We've all been there: you're hanging out with your friends, and a quiet moment sneaks its way into the fun, as it always does. Before you know it, everyone's on their phones and completely ignoring each other. It's like phone addiction has gotten in the way of why you're all together in the first place.
It's okay every now and then, but sometimes, it gets a little too much. During those moments, you kind of wish you could just tell everyone to get off their phones…
…But that wouldn't be polite. Like it or not, phones are an essential part of our everyday lives, so we can't really ask our friends not to have them.
So how do you get your friends off their phones when you're hanging out? It's all about learning to change up your phone habits. Here are a few easy ways to pull that off:
Don't Start It
Whenever someone picks up their phone in the middle of a conversation, they're low-key telling the others that it's okay to tune out. Everyone else follows suit, and soon enough, you've got a room full of silent people hooked on their phones. Having the discipline not to scroll through Facebook every now and then could go a long way towards keeping your friends focused on being present.
Kill Your Data
Sometimes, though, you just can't resist checking those notifications. Internet addiction is a real thing, and for some people, the only way to deal with it is to avoid it entirely. The next time you're out with your friends, try turning off your data connection and Wi-Fi. After all, you can't get distracted by messages if they're not coming in.
Declare a No-Phone Zone
If you and your friends are hanging out at someone's home, you can delegate areas like the living room as No-Phone Zones, where everyone has to leave their phones in a drawer or basket before entering. If they want to check their phones, they'll have to move to another area of the house to use them. This works because people are lazier than you think, and checking for Instagram likes just isn't worth the effort of getting up from a comfy seat.
Leave It at Home
Phone addiction can be a powerful thing; sometimes, too powerful. One way around it is to plan outings where you all agree to leave your phones at home. Completely disconnecting from the rest of the world not only allows you and your friends to be more present with each other, but it's also really refreshing every now and then.
Do Some Smartphone Spring Cleaning
Of course, your phone addiction could simply be a matter of too many notifications coming in. If your phone is constantly calling for your attention, you could hush it down by cleaning things up. Turn off notifications that pop up all too often. Unfollow Twitter accounts and Facebook pages you're not interested in anymore. Delete a game or two. When you simplify what's on your phone, it's easier to avoid getting hooked.
– Marco Sumayao