How to Deal with a Phone Obsessed Spouse
We’ve all seen them…(maybe in our own bedrooms)…people who are addicted to their phones. They can’t stop using them. They’re the last thing they touch each day and the first thing they touch each morning. Not to mention that the phone is distracting them from important conversations, meals, TV shows, movies, events, and real life in general. And that is, well, annoying!
I was lucky enough to get interviewed by The Nest on this topic thanks to my expertise on etiquette and family life. It was a really fun topic to think about and actually made me think twice about a few things that I do (and now wish I didn’t). Phones are fun. Phones help us feel connected to the world when we don’t have time to really get out there and do stuff (hello parenthood!). But, there is a line. It’s not a fine line. It’s a real line. And, we have to acknowledge it. Phones are not reality. Our kids are growing up right NOW. Waves are crashing, flowers are blooming, breezes are blowing and the magic of being alive is at your fingertips (pun not intended!) if you’d just put your stupid phone down and look out the window.
So, here are a few tips that I shared with The Nest. You can read the whole article here if you want to dive deep and set your cell phone obsessed spouse free. Actually, just text them the link…they’ll be more likely to read it than listen to what you have to say. Just kidding. Not really. You can also read my other advice on texting etiquette if you’re feeling ambitious, or just aren’t ready to put your phone down yet for the night. I’m here for you!
Rip off the bandage and take an unplugged adventure!
Leaving your phones at home, or turning off the ringers and volume complete and burying them at the bottom of a bag that you take with you. Maybe you’ll have to use a compass if you’re feeling like distracting yourself with another handheld object and go for a hike. But, most likely, you’ll go to a museum, a restaurant or simply go for a walk without looking at your phone once. That’s the goal. Start with 10 minutes if it sounds scary. Go spend a day at the beach and leave your phone at home if you’re feeling super brave. The key is to talk to each other about what you see, what you’re doing, where you’re going, and what you feel. It might sound New Agey and weird, but it’s what EVERYONE did until there were smart phones. = not weird = useful and amazing
Implement one of these “phone control” rules at a time until you’re living them all!
No phones are allowed at any table. Put it on the charger, in your bag, or anywhere awkwardly out of reach before you go to the table and leave it there until after the meal is over.
Keep phones out of the bedroom. This one is impossible for us, but I still have hope! Put it on the charger in the kitchen before going to the bedroom to get ready for bed.
Is the phone your primary way of telling time? Invest in an alarm clock instead. They’re actually kind of retro and fun to use!
If one of you is trying to speak to the other, put your phone down and pay attention to the conversation.
If you do need to interrupt a meal or a conversation because of your phone, explain yourself briefly before taking it out.
Set a limit for how long you can be on the phone at any one time while you’re spending quality time together, like 5 minutes unless it’s an emergency.