October 1, 2012 by Diniquette
The biggest etiquette offender these days is the constant use of smartphones while at the table.
Trust me, I’ve heard the arguments on all sides: ” what if the kids need me?” “what if work calls?” “I just want to answer this text real quick, it’s not a big deal!”
Here is the truth: Yes, there are times when we all need to be accessible; but does that mean you need to be disrespectful to the people who are breaking bread with you? Remember, they have busy lives too; so if they rearranged everything to come and spend time with you, you should be present for them. If you spend a good portion of the meal texting, answering emails, posting tweets, why did you even bother meeting your guests for dinner? By constantly being attached to your digital device you are sending a message to your dinner guests that you really don’t want to be with them. I have seen arguments break out over this very thing;(we’re talking RHONJ type arguments….not cute). JUST PUT THE DEVICE DOWN.
Now, for those of you that MUST be accessible, this is how you do it:
1) put the device on vibrate
2)put the device on your lap, NOT THE TABLE. If it’s on the table, your guests will either feel it vibrate or see the face light up with an incoming call….that will stop any conversation in its tracks.
3)if the device on your lap vibrates, glance down: if it’s not a call that needs your immediate attention, tap ignore and now you’re right back in the conversation without anyone being interrupted or disturbed.
4)if it IS a call that needs your immediate attention, in this order:
*apologize to the table and let them know that you must take this call
*answer the phone, while your still seated, tell the caller to please hold on while you go outside: DO NOT START TALKING ON THE PHONE WHILE WALKING THRU THE ENTIRE RESTAURANT…..because not only have you disrupted your guests, but now you’ve disrupted everyone in the restaurant.
*after you ask the caller to hold, you promptly go outside, take the call as quick as possible, HANG UP and then return to your guests.
I understand that there are exceptions to the rules and I also understand how fascinating some devices are: (I’m actually the new owner of an iPhone 5 and I can’t seem to put it down…..mostly because I have no idea how to use it)…..but you are not dining with yourself, you are dining with other human beings…. SO BE PRESENT!
Thanks for reading.