Dinner and a Show (or the Lack of): The Importance of Phone-Free Meals with Loved Ones

We’ve all been there – sitting down to dinner with family or friends, only to find that instead of engaging in meaningful conversation and laughter, we’re all staring at our screens. I am ashamed to say that we have done this many times in our house. But what if I told you that there’s another way to eat meals instead of scrolling mindlessly? Say hello to the phone-free dinner.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “But wait, what will I do with my hands? How will I document my delicious meal on Instagram? And what if there’s an emergency? Won’t I be missing out on important notifications?” Fear not, my friends, for there are plenty of other ways to keep your hands busy (like, you know, using them to eat) and there’s always the post-meal social media scroll. As for emergencies, let’s be real – how often do those actually happen?

But the real question is, why is the phone-free dinner so important?

For starters, it allows for more meaningful and engaged conversation. When our phones are present, they can be a distraction and discourage active listening and participation in the conversation. And let’s face it, there’s nothing more awkward than sitting in silence while everyone scrolls through their feeds.

But it’s not just about the conversation – it’s also about fostering stronger connections with those present. When we’re not constantly checking our phones, we’re able to be present in the moment and truly focus on the people we’re with. And isn’t that the whole point of getting together in the first place? After a long day or week, it makes me feel better and closer to B when we focus our attention on each other instead of our screens.

So, here’s your challenge: next time you sit down to dinner with family or friends, put your phones away. I learned a fun game from one of our friends when we were all out eating one night: stack your phones in the middle of the table, and the first one who removes their phone has to buy everyone a round. I loved that, and what I love about it more is that you can apply this idea when you’re out with friends, or at home with your family – just switch up the consequence. Example: when Bri and I are eating dinner at home with our daughter, we can stack our phones on the table (or even on the counter), and make a rule that the first person who checks their phone has to do the dishes. We both hate doing the dishes and always playfully banter back and forth about who has to do them, so it’s perfect.

Put your phones away. Trust me, you won’t regret it. And who knows, you may even discover that the best show is the one happening right in front of you.