I recently had brunch with a friend, and was completely disgusted by the couple sitting next to us. They were at least in their 40s, seated at a nice brunch place – Sarabeth’s – they ordered their breakfast, and then they proceeded to whip out their cellphones and not a word was uttered. (I mention their age because if they were kids, their parents would have smacked those phones right out of their hands, or grounded them for such rude behavior.) This went on for at least 20 minutes. I tried to rationalize it as some emergency they just had to attend to right away. But, the man, who was seated next to me, was watching sports scores on his phone. The woman looked caught up in a non-emergency picture or email that she couldn’t tear herself away from.
My question? If she could not put her phone down, why bother going out for food? She could have ignored her friend at home for a lot less money. Eventually the man left, I hoped he had gotten sick of her behavior, but he unfortunately returned. When he did, their breakfast had already arrived, and the woman dived right in without even waiting for him! (At least she was consistently rude.) Then they did manage some conversation because apparently she needed both hands to hold her silverware and couldn’t hold her cellphone at the same time….
I may be about to burst your bubble, but unless you are a doctor, or in the middle of some emergency, none of us are so important that other people can’t wait 30 minutes or an hour to hear from us. Just because you can, does not make it necessary to check your email 4 times an hour. If you actually made eye contact and conversation with the people in front of you, rather than your phone, yes, everyone really will be ok NOT looking at photos of what you are eating and who you are eating it with.
I feel lucky to have lived at a time when we did not have smartphones, or even cell phones. Just payphones. Guess what? We still managed to make plans, and we managed to show up, and we also managed to wait for friends that were late. It all worked! And, amazingly, we got through an entire meal, morning, afternoon, trip, without checking an electronic device, and here we are! (No, seriously, we really survived, and we were not even bored!)
So, how about we try a little experiment called respect the people we are with? For the next week, I challenge you to spend at least one solid hour every day with NO smartphone. No phone calls, no social media, no photos, no email, nothing. Bonus points if you turn your phone OFF for an hour. Invite your friends and family to try it out. If you have to wait someplace, try making eye contact with people instead of avoiding them by playing Candy Crush! If you succeed, and survive, let us know!
Feel free to take the poll, too!