07/16/2014 11:39 am ET Updated Jul 16, 2014

Why You Should Really Stop Using Your Smartphone At Dinner

Jaco Wolmarans via Getty Images

In the summer of 2011, when Twitter was just entering the mainstream and the iPhone 4 was all the rage, a particularly tech-obsessed friend invited me to lunch for my birthday. I liked my friend (obviously) but generally tried to avoid eating with him. His smartphone use approached the pathological, and I never relished a meal spent fielding waitresses’ pity-smiles while my pal scrolled through his phone with one hand and shoveled sushi with the other.

Nevertheless, I was new to D.C. and appreciated the gesture. So we agreed to meet up on one strict condition: for the duration of the meal, he wouldn’t touch his phone. No e-mails. No Foursquare check-ins. Not a single Instagram. (“That is literally my one birthday wish,” I remember impressing on him. “One hour without the phone. You can do it. Really.”)

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