Nov 2014
Josie Bungert

iLove you, iHate you, iAm replacing you: The sick relationship you have with your phone

It would be obvious to say that anyone with a smartphone is attached to their phone. Yet, I say it here as preface for what I’m about to throw at you.

You are in a committed, real, defining relationship with your phone.

I hope this doesn’t surprise you, but if it does, I’m sorry, but it’s true.

When you got it, when your relationship began, your phone was the most precious thing you’ve ever owned. You got to know it, customizing it to your liking with wallpaper and ringtones. You cared for it. You touched its interactive screen constantly just to make sure it was still kicking. You bought it accessories. You protected it with pricey protection plans, and bought it screen protectors and Otterboxes. You would scream when people would take it from you, and warn them that if they dropped it they owed you a new one.

Your relationship starts aging and, it gets to know you, too. You tell it about your best friends when you plug contacts in as your favorites, you spend hours video chatting. You record your workouts with it every day and tell it what you ate today. It knows the current state of your bank account, your favorite and most recent GPS destinations, your birthday, and your weight. It may even know more than your real life significant other, or more than you would think to tell one someday.

And then you get really intimate with it. Not in a creepy, Her sense, but let’s be real, you bring it in the bathroom with you. You lie to your friends when you say you don’t use it on the toilet. You bring it in the restroom when you’re going to shower, sending one last text before you part ways for 12 minutes and immediately picking it back up when you’re finished. You bring it into bed with you. What could be more intimate than sharing a pillow and communicating with an object until you fall asleep, and greeting it with morning breath at the start of each new day?

You hate it when it’s broken or not working, just like real life relationships. Sometimes you take it to the store and pay big bucks to revive it, but if it’s past that point, you wait for its inevitable natural death. You stop using phone cases. If the screen is shattered you purposely throw it on the floor, off of balconies, to see if it can get more damaged, to see if you can break it enough to just give up on it entirely and get a brand new one. Your phone goes from being your prized possession to being stupid and annoying, and you can’t wait to be rid of it.

When the time comes to bid it farewell, its absence is either met with sadness because you cannot immediately replace it, or feelings of “good riddance” if your new one is already in the mail before you’ve even turned off the screen. Whenever the time comes, you get a new one, a better one, one that cannot even be placed on the same scale as your former, first or previous, love.

The cycle starts over. And repeats in full, for, in this ever-advancing technological world, eternity.

It may be humorous to think of your cell phone in this way, but the reality is, it’s unhealthy. Cell phones are meant to connect us to the world, to the people who love us most, and to people we have yet to meet. At our fingertips is a telephone, a texting app or two, a thousand social media avenues, a camera to capture our most exciting moments, and a bunch of ways to email anyone, anywhere, anytime.

I suppose that’s how these phone relationships happen. In order to grow in our real life connections by using this piece of technology we must utilize it. And we do, every second of the day. But the thing is we don’t utilize it in the way it should be utilized – instead we make the phone the love and the people it connects us with the outcome of that love. This is such a common lifestyle for those of us with smart phones that we don’t think about how it affects our real life anymore. The way you treat your cell phone could inevitably lead to how you treat your relationships. We are so willing to give up when things aren’t working, so willing to throw it away and get a new one, that this process has become second nature to us.

So, instead of continuing the ever-budding relationship with your cell phone, I urge you to two be “just friends.” If you don’t, you may take the way you treat this device and bring it into the real world. Decrease the time you spend browsing through it and increase the time with real people. Don’t take it into the bathroom with you. Put it on your nightstand at night. If you must, apologize to it for ending your romantic relationship. You’ll both be better off.