Hanging out used to be more fun, and you're not imagining that. New research has pinpointed why, and proposed the perfect fix. You're probably not going to like it, until you really, really do.
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Psychologists at the University of British Columbia tracked more than 300 participants' cell phone use during an evening get-together. Those who kept their phones out during the meal and conversation reported feeling more distracted and more bored, as well as a noticeable decrease in how much they enjoyed the evening. A further 100 participants answered questions five times a day for a week, tracking their mood and their mobile device usage in the past 15 minutes. They reported less enjoyment of in-person interactions too.
"It will probably not ruin your social life if you use your phone occasionally at dinner," said co-author Ryan Dwyer in a press release, "but frequent phone use during such social interactions might chip away at your well-being over time."
Multitasking is supposed to be how we all roll these days, but honestly, that's always been for the birds (literally). If you're spending time and money to connect with other people, the UBC researchers recommend focusing on the ones right in front of you, rather than those mediated by a device. Think about getting into a flow state — that's the best way to experience your friends, family, and loved ones. Putting your phone away gives you the most bang for your buck, metaphorically and literally.