Improving the Quality of Your Relationship:
Lose The Cell Phone Already
Written by Kory Floyd for Affectionado on October 4, 2013. in Creative Commons Licensing.
The mere presence of mobile devices hurts the quality of your relationship.
Many of us have had the frustrating experience of being in the middle of a conversation with someone, only to have that person answer a phone call or respond to a text. It can be discouraging to feel like you’re competing with a cell phone for someone’s attention…and losing. New research shows, however, that a mobile device doesn’t even have to be ringing or buzzing to ruin your conversation.
Suppose you sit down with a friend for some coffee and a visit, and he places his cell phone on the table. Just having it sit there—even if it never rings—makes you feel less close and connected to your friend, according to a recent study by psychologists Andrew Przybylski and Netta Weinstein. It also leads you to judge the quality of your relationship more poorly. Not surprisingly, the researchers found that the presence of a mobile device had the most negative effects when people were discussing personally meaningful topics.
Why should the mere presence of a cell phone have these effects? The researchers speculate that seeing a mobile device primes us to think about wider social networks, which takes our attention away from the face-to-face conversation we’re having at the time. Seeing the cell phone sitting on the table may also remind us that we can lose our partner’s attention at any moment.