I remember the day I considered getting a smartphone for the first time. Before that, I'd been using a simple cellphone, one that made calls and occasionally dropped them. I didn't assume that I needed anything fancier than that -- I mean, I'm just a chick with a blog, right?

Time marched on and I found myself actually needing a smartphone, which I bought. Then came tablets - I probably needed one of those, too, right? For those times when phones aren't enough?

Those two things quickly became both a tether and a noose around my neck -- I was always reachable and available, which meant that I should respond, even if I was in the middle of living life in the real world.

Turns out? These distractions are things that can not only make us feel pressured to do more faster, but can ultimately put a serious damper on our relationships. Here are the biggest offenders.

1) Games - Video games, computer games, games on your phone or tablet - while these can provide a nice escape from the stresses of real life, they can also lead to some mega-relationship problems. If you find yourself spending more time playing games than you do talking to your partner, you should put them away.

2) Texting - There's nothing ruder than spending time with your partner AND texting another person at the same time. Doesn't matter if the other person is of the opposite sex or not, it's a clear sign that whoever is in your real life is less important than the person on the other end of your messages.

3) Facebook - While being able to keep tabs on the antics of your friends in real-time Facebook updates, isn't it more important to spend that time with your significant other? Facebook updates will be there later. Your partner may not be if you keep choosing a social networking site over him.

4) Smartphones - I have a hard time calling anything "smart" that can't cure cancer, but I fully understand the urgency and (occasional) need for a smartphone. I run a nonprofit organization called Band Back Together -- if someone is in desperate need of help, I need to know about it. But I also need to be able to show a partner that I'm present and in the moment with him.

5) Tablets - I'm an Apple girl, and I do so love my iPad. It allows me to do a ton of things remotely. I also understand that whatever I'm doing on my iPad should wait until I'm not out at dinner with or relaxing at home with a date. Being glued to my iPad is NOT sending the right message to someone I may really care for.

6) YouTube - I get it - there's funny stuff to be seen on YouTube. But how about turning off the dancing cat video and having a real conversation with the guy next to you before it's too late?

Do you find yourself using distractions like these to avoid real life? Have these things caused problems in your relationships?

 

Image via MJ/TR/Flickr