"No Phones On The Table" - The Rule of Unplugging Yourself

On Sunday, Daniel and I met with some friends for dinner at one of my favorite restaurants here in Bogota. We hadn't seen our friends for a couple of weeks (life happens), so our evening was filled with interesting conversations and heartfelt laughter (and great Thai food!).

If you ever go out with me and my husband, you have to be aware of one rule we have: No phones on the table. 

This is something we have implemented in our home a while ago after realizing that we are not enjoying home-cooked meals together, but with our phones. Soon after, we started doing the same when going out for dinner and drinks. Yeah, no phones allowed on our table. No texting, no google, and especially no social media. 

I dare you to try this the next time you and your partner have a meal together (at home or at a restaurant). I bet you didn't realize how hard this would be! To go an entire meal (plus drinks) without funny memes/videos on Facebook, without replying to a group conversation on Whatsapp, or without asking Google for help when you can't remember the name of the movie you are talking about (or actor, band, song, place...).

It was hard for us at first too - and it was even harder for our friends to understand why we prefer that nobody uses their phone when going out for dinner (of course there are exceptions like important phone calls or emergencies). I mean, let's think about it. You are meeting up with some friends you haven't seen in a while and instead of really enjoying their presence and the conversations you could be having you are completely distracted by your cell phone. At what point wasn't it enough for us anymore to give (and receive) full attention from the person in front of us? When did we start thinking that we would miss out on something if we don't check our phone every 5 minutes?

Because of this, I mostly turn my phone to silence (or even completely off) when I meet friends or go to dinner with my husband. I don't expect everybody to do this, but I usually kindly ask close friends and family to stay of their phone while we are sitting on our table. Most people have actually reacted very positive to our "rule", admitting that they spend too much time checking on friends on social media while spending time with a friend in person. 

As for me, I enjoy talking to my husband (or friends) without any distractions. If you free yourself from your cell phone, you might just have the most interesting and incredible conversations with the person in front of you! You will learn so much more about them and about what's truly going on in their life - not just what they share on social media. 

So the next time you go out try it! Put your phone away, switch it to silent, and fully enjoy the person you are with at this particular moment.

Oh, and by the way: When we went out for dinner on Sunday, we noticed a couple that was sitting close to us - both simultaneously being on their cell phones for over half of their meal, not really noticing each other. Do yourself (and your partner) a favor and don't be this couple. 

Photo sources: 1 // 2

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