Smartphone Etiquette: Why There’s More To Just Looking Smart On Your First Date


There’s a lull in the restaurant as couples everywhere sit in a relaxed and romantic manner, wearing their best attire while gazing lovingly into each other’s…smartphones. From catching up on Facebook to scouring the latest football results on the web, we’re all guilty of putting our smartphone first – but while it may seem like a harmless hobby in the short term, can in fact have a seriously negative outcome in the long run.

How much time do you spend with your face lit up by your smartphone’s screen? A study last year noted that the average smartphone user occupies themselves with their trusted mobile for 119 minutes a day, compared to spending just 97 minutes – a third less – with our significant other. While this may not seem like a huge difference, that’s more than five-and-a-half days extra spent on your phone than with your significant other every year. So how do we stop living in virtual reality and reconnect with the people who matter in the real world?

Beauty is in the eye of the mobile phone holder

Have you ever been on a date, only to be met by somebody half preoccupied with their mobiles? Not only is this distracting, it also comes across as being extremely rude. Anyone can check their phone at any other time, while the whole point of going on a date is to enjoy ‘quality time’. Just as the saying goes, make them feel like they’re the only person in the room – not the only person and smartphone in the room.

Eye contact is one of the key elements when flirting, and that’s hard to do when the person you’re trying to catch the attention of is has their eyes trained on their mobile phone. Top psychology experts carried out a study in 1989, and found that eye contact could make a person fall in love with you – so switch your attention to the windows of the soul, and not your Windows phone.

And we’re not just talking about a quick flutter of the eyelashes – we’re talking about prolonged eye contact. Start off with the occasional casual stare, then repeat it – so the person on the receiving end of your flirty glimpses knows it’s no coincidence that they’re looking in your general direction. After all, if you focus all your attention whilst staring downwards on your mobile, you could be missing out on what’s been in front of you this whole time!

Real-time versus real life

The growing phenomenon of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) means we’re more connected than ever – attached to our social networking profiles on a near enough 24/7 basis in case we’re out of the loop of the latest goings-on. Due to the non-stop conversations on Twitter and the ever-changing news feeds on Facebook, this idea of always having to feel constantly connected results in us forgetting the pleasure of a real person’s company.

Being virtually ‘connected’ can actually disconnect us from the people right in front of us. What’s going on over on your social networking profile can wait, but having some downtime with a special someone cannot.

Once, twice – three times just about makes you a lady

Lastly, if you do feel the need to whip your phone out, etiquette says you should only check your phone a maximum of three times (if you absolutely must). Set your phone to a subtle vibrate mode, and only answer if there’s an emergency (and no, that doesn’t count leaving the date early).

While it may be tempting to take photos and post tweets during the course of the date, don’t hide behind your phone – we’re often guilty of using our smartphone as a guard, using it as our own personal sanctuary should an awkward silence occur. But that’s what dating is all about; letting your guard down. So if you’re ever going to make a relationship work, make sure the only thing you let down is your guard – and not your date.

But perhaps the best advice you can take from this is to avoid taking your phone out altogether – as the only thing you should be taking out is your date. So the next time you’re out, perhaps the biggest statement you can make is to turn your phone off altogether; that way you can really show the other person just how interested you are. After all, turning your phone off is the best turn on for any date!


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