We live in a world of relentless connectivity in which mobile phones are widely accepted as an extension of ourselves. They’re responsible for that unmistakable wave of panic that creeps into you after realizing you’ve left it somewhere, holding hundreds of private photos from your last holiday, your important work emails, your grocery lists, your secrets. Our cellphones have become staples in waiting rooms everywhere, grocery store lineups, airplanes, even bathrooms. If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to text you about it, it doesn’t really matter then, does it?
I totally get that for safety purposes, especially while dating, bringing your cellphone along is pretty much a necessity. You may need to check-in with your kids at some point, or maybe you’re preparing for a more elaborate scenario – it really doesn’t matter. Everyone has an opinion on what should be considered appropriate cellphone use, but all that really matters is HOW, WHY and WHEN your phone comes into play on date night, so below are 5 ways to ensure your cellphone is not making you a jerk on a date:
1. KEEP IT TUCKED AWAY - I have this weird habit I’m trying to break where I place my phone face down in front of me on the table when I’m out with friends at a restaurant. This is pretty common practice among young people, because it makes us feel closer to the action. If you don’t check Facebook and someone HAPPENS TO GET ENGAGED, you may not be the first person to comment on the photo of the ring, but I promise you’ll be fine. A few weeks ago I was on the receiving end of this while out for cocktails with a girlfriend, and it sort of seemed threatening, or ominous – like she’d called me to a secret meeting, or was waiting for a signal from someone. Save your date the anxiety and keep your phone in your purse or pocket to be polite.
2. KEEP IT ON VIBRATE/SILENT - Even if your phone is tucked away, when it keeps quacking, barking, or playing that INCESSANT ice cream truck jingle, it’s even more annoying. Unless you are expecting a super important call, (in which case, why are you even on a date right now?) Do yourself, your date, and the entire restaurant a favor by silencing your calls, texts, emails, and Tinder notifications.
3. EXCUSE YOURSELF TO CHECK IT - Maybe you need to tell a girlfriend about how wonderful your date is, and you can’t contain yourself until later in the night, or have immediately realized you need to call your mother to remind her to PVR Breaking Bad. A bathroom break is a perfect opportunity for this, as long as you keep it quick. Whatever you do, avoid pulling out your phone and checking it every 5 minutes because it will make the other person feel like they aren’t worth your time or attention. No cheating on #1!
4. EXPLAIN YOURSELF IF YOU ANSWER A CALL/TEXT - Maybe you’ve established a check-in time with the babysitter or something, or you’re expecting an important call or text that can’t be ignored. Before this time comes, explain the situation to your date, noting that you’ll have to step away briefly to address something. They will understand as long as you’re not suddenly putting a hand in front of their face in mid conversation as you loudly answer a call at the table.
5. PARTAKE IN PRE-DATE DUE DILIGENCE - There’s always a chance that at some point over the course of the night your date will catch a glimpse of your phone. Make sure that you have a PG background photo, not something questionable like you and an ex on spring break in Cabo last year. If you have an iPhone, set your text messages to alert you of new messages, but not so it previews the first few sentences on your home screen. He doesn’t need to know what your crazy boss, friends, or mother have to say…YET.