How to Use Your Android Phone to Be Social in the Real World

Ads by Google

I’ve been in a relationship the entire time I’ve owned a smartphone, so using it has always come at the risk of ignoring my significant other (and vice versa).

Whether you share most of your life with another person, take your phone out often with friends, or find yourself needing to communicate with a group of new acquaintances, here are some ways you can use your phone to engage, rather than tune out, the people around you.

1) Play a Game

No, not Angry Birds. And just because Words With Friends and Order & Chaos require other people to play, that doesn’t make them social. If you have to stare at your screen, you’re probably not paying that much attention to the person next to you.

Try downloading a single-player crossword app. Everyone won’t be able to see the clues like they would in the paper version, but that will just get them talking to you more as they ask you to read aloud each one.

The same is true of word search games or trivia. Basically go for anything that gets a group of people thinking together and shouting out guesses. I haven’t installed Teazel’s Crossword app on any of my devices, but I’ve been asked questions often enough by friends to feel like a regular player.

AndroidEnhanceConversation-Crossword

Ads by Google

Part of the enjoyment of board games is that they get people talking, and with the right app, you can generate a similar experience with your phone.

2) Take Pictures

AndroidEnhanceConversations-Take-Photo

Getting people to come together and pose for a photo is inherently social. Sneaking one of them is not. Carrying pocket cameras around with us 24/7 can encourage some voyeuristic, paparazzi-like behavior, but it doesn’t have to be this way.

Encourage people to come together for a snapshot. Tell a friend you want to get a picture of them next to a landmark. And as much as I personally dislike selfies, there’s something warm about standing next to someone who wants to snap one with you.

Not everyone likes having their picture taken, regardless of how nicely you ask. That doesn’t mean you have to put your camera away. They may still love the idea of going around with you taking pictures of animals and flowers and buildings. Then you can come together and look through them together.

3) Netflix and Chill

AndroidEnhanceConversations-Netflix

A smartphone doesn’t provide as nice a viewing experience as a TV. Even a 10-inch tablet with substantially more screen real estate hardly compares. But if there’s one advantage these devices have, it’s getting people to huddle close together. Curl up on the sofa with someone you care about and watch a show with your arm around them. Put your hand on a friend’s shoulder as you lean in to watch a clip.

Being social isn’t just about looking someone in the eye or talking to them, it’s enhanced by being physically close.

AndroidEnhanceConversation-Netflix-Chill

Being comfortable with someone increases the likelihood that you will talk to them later, and it shows that you care about them even when you’re not explicitly saying so. As long as you eventually look up from the screen, that is.

4) Discover Things to Do

To a certain extent, no matter what you do, smartphones are inherently anti-social. They cause you to look away from the person you’re with, even if only for a moment (and unlike a book or magazine, they come with endless ways to distract you).

But that portable device is one of the most useful tools for discovering activities you can do with others. Whether it’s visiting a restaurant, plotting a hike, mapping out a road trip, or anticipating a day in a new city, spending some time with your phone can be the easiest way to facilitate hours and hours of great memories with someone later on.

Apps like Roadtrippers, TravelocityTripAdvisor, and Trip It help you go from the planning stages to hitting the road. Depending on which city you end up in, an app like Citymapper can cut out the time you spend arguing over how the transit system works, so that you still like your travel companion by the time your day is up.

I’m not saying your phone is only good for planning out full-blown vacations. Even if you only have a few hours to kill, apps like Foursquare can help you come up with something to do. There’s a good chance your phone came with Google Maps, and it’s perfectly capable of showing places of interest nearby.

5) Play Music

Okay, music may not get people talking right away, but it gets them singing (though a group of people who are passionate about their favorite artists may not want to talk about anything else). Music is a universal language, and it brings people together.

You could break out into song yourself, though that may seem out of place if you’re not in a bar or standing next to a cup half filled with change. These days, you don’t need a sound system or a boom box. You don’t need anything with headphones. You have your phone. Take it out, play your favorite album, or start streaming pretty much anything, and see if it puts a smile on the face of the person you’re with. You don’t even have to spend any money.

AndroidEnhanceConversations-Play-Music

Don’t underestimate the power of music. A beloved song can thaw the ice between two people who would otherwise be cold towards each other.

Folks faced with a grueling day of work ahead can ease the burden with pleasant background tunes. Music can make friends out of strangers, and it can strengthen the bond between lifelong pals.

6) Put It Down

Hey, I know, but at the end of the day, this is the most reliable thing you can do with your phone to bring life out of a conversation.

A game that pulled friends together one day may have them sitting beside each other playing separately the next. Playing music is significantly less social when you have to pull out earphones.

Every time you look away from someone to do something on your phone, it sends a signal to them to stop talking and wait. And if they don’t, you may find yourself feeling lost when you try to jump back in the conversation.

AndroidEnhanceConversation-Put-Phone-Down

Putting your phone away is the best thing you can do with the device to engage with others.

How Do You Keep the Conversation Going?

Phones often mean the death of conversation, so we have to be mindful when we take them out. What methods help you avoid looking down at your screen when you could be interacting with others?

How do you navigate phone usage around the people in your household? Share your thoughts with us.

Image Credits: having fun in a cafe by Sjale via Shutterstock, Couple tourists on Hawaii by waterfall. Tourist taking photo pictures of Akaka Falls waterfall on Hawaii, Big Island, USA. Travel tourism concept with multicultural tourist couple. via ShutterstockTwo young and beautiful girl sitting at the table listening to music with a smartphone via ShutterstockFour students eating and talking and one girl looking at telephone via Shutterstock

Join live MakeUseOf Groups on Grouvi App Join live Groups on Grouvi
Best Android Apps
Best Android Apps
987 Members
Android Rooting & ROMs
Android Rooting & ROMs
655 Members
Android OS Tips
Android OS Tips
490 Members
Learn New Skills
Learn New Skills
483 Members
Self Improvement
Self Improvement
433 Members
Productivity Tips
Productivity Tips
354 Members
Best Android Phones
Best Android Phones
266 Members
Best Android Games
Best Android Games
260 Members
Breaking Bad Habits
Breaking Bad Habits
179 Members
Android Helpdesk
Android Helpdesk
174 Members
Affiliate Disclamer

This article may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
New comment

Please login to avoid entering captcha

Log In