BreakingModern — Technology seems to have taken over every aspect of our lives, leading us to feel as though we must stay connected 24 hours a day. On holidays like Valentine’s Day, we’re reminded just how addicted we are to our electronics as we try to resist the urge to check our phones every five minutes. To ensure you have the best Valentine’s Day evening possible, it’s important to realize just how pervasive technology has become in our daily lives.
“There are only four times it’s permissible to pull out your phone on a date or when spending some alone time with that special someone,” says Jacqueline Whitmore, founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach. “That is in the event of an extreme emergency over a matter that absolutely can’t wait, to take a picture with your date, to show your date pictures of a family baby or pet and to find the answer to a perplexing trivia question that comes up in conversation.”
Whitmore also happens to be the founder of National Cell Phone Courtesy Month, which is held each July. On an important night out, she suggests asking permission before checking your phone, while also providing a clear reason as to why you need to check it. Whether you’re spending the evening at home with family or taking a date to a fancy restaurant, there are some things you can do to ensure your evening goes as smoothly as possible.
Give Your Devices the Evening Off
Unless you’re on call for work or at risk of a family member having a medical emergency, there’s no harm in turning your phone off for the evening. If you must leave it on, strike an agreement with everyone involved that you’ll silence your phones at least during dinner. Be aware that when you choose to check your phone, you’re sending a clear message that something is more important than the people you’re spending time with. Setting your devices aside shows that you put the person in front of you first.
If an important phone call comes through, excuse yourself to take it. Do not sit at the dinner table while talking on the phone. If you feel compelled to check text messages every 15 minutes, excuse yourself to go to the restroom halfway through dinner and check messages then. While this isn’t ideal, it’s better than blatantly checking messages in front of your date.
The habit of snubbing someone in favor of your smartphone is so prevalent, there’s a name for it: “phubbing.” If you find yourself seated across from someone who is actively engaged in phubbing, resist the urge to pull out your own phone and text away. Instead, draw the person back into the conversation. If that doesn’t work, simply ask the person to please put away the phone so you can have an enjoyable evening. If the other person isn’t embarrassed at realizing how rude he or she is being, you may want to consider a different dinner companion for next Valentine’s Day.
Technology has both improved and complicated our lives. On Valentine’s Day, curtailing your cell phone use is one of the best gifts you can give the person you love. You put so much time and effort into creating the perfect evening, why ruin it with rude behavior?
For BMod, I’m Stephanie Faris.
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