Just The Two of Us (And A Smartphone)

The balmy air sways the towering palm trees as the orange sun sets over the calm Gulf. A refreshing margarita on the rocks with salted rim in hand, you gaze lovingly and expectantly to your partner to share this glorious moment together. But alas, no eye contact with your lover because they have their eyes glued to the latest information pumped through the iPhone being lovingly stroked instead of you.

As the number of smartphone users rises, so does the level of anxiety and friction around using them. Downsizing and economic realities have left workers with a real fear of what might happen if they are out of touch too long. Will the client go elsewhere? Will the boss find a new protege? The fear has turned into a compulsion that has workers tethered to their mobile phones – even when they’re supposed to be off the clock.

But for the spouse, partner, friend, or travel companion of a smartphone addict, the fear can ruin a vacation, a night out or, worse, a relationship.

While smartphone addiction has been difficult to track, in a survey by mobile-services provider iPass, 91 percent of mobile users said they use their free time, both day and night, to check their smartphones. Among those, almost 30 percent check their smartphones three to five times an hour, and 20 percent check them five to 10 times an hour.

Travel companions say the problem often comes to a head on vacation or during leisure activity when the goal is to reconnect and their partner sends the message that business is a priority. Companions say they find themselves torn between bringing the smartphone user into the present and being a killjoy.

The solution? Set up parameters you can both live with. Do this BEFORE venturing forth on a vacation, staycation, or even just out to dinner. If you wait until you are “in the moment”, you could be perceived as hostile, jealous, or a NAG.

“If you’ve dedicated time to vacation or a lunch, you should commit to that time. If you have to take a call or check for a certain email, apologize up front and only take that call.

Our addiction to checking our wireless gadgets while in the company of others has become a habit. Some people don’t even realize they are doing it.

Every person needs some downtime and to be able to disconnect from their electronic devices, if only for a little while. Even if you are a business owner or high level executive, you still need down time once in awhile to decompress and refresh. Consider it a reboot of your own.



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