Apr 21, 2015

Phone Free Date Night

Ryan and I did this last night and it was awesome!

For me, a big part of the enjoyment of eating out is the interaction with the other person.  Lately, I've gotten as connected to my phone as anyone, but it's never been hard for me to put it down to talk to the people I'm with.  I find an in-person conversation to be more enjoyable, so if the choices are internet, or person in front of me, the person I'm with will always win.

Ryan tends to be less of a talker, and more "connected."  So in the past, if there was a lull in the conversation he'd pick up his phone.  In theory, there's nothing wrong with this - we weren't talking anyway, right?  But the fact that he now had his attention devoted to a different stimulus meant that not only would he not offer any new conversation from his side, but that I'd have to actively work to drag his attention back to the present.

I use this as an example, not a criticism.  Because Ryan's not the only one and it's so easy to do!

Here's another.  You're discussing something, a debate arises, and naturally you use the phone to check something relevant to the conversation.  Buuut, then you see some notifications, and before you know it, you're browsing social media instead of continuing the conversation that initially sent you to the phone to research!


And sometimes it's things that you feel have a high level of importance.  I, for example, will always pick up the phone when my parents call.  Because they don't call without a reason (though sometimes that reason is just to make weekend plans or ask to borrow my car, which is hardly urgent).  Ryan will always pick up for work calls and respond to work emails asap.  Which, as he's settled into his role and gotten to be a baller at his job, means that the volume of calls and emails just goes up, because he's reliable and competent and responsive.

So when Ryan suggested leaving his phone in the car when we went to dinner last night, I was elated!  Yes, please do, it's what I've always wanted.  I was a little surprised when he took my phone (which was in my hand as I, too, checked work emails) and put it in the glove compartment with his, but you know?  Good point.  I might not be as bad (in my mind, anyway), but if we're going to have a date that's unconnected, we should both be unconnected.

And it was all-around lovely.  I, honestly, forgot all about the phones and didn't think about checking mine until we were leaving and I reflexively checked my pocket to make sure it was there (obviously it was not).  Ryan mentioned about halfway through dinner that he had had the impulse to reach for his non-present phone a couple times, but that he was settling into not having to remain in constant vigilance and it was actually really relaxing.

I enjoyed his unusual volubility, and not feeling like I had to maintain a high level of interesting conversation in order to compete with his phone.  I also enjoyed a break from the steady stream of buzzing announcing various notifications that really don't matter.  As fun and useful as the phone can be, spending too much time on it (specifically social media) always leaves me feeling empty.

I'm hoping we make this a regular thing.  I've been more prone to putting my phone on do not disturb these days, but not having it around at all is even better.  The only thing I'd change is to take my license out of the phone case and put it back in my purse so I can order a drink if I want one!

How connected are you to your phone?  Do you ever go phone free?


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7 comments:

  1. I love phone-free date nights :) I miss them! Lately, we've had a million things we need to stay connected for - changes with john's job, our house hunt, stuff that when someone calls or emails, we actually have to respond in a timely manner. I cannot wait til it's all settled and I can chuck that damn phone into a room and leave it all night.

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  2. love this! KC and I never get on our phones when we are out eating, it really upsets me when other people do!

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  3. I frequently walk around with no phone. I use it mostly as a camera anyway and can ignore notifications.

    Good for you guys!

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  4. I love this! I try to be mindful of not absent mindlessly picking up my phone while spending time with other people (husband included) but it is so smart to actually make the conscious effort of saying no phones. I have gotten better about being able to ignore notifications, the OCD in me used to go crazy if I didn't get ride of that damned red circled number! Now? Meh.

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  5. I keep trying to enforce this with R and he sucks at it lol! He is worse then me and I never thought that was possible.

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  6. The older I get, the more aware I become of how tethered to my phone I am. I fully believe that smartphones are wonderful things with the ability to enhance a lot of things, but we definitely don't always use them for that. A few times a day I put my phone completely away from where I am doing whatever else and it's nice. I try to not take it out when I'm among friends and honestly have reached a point where I feel embarrassed if I'm having a conversation with someone and realize I'm scrolling through my phone. One thing I did and am really happy with so far is turning off the vibration option when I have my phone on silent. So when I put my phone on silent mode, nothing can call me over to it unless I'm looking at it. And it's nice to still be accessible but I 100% decide when I'm checking my phone, ya know?

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  7. When no one is around but a 5 year old my phone is my best friend and adult connection to the world, when I'm with an adult though I find it fairly easy to disconnect or only check my phone at appropriate times. Tyson however is a phone freak, it's annoying!

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