In an interview on Fresh Air last week, Sherry Turkle, author of the new book Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less from Each Other, discussed people’s emotional dependence on digital devices. Her theory is that people are not making the important emotional connections with people that they need, meaning that it is possible to be in constant digital communication and yet still feel very much alone. One piece of advice she shared was for families who want to set a tone of togetherness: she suggested placing a basket near where you eat, and making everyone turn off their phone and place it in the basket during all meals — breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
We think that advice works just as well for couples who probably check their iPhones or Blackberries way more than they realize during their time together. Sure, you probably turn off the ringer when you’re in a restaurant, but what about when you’re just hanging out eating cereal together? Do you really need to know who’s texting you right that minute? Are you sure it can’t wait five minutes? It’s easy to treat more casual meals more casually — but we think it’s worth the effort to actually force yourselves to converse. So when you microwave that frozen pizza for dinner tonight, turn off your phone and act like you’re in a candlelit restaurant (at least as far as your personal communication devices are concerned). We’re pretty sure your relationship — and your love life — will be the better for it.
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