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Relationship with my Digital Significant Other

PhiPhi buzzes with a random, irrelevant text like a non-funny joke in the absence of my imaginary partner. And she makes me wonder why I put up with her. PhiPhi has been with me for over 8 years now, one way or another. We share a perfect ‘I-hate-you-like-I-love-you’ relationship. Over the years our dependence on each other has varied, and in the last 3-4 years the power struggle has been real. She is the last thing I see before I sleep and the first thing as soon as I wake up. PhiPhi has this uncanny ability to pull my attention in whatever situation that I am, for a person that is usually unbothered it is a lot to say. PhiPhi needs to be fed on a daily basis, and if left unfed for hours she starts throwing tantrums. But PhiPhi has also provided me with a lot of comfort in times of dire need and saved me from uncomfortable situations more often than I can imagine. So you see, I want PhiPhi but I also don’t want her.


You guessed it, I’ve named my smartphone PhiPhi. Why? You ask. Well at the given moment my wallpaper is that of the PhiPhi Islands, Thailand. Few months ago it was a beautiful picture of the Eiffel Tower and at that time PhiPhi was named Lumiere. And a few months before that the wallpaper of my phone was that of an artistically designed quote from one of Shakespeare’s works, and at that time PhiPhi was ‘My Lit Babe’. Irrespective of the name PhiPhi has been a solid constant in my life.


Well, for most of us we share a very similar relationship with our smartphones. Over the years, and especially in the year 2020, I believe that it is extremely important to address our relationship with our smartphone since it has become a parallel to our human significant other.


This article is to bring to your awareness that there is definitely a ‘relationship’ that we share with our smartphones and draw parallels to its healthy and unhealthy aspects.


  1. It is a constant companion – We have our phones with us almost all the time. Since the world has shifted online now more so than ever. And as they say that a bit of distance is actually good for any relationship, well, the same applies here.


  1. Discomfort disguised as comfort – Whether you like it or not, smartphones are more harmful than good if not dealt with properly. Remember that meme ‘My neck, my back, my anxiety attack’?! It messes with our brains and thoughts and behaviors and emotions in ways that we do not even realize it. Therefore seek comfort but be alert. Like I said it is a power struggle.


  1. Healthy Codependency – The content on your smartphone is a vortex. Once down never out. Remember your smartphone is just the medium. The real concern is the content on your smartphone. You need the smartphone more than the content on the phone, but the content on your phone needs you more than your smartphone. Choose wisely.


  1. Aid not a Replacement – The smartphone and the content on your phone is devised to ‘help’ you. But gradually it shifted to making you the product and you ended up being the ‘help’. No matter what is marketed, real human interaction and relationship can never be replaced.


  1. Your smartphone is a tool – And what is a tool? A device to make life simpler. Now, is your smartphone making your life simpler or more complex? Maybe you would want to spare a few minutes and give this a thought. And then if it is just a tool, can we put it on a pedestal of ‘relationship’?


The fact that you might be reading this over your smartphone is something that I have not missed. You will come across numerous articles and a truck load of research highlighting the good, the bad and the ugly of smartphones, the internet, and technology in our daily lives.


The entire aim of this article is to make you think, help you reconsider, take a pause, and if needed re-work your relationship with your smartphone. And if you are struggling, you know you can always seek professional help. The world needs healthy humans let us not power a tool so much that it hinders that.

- Written By Ms. Bansri Mehta