Cellphones – Relationship Killers?

cell phones - relationship killers? New University of Essex research

These days cell phones are so ubiquitous, to be phoneless can feel like losing a limb. New findings however show the mere presence of a cellphone affects your relationships.

Cellphones – Relationship Killers?

Phones today—smart phones in particular—have become so multifunctional they’ve integrated themselves with almost all aspects of all our lives, and for many have become an indispensable lifeline to the world at large.

And while you might expect a technology that allows communication and socialisation anywhere would be a boon to interpersonal relationships, new research from the University of Essex suggests just the opposite.

In fact, it seems even the mere presence of a phone, totally unused, can harm our ability to connect socially.

Mere Presence of Cellphone Can Harm Intimacy

The novel experiment involved getting pairs of strangers to hold discussions in private booths around moderately intimate topics for ten minutes. As they did so, within their booth two items were placed on the desk beside them. Afterwards they filled in questionnaires rating perceived relationship quality (connectedness) and perception of closeness.

In interactions where one of the desk items was a cell phone, the pairs were found to report statistically significant lower average scores on both scales.

The researchers suggested this may be because even the presence of a cell phone reminds of a wider world of people and entertainment we could potentially be connected, thus impeding our ability to connect with the people right beside us.

So next time you go out for lunch, or a date, consider sticking that cell phone not only off but also somewhere out of sight! Chances are you’ll enjoy a much more meaningful conversation, and perhaps make a better first impression too.

What Do You Think?

Can the mere presence of a cellphone really detract from your ability to socialise, have a meaningful conversation?

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