What just happened? One minute you were all laid back in a ‘let’s have another drink’ kind of way. Two seconds later you’d spun out of control. Possessed. Whipping everyone into a frenzy. Where’s your phone? Proper emergency situation. Except it isn’t. Because the person you barked at to call your phone did and it’s ringing on the table right in front of you. Under your napkin. Just there.
We lose it when we lose our phones. Psychologists have assessed that we only have a few minutes of being separated from our phones before ‘stress behaviour’ sets in (total freak out). Did they say minutes? That long? The panic’s justified when you think of the hassle involved. New phone. Lost numbers. Photos. Which you haven’t backed up since… Oh lord. Never. Sad Cloud.
But here’s the thing. Apparently losing all our holiday shots/voicemails from dead dads isn’t why we abandon all reason. Scientists at Eotvos Lorand University in Hungary found that when someone loses their phone and their stress levels are going off the scale, you can make that stress drop by handing them any old phone. Even if it’s not theirs, they’ll immediately feel better. Calmer. Like a baby’s dummy. A phone placebo.
One of the authors explains, “Objects can be the subject of attachment like photos of important people or toys. The mobile phone is special because it’s not only an important object it also represents our other social connections.”
So that panic when we can’t find our phone for 1.5 seconds? Before you commandeer the whole room into hunting for the damn thing, just try grabbing someone else’s phone to stroke. While they help you find your goddamn phone. Has anyone seen it? Can you hear it ringing? Can you feel it buzzing? *PRIMAL SCREAM*