Checking your phone at dinner? You’re paying my bill.

How often do you check your phone when you are out with people?  Over the past few months, I’ve found myself in many situations where most, if not all, of the people I am with are on their phones at the same time.  At first I thought it was funny, like Ah ha, look at how silly we look!, but I’m now noticing that what used to be a quick Foursquare check-in, or a fast Facebook update is taking much longer.  We’re not just writing status updates anymore, our social inetiquette has evolved into checking and responding to tweets, looking at pictures, sending BBM messages and maintaining whole conversations all in the presence of real people who are meeting with us for the purpose of doing these exact things, but in person.
Cell Phones at Dinner

I won’t go into a rant about this, although could go on and on about all the concerns I have with it.  Instead I will propose a solution.  I was very intrigued to hear about a little game called the Phone Stack while having coffee with a few friends on Sunday…we decided to try it out.

The Concept: Everyone stacks their phones in the middle of the table.  The goal is to keep all phones in the middle of the table, without being touched for the duration of the meeting (in our case, coffee).  The first person to reach for their phone foots the entire bill. 

I think it’s brilliant.  We lasted just over an hour with our phones stacked up, staring us in the faces, alarms and notifications going off, and not touching any of them.  This little exercise made me realize just how many times I actually do reach for my phone when I’m in social situations.  There were at least two times that I felt the urge to quickly check my Twitter or my email, but with the price tag of the entire bill, I was able to hold back.  I have to congratulate our group – we managed to get through the entire date without succumbing to the temptation.  At the end we mutually decided when to “break” and ended up paying our own bills.

I realize that some situations will warrant this kind of activity more than others, but I challenge you to try it yourself!  Just for fun, see if you can go an entire meal with a friend without checking your phone. If you are not a regular Tweeter, Blogger or FourSquare-er, you might not see this as a challenge…but if you are anything like me, you’ll realize just how attached to your phone you really are.

Let me know how it goes!!!


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