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Phones at the Dinner Table




While out to dinner recently we had a misunderstanding near the end of the meal.  I (Mel) was looking up information on my phone and showing it to Mark.  He was clearly disinterested, and I felt puzzled.

I (Mark) see technology as a good tool to use – just not a tool to build our relationship.  It bothers me when I see a couple out for dinner, both on their phones and not saying a word to each other.  I see this as a missed opportunity to discuss, joke, and get to know one another more fully.  So, when Mel started looking at her phone during our meal, I felt annoyed and I wanted no part of it.
 
While eating at the Italian restaurant, I (Mel) started to compare our food to a previous delicious dining experience in Venice.  Our daughter and I had been gifted a trip to Italy, and Mark wasn’t able to join us.  I decided to try to find the restaurant online for Mark’s and my upcoming trip to Italy this October.  Trying to show Mark my phone’s screen as I searched, I couldn’t figure out why he wouldn’t look at it.  I felt hurt and confused.

The tension between us was palpable as we grew silent and looked in opposite directions.
While we didn’t resolve our disagreement at the restaurant, we did talk afterwards in private.  We shared what we were thinking and feeling during this incident, I (Mel) realized that I hadn’t fully voiced my motivation for being on my phone.  I (Mark) realized I hadn’t expressed my desire for a tech-free meal.  No surprise, we couldn’t read each other’s mind and should have communicated better!

We also discussed our viewpoints on cell phone usage at meal times.  In general, we agree we are “old-fashioned” in a few ways and really do prefer tech-free meals full of good conversation.  We agreed that while at restaurants, we’ll be open to an occasional sharing of something interesting one of us found online, an informational text from our kids, or a funny meme – as long as it stimulates our relationship. 

Click HERE to see some questions that prompted further discussion; maybe they’d be helpful to you, too.

This is an excellent link with great tips on using technology to build relationships – read all the way to the end!  Link to Using Communication Technology to Improve Relationships

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