Some people have become seriously addicted to their mobile phone and break out in a nervous sweat when they think they can’t find it or are asked to turn it off, only managing to turn it onto vibrate in case they miss something.
There are increasing numbers of people complaining that their partner’s phone has become like an intruder in their relationship. If someone’s attention is always drifting away or the little reminder noise goes off when you are getting intimate or you feel that they talk more to random strangers on Twitter than they do to you then it will eventually become a problem in your relationship.
If you are on a first date then it is sensible to have your phone with you but don’t let it be visible or audible. It’s not a good idea to have it on the table in front of you constantly flashing or pinging you news of everyone else’s business.
Studies have shown that non-verbal communication accounts for about 80% of our interaction with each other and inattention is the biggest block to developing healthy relationships. There is something really wonderful about being with someone who gives you their full attention, listens to what you are saying and are attentive, engaged and interesting. As soon as that phone is on the table all of that seems to go and you know your date isn’t really fully present to you any more.
Whether you are dating or not it is healthy to have some time in each day when you aren’t connected and, if you can manage it, even a whole weekend once in a while. Much as social networks have their place in modern society there is a danger that many of our basic needs for connection, friendship, communication and even love are being met virtually.
In general we don’t phone or go to see people we care about as much as we used to because we get constant status updates which make us believe that we know what is going on with them. Often now when you see someone after a long time and you start to tell them some exciting development in your life they say, ‘Yes, I know I saw it on Facebook.’ The reality is that we are missing out, we may feel more in touch but in a real sense we may be less in touch than ever before. Try to ensure that you maintain a balance of personal contact with virtual contact, there is nothing quite like seeing your friends and family in person and if that isn’t possible a phone call gives a more real connection.
In a new relationship try to keep your communication in person as much as possible, texting cute messages of love is great but remember not to try and deal with difficult emotional issues by text as they can be mis-read.
Have a private life
Some people feel compelled to share every detail of their lives in their social network statuses but when it comes to relationships you need to be very careful about this. There is something very distasteful about seeing a couple row or split up on Facebook. A good rule of thumb is don’t put anything on there that you wouldn’t feel comfortable standing on a stage and sharing with a crowd of people, some of whom you might not know very well. Keep your private life private and if there is something you need to share with your friends go and see them or pick up the phone.
When dating someone your aim is to build a sustainable connection and posting every move you make together is not the best way to go about it. Leave the phone at home, or on silent out of sight and enjoy the real human thrill of getting to know someone new.
When you feel you know someone well enough that you want to invite them to be your social network ‘friend’ sitting together looking at your photo albums and interests is much more intimate and personal than letting them trawl through your profile on their own.
You may meet the love of your life online but be careful not to lose them because of your compulsion to stay connected to your virtual world.