The progression of the cell phone has been truly remarkable. I remember becoming aware of them for the first time and having no idea that it was ever going to be a part of normal life. Once we all got used to having cell phones, the idea of text messaging was the coolest thing ever... even though you didn't have a keyboard. It was exhausting but it wasn't all that long ago. Now our phones are smarter than us and can connect us to most of the world in crazy ways. We're also totally obsessed with them and we're completely dependent on them for all kinds of things. (What's a map?) The problem with the obsessing is that sometimes they get in the way of our real life relationships. You wouldn't think that your electronics could have so much power over your life, but they do. Here are 15 ways that your phone is keeping you from love and what to do about it. Because let's be honest the smartphone is cool, but it can't cuddle you at night.
15 It's Making You Tired
Your phone is keeping you up at night, which then makes you more tired during the day, and then you get behind on work. Then you get stressed out and even more tired. You try to remedy it by staying in to catch up on sleep when you could be out socializing. Is that a reach? Don't think so. The light on our phones is the type of light that alerts our bodies that it's daytime and we should start waking up, even if it's the middle of the night, so when you use your phone to check the time in the dark you can be totally confusing yourself. Not to mention the fact that we're glued to our phones and often check for text messages if we happen to wake up for a minute in the night. (They can usually wait.) When your body gets confused like that it just doesn't reach the deep levels of restorative sleep that make you feel refreshed in the morning, and there's no way to catch up on sleep besides seriously catching up on sleep.
14 It Makes It Too Easy For You To Stalk People
It's pretty easy to stalk people on social media but it gets a million times easier when you have a phone in your hand, and if you're prone to the habit, you can fall down some pretty intense stalking holes. The problem with this is that you can end up coming across information that you really don't need to know and then stirring up trouble where it doesn't exist. Think stalking his ex-girlfriend and being totally intimidated and freaked out by how gorgeous and successful she is, which then makes you feel insecure and unsure about the fact that he could really like you... even though he hasn't given you any real life reason to question that. Or perhaps you've jumped to a conclusion based on something you gathered from social media that was just entirely wrong already. You thought he was on a brunch date because you could see another woman's hand in the photo of his mimosa but actually that was his boss, and now he thinks you're a stalker and a crazy one at that.
13 It Gives You A False Sense Of Connection
You feel like you're talking to people all day long based on how much time you spend interacting with others on your phone, but the truth is that a lot of that is not real human connection. The group chat is fun but if you're never actually meeting up with your friends you're missing out on the good stuff. Those social media likes might feel good but you don't even know half those people so does it really even mean anything? It depends on how you look at it, but not really. It's similar to watching TV and feeling like you're not alone because you're distracted and laughing at a show. You might be perfectly happy and content in that moment, but it's not because of any real human relationships, and having those is pretty important. If you're substituting your real life connections with ones on your phone you will just be putting more space between you and people who can really care about you, like boyfriends.
12 It Can Make You Less Independent
If you rely on your phone for everything, you might start to forget that you're totally capable of doing those things with your own mind... not just Siri's mind. The map thing is a great example. Being able to read a real map isn't necessarily going to make you a better person than using Google maps, but since it isn't really convenient to pull out a real map if that was your only option you might be better at remembering how to get places or even learning the freeway layout so you could do some navigating without using a map at all. These days your map apps stops working for a second you might as well pull over because you just really have no idea what's going on. Relying on your phone makes you much less independent. And to be in a great relationship, independence and self-reliance is really important. It's great to get help from people some of the time, but you shouldn't need it all the time.
11 Apps Are Making You Picky
With all those dating apps, you have access to a ton of people on your cell phone, and since you can swipe through them so quickly and make snap judgements about them, it's easy to think that there are more options than there actually are when can make you unreasonably picky. The small town analogy is a good one. You might have noticed how quickly people get married when they stay in small towns as opposed to heading out into the world to experience a bigger space. It's possible that all of those people in the small towns were just meant to be, but it's also possible that their timing also just lined up better and there are only so many options unless you keep adding more. Living in a big city with millions of options tends to slow people down since they date a lot more people before they decide who to stick with. This app thing can mimic that experience. There are more and more people joining the apps every day, and who's to say that "the one" isn't just around the corner. But you still have to make some choices at some point because otherwise, that can go on forever.
