Is Your Cellphone Getting in the Way of Your Personal Relationships?

Oct 4, 2012 15:31:37Posted by John Skorick, MyAKA Founder & CEO

Is Your Cellphone Getting in the Way of Your Personal Relationships?

Have you heard of nomophobia? It's a term that describes the fear of being without your cellphone. It might sound silly, but it's something that many people feel anxious about. If you find it difficult to power down your phone, or obsessively look for missed calls or texts, then you may be a nomophobe, according to The Daily Mail.

It's not hard to understand why some people may feel worried that they've left their cellular device at home.These days, phones are much more than a means of verbal communication - they are lifelines that help us navigate, keep busy, and stay connected to the world around us.

But for some people, the connection to a cellphone may be getting in the way of their personal relationships with others. Recent research published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships suggests that even having a cellphone present during an in-person conversation can make the experience feel less intimate, according to NBC's Today Show.

Researchers recruited pairs of college-aged individuals who had not met previously and had them chat for 10 minutes. Some of the groups had a cellphone sitting nearby as they spoke with one another, and others did not. Those who had a mobile device present during the conversation rated their experience as less intimate compared to those who were cellphone-free during the chat.

A second study showed similar results. Researchers gathered two groups of 18 pairs, asking members of one group to have casual dialogue and the others to discuss more meaningful matters. For both groups, half of the pairs had a cellphone on hand during the chat. Once again, those who didn't have a cellphone nearby reported that they felt higher levels of trust and empathy with their partner. The results were more pronounced for the pairs who were asked to have meaningful conversations.

It may sound difficult, but this study suggests that breaking your dependence on your cellphone could help you develop stronger relationships. This is why many professionals choose to have two lines for their device - one to share with co-workers and clients, and second phone number that's just for family and friends. This helps them relax when they're out of the office, since work phone calls can be blocked after hours.

Leaving your phone at home when you plan on being out and about can also help protect your mobile security. If you're cell is safely at your residence, you won't run the risk of it being stolen or compromised while you're in public.