and I both get a kick out of interacting with real people.

I guess I am a bit of a fuddy duddy even though I have embraced the technology. I get a little annoyed when I’m at a playdate, and all the kids are playing and the moms all whip out phones and iPads and spend the playdate interacting with people who aren’t there or frantically pinning. Of course, as soon as the toddlers see the iPads they have to get in on it. Pinterest quickly gets exchanged for Monkey Preschool Lunchbox!

If your significant other, and your friends are annoyed with your smartphone habits, you should consider letting yourself disconnect from it at certain times of the day. Here are some tips for phone etiquette.

Leave It In Your Bag
When you arrive at home, a friends house, or a restaurant, don’t pull the phone out first thing. Spend a few minutes greeting everybody, maybe you will be drawn into a real interaction that will be much more satisfying than texting or emailing. You are more likely to get hugs and kisses if your hands are free! If people can sit through a meal without a cigarette, you can sit through one without checking your phone. If you have your head up, you will see when someone is about to hurl food at you. Trust me, I’m not above winging a breadstick if I’m feeling ignored at the table.

The kids should never feel like they are competing with electronics for your attention. This is especially true when parents work or kids are in school, and there is a limited time to interact. Put the phone away and play!

Let It Go To Voicemail
Unless you are a brain surgeon on call, it’s pretty rude to take a call when you are in the middle of talking to someone. That is what voicemail and caller ID is for. If you take the call, you are telling the person you are talking to that the person on the phone is more important than them. Is that really how you feel? If you’re expecting a call that you have to take, say something before the conversation starts.

Remember this, your boss loves that you check your email first thing in the morning, and all evening long, it’s like working overtime but not getting paid. Is this really how you want to spend your time off?

Jennifer Goode is a cell phone expert and relationship pro who loves to analyze how technology influences our communication skills. She often writes and covers topics ranging from dating tips to the benefits of roaming sim cards.

Photo Credit: Frederick Md Publicity