10 Apps Are Confusing You
Apps can be an awesome tool for connecting with people in real life... as long as you're actually connecting with those people in real life. The attention you get on an app might be fun, and sure, it's cool to chat with different guys. But these aren't real relationships. They aren't even relationships at all. You're literally just talking online. You have to actually meet these people in person if you want to start something. It can seem scary to meet these people, but it's necessary if you want a real boyfriend that doesn't only live in your cell phone. The point is to have a real life person to connect with, not to connect matches that send you flirty messages but never meet IRL. Don't get confused and think that every guy is a flake because some of them are. Sure, some guys are total jerks and some of them lie to you, but again, that's not everyone. The more people you interact with the more chaos there can be, but it is absolutely possible to meet a real life amazing person on an app, I've done it. But you have to keep an open mind and trust the experience... as well as actually meet them in real life. Okay, you get the point, right?!
9 You're Checking Your Phone On A Date
The power of the smartphone pull is so strong that people are looking at them for no reason while they're on dates with real people. What is this madness? We get so seriously addicted to these things that we don't even know why we're actually looking at them, we just do. Can't miss anything that's happening out there, what would happen then? But then when we try to keep up with everything that's happening online we end up neglecting what's happening in front of us in real life, which is often pretty good and way more important. If you find yourself wanting to check your phone while you're on a date think about why. If it's because you just don't like the guy then fine, but pay attention to that and be on your way. If it's because you're totally addicted and just feel like checking Instagram for no reason, resist the urge. It's not necessary and it can be harming your chances of getting to know people and getting close to them.
8 You're Texting, Not Talking
Texting is miraculous in a lot of ways and we definitely need it. But if you're spending all of your time texting someone instead of talking to them on the phone (or in person, of course), you'll be missing out on some connecting. It's like a running joke how much people hate talking on the phone these days, but that comes from feeling nervous and uncomfortable. It's like talking on the phone is real time so you don't have time to plan out your responses. But it's just like talking in person, so what's the big deal? When I was growing up, getting phone calls from guys was pretty exciting and even more terrifying, but that's what makes it what it is. Dating is exciting and terrifying, no one should be running from the unknown parts that seem a little scary and attempting to over control the situation. Long phone calls about nothing are a super great way to get to know people, and bond, and take conversations in a totally different direction that you could on text. It's old school and it's romantic.
7 You Expect To Hear From Guys ASAP
You have instant access to people with cell phones, so when you contact someone, you expect to hear back from them instantly. That's okay, except that when you don't hear back from someone you're more likely to start wondering why... like instantly. When you're over thinking why someone isn't returning your text you get all worked up over nothing. Be honest, you've had the experience where he didn't text you back within an hour and you made up some entire story about how he's cheating with this hot girl that goes to your gym. For no reason really, but you got all worked up about it. This highly imaginative stuff is good for certain situations, but it isn't necessarily good for relationships. Our thoughts are powerful things, and when you're thinking negative stuff it can seep out into the real world, and it can also just increase your anxiety in general and make you worried about all kinds of other things. Too much worry is never good for relationships.
6 It's Too Easy To Make Last Minute Plans
Back in the day when landlines ruled supreme, you still had to make plans with people. You could only reach someone if they were actually at home, and if you didn't make plans with them you risked trying to hang out when they were already busy, with no way to try and meet up unless you knew where they were. Well, that doesn't sound like the most convenient way of living, but it also seemed to work pretty well. These days we have instant access to people, and it can actually be alarming if we can't get ahold of people for a few hours. What could they possibly be doing? This change makes it incredibly easy to make last minute plans. Why commit to a set time when you can just play it by ear and see what works best for everyone at that point? In dating this can take away some of the romance of "dating," and in some cases, it also turns potential dating situations into hook up situations, thanks to the instant access. It certainly makes it easier to get confused about what someone is after.
