Thrive II Preview

How Our Smartphones Are Disconnecting Us and What to Do About It

Posted by on September 2, 2017 in Conscious Evolution, Conscious Living, Thrive with 0 Comments


By Joseph Pennington | Tiny Buddha

“These days, whether you are online or not, it is easy for people to end up unsure if they are closer together or further apart.” ~Sherry Turkle, Alone Together

There was rarely a time when my partner didn’t have her phone in her hand or, at the very least, in a place she could quickly grab it.

We’d go out for a meal and it’d be there by her plate, positioned so she could dip in and out at any lull in the conversation.

We’d take a walk and she’d have me in one hand and it in the other, ready to take a photo or catch the next Facebook notification.

Even when we were in bed, if it wasn’t glued to her face, it’d be right by her side, lying between us like a small child who’d snuggled in for the night and ruined any chance of intimacy.

It wasn’t good for our relationship, to say the least. Especially considering that, however unhealthy her relationship with her phone was, mine was worse.

I didn’t realize it at the time. But in hindsight, I can see that most the time she retreated into her phone was when I’d long zoned out and been absorbed by mine: some random article or new app I’d downloaded, updates on the game, or a group chat with work colleagues.

In that sense, we were perfect for each other. And looking around us, there didn’t seem anything too strange or excessive about our behavior. All our friends and the couples around us were also interacting with each other from beyond their screens, and they seemed perfectly happy—at least according to their Instagram posts.

But something wasn’t right. Sure, we had our problems, I knew that. But it was something more than that: we were missing that deep feeling of connection. You know, that feeling you get when your partner understands you, without having to say a word. Or the fulfillment of being alone together and feeling like you’re the only two people in the world.

Surely this fundamental pillar of how you feel about someone had nothing to do with our little glowing screens. So, none the wiser to what was going on, things gradually got worse and, eventually, we broke up.

I wasn’t blind enough to see our phones had something to do with it, though. I mean, not being able to talk for two minutes without one of us phubbing the other was clearly an issue. And the non-stop messaging whenever we were apart couldn’t have been good for us.

So when a similar thing started to happen with my current partner—both of us spending more time with our devices than each other and a feeling of disconnection growing between us—I knew there was something going on. And if one thing was for sure, whatever it was, I wasn’t prepared to let it ruin another relationship.

I started to look more closely at our phone use and put it under the microscope: Why was it happening? Why did I prefer Candy Crush over spending time together? Why did we talk more via text than real life?

What I found completely changed our relationship. Not only that, it changed my relationships with friends, family, and everyone I meet. And what’s best about it, I haven’t had to disconnect from social media or give up any of my beloved devices.


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