Think “phoney” is spelled wrong? Think again. For relationships to be resilient and stand the test of time, your phone could get in the way. Specifically—your smart phone!
Here’s a scenario we have all seen and probably participated in. A couple is sitting in a restaurant. Instead of talking to each other, they are engaged with their cell phone. They might as well have been sitting across from a potted plant!
Relationships worth keeping require focus, attention and nurturing. According to Tom Rath, author of Are You Fully Charged?, a 2014 study titled ‘The iPhone Effect’ shows how the mere presence of a smartphone can ruin a conversation.
In an experiment with 200 participants, researchers found that simply placing a mobile communication device on the table or having participants hold it in their hand was a detriment to their conversations. Any time the phone was visible, the quality of the conversation was rated as less fulfilling when compared with conversations that took place in the absence of mobile devices. People reported having higher levels of empathetic concern when phones were not visible.
Bottom line, don’t be the dumb user of a smart phone. Put it away and out of sight in meetings, with colleagues, and loved ones. Honor your intention to pay close attention to the person in front of you. Besides, you can’t high-five, hug, or cuddle with a cell phone.