Hold On… I Need To Check My Phone
It’s your first date with this amazing new guy and you’re a messy combination of nervous, excited, and hopeful. You sit down to eat at a restaurant he promises you’ll fall in love with. Your waiter takes your drink order; a water and a mixed cocktail your guy says is to die for. The drinks come and the two of you clink your glasses together. As you smile shyly over your glass, you see your guy reach down into his pocket, pull out his phone, and begin running his finger across the touchscreen. Your smile fades as you ask, “What are you doing?” “Just checking in with Foursquare,” he replies. And so it begins.
Smartphones, along with all the social media applications that are installed within seconds, allow us to connect to people across the globe instantaneously. We can throw photos and status updates onto Facebook and Twitter, share our location on Foursquare, and play games with friends or strangers. But where does that leave the person right in front of you? Is it right or fair to interrupt a date, movie, or quiet night at home with activity on your phone? Is it even possible not to?
I’m a married woman, so thankfully dating etiquette isn’t a huge issue, but my husband and I still go out and still have to decide where the phone’s place is on a date. Last night we went for sushi, then to a movie, an outing that could have easily been cast in a shadow if one or both of us made Twitter more important than each other. The phones have, on occasion, become an annoyance at home, especially when one of us is engrossed in a television show or movie, but the other is more interested in whatever is on the Smartphone’s screen.
I feel that Smartphones have become a tool to help people fill the silence when they run out of things to say or are simply just having a shy moment. This makes them easy to turn to on dates, especially the first few when you are still trying to get to know a person. It also gives people a passive way to compliment their date; checking in on Foursquare and commenting how incredible your date is can be much easier than actually turning to your date and saying how much you love it. Facebook and Twitter updates about how it is going accomplish the same thing.
But what exactly is being accomplished? Is it helpful to share with many what should, in reality, be between the two of you? When my husband and I met, it was through MySpace, so our relationship played out online for all our friends to see. It was annoying, to say the least, especially with negative friends putting in their two cents on my side and a jealous female friend on his. Had we not been living a thousand miles apart at the time and had I been braver and more willing to turn to the phone and instant messaging, there would be no way I would have been courting him via the internet.
I’m not saying it’s wrong to put yourself and your love out there, but there definitely needs to be a line that both of you agree should not be crossed. Perhaps it’s that the phone doesn’t make an appearance during meals, or maybe it’s that you just decide that your Facebook friends shouldn’t be privy to every gritty detail of your relationship. The thing to remember is that it’s not the sharing part that is wrong, it’s in how it’s done where people make wrong turns.
Respect plays a major role here and you must respect your partner enough, and ensure they respect you, to make sure the phone isn’t turning your relationship into a three or foursome. There is absolutely nothing wrong with putting things related to your relationship online, but is the middle of dinner or a concert really the right time? Are you both on the same page or do you just want to think you are so you don’t feel guilty about tweeting while dating?
Trust me, I’m not climbing on my high horse and calling anyone out because I’m as guilty as the next person of allowing my phone to interfere with my time with my husband. Being comfortable in our relationship allows the two of us to be pretty vocal when something is becoming an issue, so the phones have definitely been a discussion topic. For two people who are still in the early stages, however, it’s much harder to state a complaint comfortably; the easier route is to ignore it and hope it goes away for the sake of the newly budding romance. But without communication, there cannot be change.
What I suggest is stashing the phone away in your pocket or purse or throwing it out of reach somewhere so you are concentrating fully on the person within arm’s reach. Make sure you’re not dedicating more time to a little electronic device than you are to the living breathing soul in the room with you. Be aware that things you share via social media can come back to bite you in the ass and can give nosy people free reign to throw advice and opinions at you that you just don’t want. Use your phone as a tool instead of just existing in its shadow.