5 tips to cut back on tech (and build intimacy)

Aug 21, 2018

Save Intimacy is your guide to exploring barriers to intimacy. With devices an everyday presence in our lives, we set out to question our habits and examine the relationships between technology, personal connection and intimacy.

Inspired by SkynFeel, our technology that’s designed to bring you closer together, we’re giving you the chance to get back in touch with intimacy. Join SkynFeel here to enter the draw to win a boutique hotel stay – we’re giving away one £500 Mr and Mrs Smith gift card each week for 10 weeks.

Find yourself reaching for your phone when you have a spare moment, only to disappear down an Instagram/email/cat-meme hole and wonder what happened to the last half hour (or more)? If you’ve been thinking you spend too much time with your smartphone, you’re not alone. Almost 40% of people in the UK feel the same. Whatever your motivation for wanting to cut back on tech-time, these tips can help you rely on your devices less and connect in-person more.


Put your phone away during dates

“Are you actually listening, or is your phone more interesting?”

Familiar scenario? Switching your focus from the person you’re spending time with to your screen signals indifference, even if that’s not your intention. It’s not surprising that phubbing – phone snubbing – has been linked to relationship dissatisfaction: phubbed partners report feeling disconnected and excluded. And not only does phubbing peeve your partner, but it can also keep you from making a new connection. A University of Essex study found that smartphone use creates a barrier to the development of new relationships by reducing the level of closeness people feel in conversations with someone they’ve just met.

So when you’re on a date, whether it’s dinner, drinks or casual hangs, avoid the temptation to cheat with your phone – switch it off and leave it in your bag or pocket. 
date on phone

Try tech time-outs

Going cold-turkey may not be easy, so work yourself up to it by starting with small boundaries. It could be as simple as setting a switch-off time each night, or designating a window each day for checking and posting on social media; the trick is to begin with small sacrifices and build up your stamina. Even consciously reminding yourself of other things you could be doing instead of another binge-watch session can be helpful. Why not go for a walk, or suggest going for a picnic? After all, any attempt to break the usual routine is positive, and time without devices leaves more space to connect in person – with yourself or someone else.

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Go old-school

Make friends with paper. Simple things like writing down your shopping list instead of typing it in your notes app can help cut back phone time. If you’re in a relationship, finding a sweet note your partner’s left for you can make you feel special and appreciated – probably because it takes a little more thought and effort than shooting off a text. And when you’re having a tech-free day but you still want to keep in touch with your friends or crush, give them a call from a landline telephone – but write everyone’s numbers in a notebook first. Most of us don’t remember phone numbers because we trust our devices to do it for us – a symptom of the digital amnesia caused by outsourcing our memories and information storage to technology.

Go old-school

Train yourself to be okay with quiet moments

Habitually pulling out your phone during idle moments, like when you’re on the Tube or waiting for your date to show up, can be a sign that you’re not comfortable being alone with your thoughts. The compulsion to phub can be attributed to a similar discomfort we feel when the flow of talk trails off. We’re so used to the constant stimulation our devices provide that we can’t handle gaps in conversation or shared quiet moments, so we default to our phones. Instead, we should think about these moments as opportunities: to let our minds wander or do something rewarding, like reading, when we’re alone, or to consider what’s been said and respond or ask questions more thoughtfully. 

quiet moments

Don’t use your phone as an alarm clock

Unless you’re disciplined and keep your phone over on the other side of the room, forcing you to spring out of bed when your alarm goes off in the morning, you’re likely to keep your phone on a bedside table or the floor beside your bed. When your device is right there before sleep and when you wake up, so is the temptation to read emails, respond to notifications or watch a few Instagram Stories in the dark – a habit recent research has shown can speed up macular degeneration, a condition that’s a leading cause of blindness. Plus, if someone’s in bed with you, leaving your phone in another room means it won’t distract your attention from them. 

Save Intimacy

Inspired by SkynFeel, our technology that’s designed to bring you closer together, we’re giving you the chance to get back in touch with intimacy. Join SkynFeel here to enter the draw to win a boutique hotel stay – we’re giving away one £500 Mr and Mrs Smith gift card each week for 10 weeks.

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