Put the Phone Down: How Social Media Is Ruining Couples Communication
As our generation flourishes in the digital age, our eyes are constantly glued to LED screens in search of social media’s latest anything and everything. It is no surprise communication in relationships has taken quite a downfall as a result.
You will always hear three things as key to a healthy, thriving relationship: Trust, commitment and communication.
Without these three present, the chances of your relationship’s survival is dim. But, the precursor to trust and commitment is a strong lock on communication.
Think about it: How can you, aside from actions, convey to your partner that you are fully committed and love him or her?
If we cannot express ourselves effectively through verbal and nonverbal means – and I don’t mean expressing them at the level of a Pablo Neruda love sonnet (though attempts are always welcome!) – then all hope could well be lost.
And do you want to know one, clear way you’re sending the wrong message to your S/O? By continuously gluing your peepers to your lit-up phone screen every time someone comments or ‘likes’ the selfie you posted an hour prior to date night with the aforementioned S/O.
Sure, he is probably laughing from the deets you just shared with him about a friend’s TMI rant on Facebook, but I’m willing to bet that he’d be far more into you if your laughter came from the corny joke he just finished telling that you had forgotten to listen to.
Sure, you can tell yourself that you only check your phone for max 30 seconds whenever you do – because the tweets, likes, and comments cannot wait.
But, keep in mind every single time you check your phone, you’re nonverbally communicating that whatever is going on on social media is more important than paying attention to him or listening to whatever he has said, was saying, or will say.
And maybe he’ll feel he should do the same.
This goes both ways, fellas. Keeping score of the game, or refreshing your bookmarked sports news pages to read the latest story about it isn’t going to get you where you want to be with your lady that night, or ever.
The score isn’t going to change once it’s over, and you’ll have even more stories to read the next morning. Your bros’ Facebook and Twitter updates are going to keep you in the loop anyway, so relax and make the night about the two of you.
A game update or a ‘like’ on a selfie is not going to keep you warm at night, it’s not going to support you when times are tough, and it’s certainly not going to love you back.
No, a selfie ‘like’ or re-tweet is not love. It’s just not. Please let that go.
So, put the phone down.
Connect with your S/O. There will be plenty of times for you both to laugh over something you read or saw on your phone, but for the sake of your communication with one another, don’t let social media be a crutch for you to both find things to talk about.
You’d be surprised how much more you could enjoy from each other’s company if your eyes were locked on one another.
Even a walk to the neighborhood park, dinner-and-a-movie date, or a stroll along the shoreline could be made more meaningful if you found ways to engage: Point out something comical going on in the background, play silly games like “I Spy,” ask open-ended questions to see how they think – such as, “If you could be a character in this movie, who would it be and why?”
The point is, connect.
Talk. Make eye contact. Be aware of your partner, and actively listen to what he or she has to say about his or her day, job, family, friends, etc.
I promise you, whatever Instagram has to show you will not disappear if you don’t refresh your feed every 15 minutes. Rain or shine, it will be there.
But you know what won’t? The moments you’re spending right now with that special person you love.
Don’t let the digital age take away from your current relationship, no matter what stage it is in right now. If it’s the beginning, then even more reason to engage and connect on personal levels, and get each other talking! If you have years together, then even more reason to keep communicating because your bond has withstood the weathering effects of time, habit, and routines.
Keep relationships fresh and engaging, and set limits on phone use when in the other’s company. Many couples implement “no phone” zones or television in the bedroom.