Self-Improvement

3 Reasons Why Your Cell Phone Could Be Damaging Your Relationships

New York Smash Magazine  



By Chelsea Kate Isaacs

By Chelsea Kate Isaacs

Let’s face it: Most people seem to be more attached to their cell phones than the actual people in their lives.

For the sake of maintaining happy, healthy relationships, it’s important to know when to stop using the phone and start paying attention to those around you. 

According to author and etiquette expert Jacqueline Whitmore, one of the most common mistakes is putting technology first and people second.

“It should be the other way around – people first and technology second. People are glued to their cell phones. Oftentimes, you’ll see people on their smartphones when they’re out to dinner. They are not paying attention to each other. There should be a designated time when you turn it off and become fully engaged with those you’re with,” Whitmore told New York Smash.

In an effort to spread awareness of proper cell phone etiquette, Whitmore founded National Cell Phone Courtesy Month in 2002 which takes place in July.

Here are three ways your cell phone could be sabotaging your social life: 

1. It can make others feel ignored or neglected.

If you’re constantly distracted by your cell phone, you could be offending others without knowing it. 

“It does affect our relationships with other people and our reputation,” Whitmore said. “If you’ve lived long enough, you’ve probably been told by a family member spouse or partner to put your phone away. We tend to want to be connected all the time. We feel we might be missing something if we don’t have our phone in our hands or put the phone away. This can affect relationships because the people around us feel ignored, neglected and less important. It can make you appear to be self-absorbed or selfish when you pay more attention to the phone versus them. It makes people feel as if you don’t value their time.”

2. It can turn off your boss and colleagues. 

Just because it seems like everyone at work is using a cell phone 24/7 doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. In fact, putting your phone away can make you stand out in the crowd as a more polite and well-mannered person.

“By putting your phone away, you may be perceived as a more respectful, courteous person,” Whitmore said. “That’s not to say you can’t use your smartphone; if you need to use the phone, you can still be courteous and say, ‘Excuse me, do you mind if I take this call?’ It makes you stand out if you’re one of the few who doesn’t have to look at your phone and does not have to have it out. It’s really rare to see a person without a cell phone. Unless you’re expecting an organ transplant or a call from the president, you can probably live without your phone for an hour.” 

3. It may prevent you from forming meaningful relationships.

Overusing your smartphone can elevate stress levels which may impact our personal lives in a number of ways. According to Whitmore:

“When you can unplug from your cell phone, you’re less stressed, more relaxed and also more focused. You’re more apt to pay attention to people you’re with and with that, you create more meaningful relationships when you give someone your full undivided attention.”