Phone fakers: THESE are the situations we’re most likely to turn to our phones to avoid

What Mobile
March 5, 2020

New research reveals the real reasons why people pretend to be on their phones

People unveil the moments pretending to be on their phone went terribly wrong

Three quarters (75%) of smartphone owners admit to faking being on their phone to avoid awkward encounters, new research reveals.

Online smartphone retailer, e2save, recently explored the situations which people are most likely to turn to their phones to avoid. According to the research, here are the top ten reasons why people pretend to be on their phone:

  1. To avoid interactions with other passengers on public transport (32%)
  2. When approached by salespeople in the street (28%)
  3. To avoid awkward conversations at a family gathering (22%)
  4. To avoid an old friend (20%)
  5. To avoid a current friend who they don’t want to speak to (19%)
  6. To avoid an ex (19%)
  7. When they’re with friends and they’re stood with someone they don’t like (19%)
  8. In an awkward meeting at work (13%)
  9. During a date with their partner/spouse (9%)
  10. During a first date (7%)

Delving further into the findings, there are some discrepancies between men, women and age groups when it comes to faking activity on their phones.

Overall, men are less likely to use phones as a solution, with almost a third (32%) saying they would never reach for their phones to appear busy, compared to 21% of women. However, among men, 36% are more likely to use their phones to avoid interactions with fellow passengers on public transport, versus a quarter (26%) of women. Avoiding an ex ranked highly for women, with one in five (21%) saying they’d fake being on their phone to avoid this, compared to just 16% of men.

Looking at differences in age groups, 18-24-year-olds (31%) are most likely to use their phones to avoid an ex, the highest percentage of any age group. Also, 10% of 18-24-year-olds and 11% of 25-34-year-olds are most likely to pretend to be on their phones to appear busy during a first date. This is interesting as the majority of 18-34-year-olds believe they would feel anxious, nervous, or worried about being parted from their phones for a single day.

Speaking about the moment when this tactic went terribly wrong, Oliver, from Kent revealed: “Once I was sat next to an incredibly chatty lady on a train, but really wanted some peace and quiet. I managed to get her to stop talking by saying I needed to listen to a podcast for work. After around 20 minutes she tapped me on the arm and asked if I needed to plug my headphones in to listen to the podcast. I had forgotten to plug them in and was just listening to silence, totally embarrassing but I think she got the message!”

Business on the go – Commuting in the morning in London in the subway train

Jamie, from York, revealed: “I took a taxi home at around 3am after a night out. The driver began asking me some rather personal and uncomfortable questions, so I took out my phone and had a pretend conversation with my mate – for over 20 minutes!”

Lucy from Bristol also said: “I was set up on a blind date a few years ago by my friend, but the date really wasn’t going well. I pretended to take a call from my landlord, and had a minute-long conversation with myself about how we had a gas leak at the house before my phone started to ring out loud! I went bright red and said I had to leave. Never saw/heard from him again.”

Commenting on the research findings, Karl Middleton, mobile expert at e2save, says: “It’s surprising to see that almost a third of people will use their phones to avoid interactions with fellow passengers on public transport, even more so than avoiding a pushy salesperson or an ex.

“Finding ways to avoid awkward and uncomfortable situations is natural and mobile phones provide an easy way to appear busy. However, a lot of the time a good chat with your fellow commuters can be a good thing!”

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