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5 top tips for good phone etiquette on a date

It seems that most people these days are already in a committed, loving relationship… with their phone. Who can live without it? It’s the go-to form of communication, office, relaxation station, camera, social life – everything. It can be easy to feel empty without it, if we ever allowed that to happen – wherever we go, our phones go too. It’s addictive and can suck us into an insular world. Of course, there are many pros to having a phone. It can make communication and dating much easier for a start! So, what are the things to consider when dating in the smartphone age? What does good phone etiquette look like?

When I was dating my now-husband, we wouldn’t have been able to communicate at all during our courtship without our phones, as I was away on tour the majority of the time. Our phones enabled us to continue our relationship through constant communication. But it’s important to have a healthy balance with our devices for our own wellbeing, and good phone etiquette when interacting with others. Here are some suggestions for good phone etiquette.

Clear Communication ahead of a date

If you have exchanged numbers prior to meeting, it is useful to be able to communicate should you run late, get lost, miss a train, get stuck in traffic or – more positively – if you’ve arrived first and saved a seat. This is polite, good conduct and also very helpful to keeping the mood friendly.

If you’ve never met before, it’s useful to say exactly where you are or what you’re wearing by sending a text or message. Sometimes people don’t look exactly like their picture! Should you run late, keeping the communication clear brings reassurance that you’re not in fact standing your date up!

5 top tips for good phone etiquette on a date - Christian Connection dating adviceGood phone etiquette when you’re together

As a general rule: put it away! Unless there is a pressing issue you need to have your phone nearby for – maybe a possible work or family emergency that you’ve already let your date know about – put your phone away. You don’t want to be distracted by pings and notifications any more than you’d want them to be. You want to be able to focus on your date, to prioritise them, to truly listen and give them your full attention. Put your phone on silent if possible and remove it from your eyeline. The moment you start scrolling, the less valued and heard your date will feel.

Sharing – not oversharing

Carefully consider what you share about a date with your phone contacts and on social media, particularly photos and videos. If a date didn’t go as well as you’d hoped, it wouldn’t be kind to tell all your followers on social media. Likewise if things go really well on the first date, you don’t want to get ahead of yourself and start sharing pictures of the two of you publicly, unless you are both willing for assumptions to be made that you may be dating.

Just as it’s not wise to share too much of your own personal information with your date, pause before you share personal information about your date that they wouldn’t be happy with, especially any private information that they have revealed. For obvious reasons, sharing photos and videos with your date in compromising situations is not wise – you don’t know each other well and you don’t know where these photos and videos will end up or who will see them. Being respectful bodes well.

5 top tips for good phone etiquette on a date - Christian Connection dating adviceBuilding trust

If your dating relationship develops, consider what might be on your phone that you wouldn’t want your partner to see, and why it’s there. If you are hiding something on your phone – photos, messages, online activity – it leads to a lack of trust between you. If you are messaging other people (even if you’re in touch innocently but that crosses an agreed boundary between the two of you) and you’re not happy for your partner to see or know about this, then ask yourself why, and stop.

It can be very easy to slip into bad habits with the phone when it’s always nearby. When in a relationship, you should be able to hand over your phone in good faith and not worry about what your partner might see. That doesn’t mean that you should snoop and pry into your partner’s phone or they into yours, as that is an invasion of privacy. However, if asked for, there should be no reason on that phone to be as open and honest as possible. Nothing there should reveal anything that you don’t already know.

Safety first

On a first date, it is a good idea to let someone you trust know where you are, who you are meeting and have an exit planned if it is not going well. You can also share your location with a friend if you are feeling really unsure.

It’s sometimes useful to have had a phone call with the potential date prior to meeting as well – you can tell a lot more about a person by how they talk on a phone, the sound of their voice and how chatty they are, rather than just text talk, which can be second guessed at every stage.

When meeting someone new, don’t hand over your phone to them. Our phones contain lots of private and personal information, and no matter how much we want to bond with someone, keep your own security in mind and concentrate on connecting through conversation.

Whatever your relationship with your phone, it’s an important reminder to look up every so often, (and not just down at your phone), look at the view, (and not just through a camera screen), meet up with a friend (and not just text), take time out to focus on the people around you (and not just care what other people think of you who are sometimes strangers), focus on the lives of those who love you (rather than the lives of influencers who you don’t know), and to be totally present.

If we could look up and seek Jesus every time we find ourselves wasting time on our phones, how much more would our characters be more godly because of the extra time spent with Him?


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