Your Cellphone May Be Ruining Your Dating Life
By Stephanie Pappas, LiveScience, May 10, 2013
Going on a blind date? Here’s a tip: Don’t bring your phone.
The mere presence of a mobile phone can make the meeting between two strangers more stilted, according to new research published in the May issue of the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.
Cellphones don’t disrupt casual conversation much, the study found, but when people were asked to discuss something meaningful, they reported less trust, empathy and lower relationship quality when a cellphone was in the room.
"What the work does is highlights one potential downside to mobile phones being so ubiquitous," said study researcher Andrew Przybylski, a psychologist at the University of Essex.
Przybylski doesn’t see the research as condemning smartphones—plenty of studies find that technology does connect people, he said, particularly people who would otherwise fall out of touch due to distance. But being aware of technology’s downsides may help make consumer tech less of a drag on your social life.
"There are both positives and negatives to different kinds of tech innovation, and what this research says is, basically, there are a lot of upsides—and if you’re just mindful of the potential pitfalls, maybe we can build that self-regulatory capacity to put the phone away," Przybylski said.
"If you actually turn your phone off—and not make a scene of it, do it in a cool way—it definitely communicates care and compassion, and that the present moment is really important."