Give good text

I’ve had no less than four friends recently lament to me about the same complaint. One being She Does The City’s big boss lady herself, and the other lives all the way across the pond in Ireland, suggesting etiquette blunders span international borders. So here it goes (Karen Cleveland: breaking issues and breaking journalism. Right? No? Ok then. Shrug. Anyways.)

The issue at hand is poor cell phone use. If its ubiquity is any indication, it is the new gum chomping.

We’re all busy. In a culture where multitasking trumps and we’re always a text, tweet, bbm or email from others, it’s hard not to be connected all the time. In fact, there are great things about being connected. What’s damaging is that it sends a message to the people around you that whatever you’re attending to on the other end of your iPhone or Blackberry is more important than them – that you’re not fully present in their company. That you have better things to do.

Imagine if that side conversation was a real in-the-flesh one: would you brazenly turn your back on your company and start a separate conversation with someone else?

Texting or taking a call when your attention is otherwise commanded (in a meeting, over a drink or meal, a movie, etc.) is a big fuck you to the people you’re with. And really, if you succeed in ticking off all the people you hang out with, you might find yourself with no one texting you, at all.

~ Karen Cleveland

1 Comment

  1. Erin
    February 15, 2011

    I just want to say that I agree with this post 100%. I’ve eaten dinner with friends that I haven’t seen in a few months, and they are texting an entire conversation while they’re with me. It is totally like a big “fuck you” to the person you’re with. The only exception = an emergency. But quite frankly, I am disgusted by you and I having a face-to-face while you-and-him/her have a text-to-text conversation at the same time lasting the entire duration of our meal. UNCOOL.

  2. Anonymous
    March 2, 2011

    Thanks for the comment, Erin! And, thanks for reading.

  3. Anonymous
    April 20, 2011

    I think this board is the proper place to ask you about the activation proccess. My link is not working properly, do you know why it is happening?,

  4. Jane
    May 4, 2011

    GET OVER IT. If I’m out with a group and we’ve got plans that night, someone is always coordinating the where/when/how, or letting other friends know where we are.

    I also have friends who are “on call” for work regularly and have to at least check their messages for any issues that are arising.

    Lastly I have another rule: I don’t care who I’m with. If my mother calls I ALWAYS answer, even if just to say I can’t talk at the moment. Mom gets override.

    Getting high and mighty about a friend checking messages at the dinner table is a dealbreaker for me. I frankly don’t have any interest in people whose basis for judging my friendship with them is whether or not they feel I’m hanging on every word that comes out of their mouths.

    I have great friends, and they’re always there for me, regardless of whether one of us is guilty of a few texts or tweets at the dinner table.

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