In my opinion the ultimate twenty-first century social faux pas is using your phone while someone is talking to you. It’s impossible to be giving someone your full attention while using a phone at the same time.
It’s an easy trap to fall into and an easy thing to do. Your phone buzzes and you absentmindedly check the notification while chatting to a friend. You’re sitting on the couch with your partner and start scrolling through Instagram while they chat.
It’s been really disheartening to see this happen so much while I’ve been traveling. So often we’ll go to a restaurant and see another couple sitting opposite each other at dinner, both scrolling away mindlessly on their phones while picking at their food, completely ignoring each other.
They all look miserable, and that makes sense. Because using your phone during dinner isn’t just rude, it also makes you unhappy.
How to tackle it?
It’s all about being more mindful with your phone use. If you’re having a meal with other people, treat it like a movie – put your phone on ‘Do Not Disturb’ and don’t put it on the table, keep it in your pocket or bag.
You might need to be contactable for work, or maybe you have kids who need to be able to reach you. When you use your phone excuse yourself from the situation rather than texting at the table.
If you’re with your partner and you want to use your phone, before you take it out of your pocket ask them and explain why. Little things like this help train your mind to think about whether you really need to use your phone right now, or whether your action is just compulsive.