In defense of flip phones

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

It’s very easy to watch the other humans on the bus and think that they are sad, screen-addicted aliens.

Each one is fixed on their phone, the white light bleaching them until they’re like dead fish on a reef. It’s easy to scare yourself.

What are they looking at? Why won’t they meet your eyes for a fleeting connection? Why do they fill the car with a lumpy kind of deadness?

It’s easy, if you put down your phone and observe, to feel like you know something they don’t. They look hopelessly consumed, and you can’t help but feel a smidge superior. But you too have probably been one of those sardines in a can.

At some point in your life, you’ve made a habit of ignoring your neighbors.
Over the last few years, I’ve noticed the slow but relentless fusion of phones to people – the five year-old watching Netflix at the playground, the roommate not answering your questions because she’s texting a stranger she’ll never meet. Me, lulling myself into a social media daze instead of waking up with the sun.

I’m sure we’ve all heard this one before, but our phones are an escape. It’s easier to turn away from real life and into the colorful, funny lives of our friends and strangers. Phones don’t force us to confront our issues 24/7. In the best phone daze, we don’t have to think at all. We can also present false versions of ourselves. We can feel good about our aspirations, and even give the impression that we’ve fully embodied them, without ever doing the work to actually reach them. It looks great on the outside and feels bad on
the inside.

Hear me out: get a flip phone. I know it sounds silly and extreme. Last year, when I first explored the flip phone trend, I thought I’d only last a week or two and then give up.

I was fully prepared to jump back into the smartphone world, refreshed but secretly relieved. The reality was different. Eight months later, I still love not having an iPhone.

It’s hard to slow down and not process anything for a while. Slowing down is not a bad thing. We live with devices that make everything immediately accessible, but this can get unhealthy, as it did for me.

Taking a long, and maybe permanent, break from smartphones is rejuvenating.

Make a list of reasons for why you’re hesitant to get a flip phone, and then figure out solutions to those problems.

There is likely a way around each of your concerns (taxis still exist, for example. Or you can get Uber on your computer).

And there’s another bonus: you can blame your flakiness on your new hot pink Motorola Razr. You will be the coolest person.