[COMMUNICATE] Everyone is using cell phones these days. When you walk down the street you see people either talking into the air (with an earbud) or holding the phone alongside their head.
You meet friends for lunch, go to a meeting or attend a public event with a cellular device at your side, and your phone rings; theirs rings. Answering immediately is tempting!
Or you decide (in the middle of a conversation) that you need to look up something on the phone, check the time or answer a text. All of these actions (interrupting the time you have with others) used to be considered rude. And perhaps it still is.
Two Ways to Modify Cell Phone Interruptions
1. Announce Your Actions. If you must look up something on your phone when you’re talking to someone … or even just sitting with another person … show respect by announcing what you are going to do and possibly why. NOTE: The why doesn’t have to be detailed and revealing, but sharing something goes a long way to making the other person feel as if they matter.
- I’m going to check the time because my daughter gets out of school at 2.
- Let me look that up now, so we’ll find out what “tethering” means.
2. Think Twice in Public Places. You’re in a movie and a text comes in. It won’t take but a minute to check. But here’s the problem. The screen light is brilliant to everyone else in the theater, taking the attention over to you, away from the movie.
OK, it’s not life-threatening, but it feels rude to everyone else. It’s a needless interruption for one person’s unwillingness to wait until the movie is over. Before cell phones, we had to wait until we returned home and answered the voice mail.
If it’s an emergency situation, and you feel you need to answer it, great, get up and move to a more private location out of respect.