Experiment: No Phones Night
To have a night out with a group of friends without the use of phones. This means leaving phones at home, traveling to the destination, socialising, and travelling back. I learnt many things during this experiement and I was surprised how fun the night was, there were many things that I can’t really explain in words but here are some reflections that I am able to convey in writing.
The first thing that was apparent was that my friends and I needed to ensure we got to the destination on time. When I have my phone with me, I’m usually a bit more relaxed when arriving at a venue because if I’m late, I can easily message everyone telling them that I’m running late. This time though, it was different as I didn’t have my phone, nor could I use my phone’s GPS. I arrived at the destination 10 minutes before the scheduled time and as soon as I got out of my car I heard someone call out “Raph!". One of my other friends had arrived there before me! We waited a few minutes then went into the venue for some Italian pasta and pizza!
Amongst most of my friendship circles, there’s a social contract where the excess use of phones is considered rude. On this night, we didn’t even have our phones with us. I’m usually disciplined enough to avoid my phone during a conversation, however, a dinner often involves a series of conversations. When I have my phone, I often escape to it if a conversation topic doesn’t interest me and zone back in when it does. This time though, because I didn’t have my phone with me, I noticed the transition between conversation topics a lot more.
There were a few silences during the conversation. These weren’t considered ‘awkward’ silences, but rather moments to reflect. I felt that silences during conversation weren’t something to be frowned upon, but a positive indication that a new level of depth was reached during the conversation. If I’d had a phone with me, I probably would’ve escaped to it during these silences, instead of recognising that people are reflecting and thinking with me.
Phones are a necessity of life. At the most basic level, they’re a mechanism for our friends and family to contact us if they need help. Nevertheless, I found socialising while disconnected from my phone to be a refreshing and enjoyable experience. I’d recommend trying it if your circumstances allow!