5 You Use Your Phone As A Coping Mechanism
Phones are full of fun stuff to do, or at least distracting stuff to do. Like pretty much anything in the world that you might want to look at can be found on your phone. But having so many distractions so close by means that you can use those distractions as a coping mechanism when you should actually be letting yourself feel your feelings. We use things as coping mechanisms all the time, but things like alcohol, or intimacy, or over exercising are easier to pinpoint as such. There are negative consequences to doing too much of those things, so it's easier to see where the habits might be hurting you while they distract you. Phones, on the other hand, are a necessary part of life and it's not like you're going to get rid of it or something, that would be unreasonable. So you're also more likely to make excuses about the time you spend on it and ignore the fact that you're using the distraction to literally distract yourself from something else. We can't be our best selves without doing the internal work to grow, and that requires feeling and thinking whether you like it or not.
4 You Waste Your Time Overanalyzing Him
If you had to wait until you met up with your friends in person to talk about this guy that you're seeing, then you would definitely forget most of the things you were obsessing about because they blow over. But since you can text all of your friends and get real time feedback, it makes it seem like a good idea to do that and analyze every single thing that's happening as it does. The problem with this instant access to your faux therapists, is that sometimes emotions, moods, and concerns naturally pass if you allow them to. Maybe you were stressing out about something that he said but then an hour later he clarified the situation. You could have just gone about your day in the meantime but instead you spent a bunch of time texting about it with your friends and maybe even getting some opinions that weren't helpful. There's always the friend who loves drama and makes it seem like things are worse than they are, but you don't want to get worked up into all that when you can help it.
3 You're Staying In Touch With Your Exes
Imagine the landline days without social media or cell phones. You would never be talking to your exes unless you worked together or you ran in the same social circle post-breakup. Or at least not on the same level that you do now. It would just be weird because it would require so much effort. There's no mistake involved in picking up a landline and calling someone. But on our phones, it's super easy to get in touch with someone and pretend it's innocent and fair when it really isn't. Responding to his snap story, texting about something here and there. It's fine, except that it can make it a lot harder to move on. Imagine the difference of never seeing someone again versus seeing them literally every day on your timeline. There needs to be some sort of boundary drawn for yourself so that you don't keep hope where there isn't hope since that only serves to prolong the pain, skip over the real healing stuff, and keep you from meeting new people. You might think you're available to a new love, but if you're still hung up on an ex, are you?
2 You Never Stop Working
Technically there's an end to your work day, but your boss always has access to you by email if not calls and texts, so if things come up you pretty much have to respond. This can extend our work hours quite a bit and it can also make us feel like we're never really off the clock. This might be good for your career in certain ways, but it can be rough on your love life. When you prioritize work over love you're doing just that. Of course, your job is very important and should never be ignored or slacked on for a guy, but it's also important to make room for people if you want to have relationships. You can't sort of commit to a person and then hope that they stick around for you to figure out how to improve your life balance, you need to have the room for them from the beginning so that they don't feel like they're competing with other aspects of your life. You shouldn't feel pressure from a relationship on other areas of your life, but your job shouldn't be squeezing the rest of your life out either.
1 You Can't Be Present
Some studies have found that not only are people more distracted when they're with their phones, but they're also more distracted when it's nearby but not being used while they're trying to engage in other tasks. Knowing that your phone is in the car with you while you sit in traffic can actually make the experience of sitting in traffic seem more miserable, because of the more extreme comparison you're making between how much more fun it should be. This also extends to relationships as similar studies have found that people don't engage as deeply romantically when their phones are around. When couples have meaningful conversations but there are phones in sight, it actually reduces the quality of the experience and makes it harder for them to trust their partners and think the conversation went where it needed to go. Having your phone out while you're with your boyfriend can make you seem less empathetic to his needs. And putting a phone away is pretty much the easiest way to fix something. So why not try that?