Is Your Cell Phone Destroying Your Relationships?!

cell phone relationships

These ladies would be smiling even more if they’d put their cell phones away. | Source: Shutterstock


Cell phones make it easier to stay connected to everyone you know whenever you want–so it’s an awesome tool for making and maintaining friendships and relationships, right?

Well, maybe not. A new study says that just being in the presence of a cell phone can actually hinder your interactions with people around you–whether you’re even using the phone or not. No, seriously. It turns out that being too connected to everyone makes us, well, less connected to people closest to us.

Research was done to prove this theory: Scientists got a bunch of volunteers and put two strangers at a time in a room together. The volunteers left their stuff (including their phones) in a waiting area, then sat together in a booth. Not far from the booth–but slightly out of their direct vision–was a desk. For some of the strangers, the desk had a notebook on it, for others, the desk had a cell phone on it. The pairs were asked to chat about an incident in their own lives that had happened recently, then were asked to report how the chat went: They had to rate it in terms of relationship quality and closeness that they’d felt.

Guess what went down? The pairs in the presence of a cell phone–again, that no one even checked–rated their relationship quality and closeness as lower than those who talked near a notepad.

Just in case this was a fluke–after all, people are all different, and not everyone’s a great conversationalist–the researchers did another experiment to see if the context of a conversation had any bearing on the cell phone’s effect on closeness. The scientists gave their volunteers casual topics (plastic trees–dude, really?) and more serious ones (important events in the last year) to chat about. The cell phone’s presence wound up not really affecting the responses of the volunteers who chit chatted about plastic trees, but as for the more serious talkers? It hindered their feelings of closeness and relationship quality quite a bit.

The end conclusion that researchers got? Interacting in a small, intimate environment with others who aren’t on the phone (or checking their FB mobile app, tweeting, or getting Google Alerts about Harry Styles) harbors much more warmth, closeness, and quality time than doing the same with mobile access.

It appears that being connected to the entire planet makes us lose grasp of the connections that are literally right in front of us. Keep that in mind next time you’re tempted to text during a family party, on a date, or hanging with your BFF: If you’re doing it because you’re bored, you’re probably part of the problem! Plus, dude–it’s sorta rude, isn’t it?

Do you think cell phones help or hurt your social life? Have any of your relationships been negatively affected by being on your cell phone? Have you ever gotten into a tiff with someone you’re close with over him or her using his or her cell phone too much–or vice versa? Tell us in the comments!

Uh oh –can you cell phone make you sick?

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3 Comments

  1. avatarmona says:

    yes,modern technology affects our life..because we that much busy in the cell phones..so that we cannot give time to them..and also..due to many relationships the important relationships go away from us..

  2. avatarTJH says:

    It is mind bending when I can share the most intimate times with my spouse, but she spends more intimate time with the cell phone and computer. She sleeps with the cell phone in her hand. She says I am the best thing to ever happen to her but yet I can’t look at her cell phone or have access to her computer. WTF.

  3. avatarSamsung Galaxy Ace Review says:

    For modern technology we can now able to build up many relations. It has also a bad effect to us. It has also put up some bad effect to our original relation. So we should be aware from this.

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