Whether you’re newly single or long-married, chances are there’s another significant other in your life you engage with even more regularly — on a daily, hourly, maybe even moment-by-moment basis: your phone! In honor of Valentine’s Day, we take a look at the many forms that relationship can take. Which one best describes yours?
In recent years, we’ve learned that a growing number of people consider their phone an extension of themselves. For others, their device is more like a best friend, perhaps even a soul mate. For the rest of us, who maybe haven’t thought about it much, our device functions as a kind of semi-sentient presence we happen to spend a vast amount of time with. We think it’s time to Define The Relationship — here are five common types.
The Codependent Partner
Consider this: nearly three out of every four Americans keep their phones within five feet of them at all times. What’s more, one study found that 46 percent of us check our phones before we even get out of bed in the morning, and 75 percent keep our phones powered up 24 hours a day. It’s no wonder, then, that many people feel a sense of separation anxiety when they are away from their phone. A classic symptom of codependency.
The Nagging Spouse
It’s time to wake up! Your conference call is coming up in 10 minutes. Time to stand up and move a little! Reminder: Pay Utility Bill. Your screen time is up 50% from last week. With the constant barrage of alarms, reminders and notifications our phones deliver each day, you’d think we’d been married to them for years! But unlike an actual nagging spouse — yes, we’re looking at you, Peter! — you can always turn notifications off or manage them to mitigate stress.
Smartphones. We hate them for ruining our lives one minute, and love them for making our lives endlessly easier the next. This love/hate relationship can serve as a source of both stress and calm, loneliness and connection. Like any relationship that pings from one extreme to the other, for this to work in the long run it’s important to remember you need a steady dose of good to balance out the bad, and even search for middle ground when possible. (That’s what “silent mode” is for, right?)
The On-Again, Off-Again
In an attempt to be more present, you’ve probably ditched your phone before, or at least tried. Maybe you lasted a full 44 days phone-free. Maybe it was a weeklong separation, a weekend away or simply a phone-free dinner out with friends. Whatever your breakup history, chances are you and your phone have gotten back together again — likely many times. Don’t feel like a failure! While it’s nearly impossible for many of us to call it quits with our phones for good, there are a few healthy steps you can take for a digital detox every so often. Plus, as they say, distance only makes the heart grow fonder!
The (Almost) True Love
Our phones are easy to fall in love with — who else answers any and every question we may have, finds us rides, orders us food, plays us music and seemingly exists to endlessly entertain us? But there can be such a thing as too much phone love, especially when it interferes with real human relationships. As much as we may love our phones, making sure they don’t take priority over the people we love means that any relationship you have with your device will be a healthier one. Remember to use that phone for its primary purpose — connecting with others.
So text your loved ones. Except your mom. As much as it pains you to place an actual call, hearing your voice will certainly make her Valentine’s Day. Oh yeah, and send flowers. You can use your phone for that, too!
Depressed about not having a date this February 14? Check out how Metro by T-Mobile Un-Sucks Valentine’s Day for Singles!