So Thanksgiving is here once again, a time when friends and family gather to share good food and drink and good company. Yet inevitably, an unwanted guest ends up at the table with us, a guest that has become so much a part of our daily routine that we treat it like part of the family. And in this case, that can be rude.
What am I talking about? Your phone of course! Recent and ongoing surveys conducted show only 21 percent of respondents put their phone away at the table. So almost four out of every five turkey gobblers are stuffing their faces with one hand, and stroking their phones with the other. That’s something to consider!
If you are, in fact, one of those people who simply can’t put their phone down, (me), then here is a short list of ways to perhaps be at least less obvious about it.
1) Keep your phone off the table – Even though it may provide the temptation of a quick escape, your company (even weird Uncle Cletus) deserves your attention. No one likes being upstaged by Taylor Swift’s Twitter feed.
2) Step out of the room to take a phone call or answer an email – If someone’s calling you they’re not going to want to listen to the shrill sounds of your siblings fighting over the last turkey leg. And, on the flip side, your family isn’t going to want to hear about your friend’s hook-up with an ex. A polite ‘excuse me’ gives you a few valuable minutes in solitude and keeps the peace. As long as it’s just a few minutes!
3) Don’t bring your phone to the bathroom – You do not want to be that person. You know, the one that drops their phone into the toilet. Though it might provide your family with endless amounts of mirth, it could also put a serious damper on your Thanksgiving festivities.
4) Keep Internet surfing/YouTube streaming to a minimum – There are only so many times you can listen to the Holderness Family’s “Chardonnay Nae” Thanksgiving mashup, (though it is hilarious), so although it’s acceptable to use your phone to search for some new music or a funny video for the family to watch when needed, just don’t wear it out.
5) Minimize texting/Facebooking/tweeting – Your friends are busy with their families, too! Give your newsfeed a break. Your story about the furry pajamas Aunt Sue got you can wait until 2016. It might even be funny then!
And of course….
Follow the “Golden Rule” – Chances are you’re going to be traveling quite a bit around the holidays. Do us all (and yourself) a favor, and keep your eyes on the road, not on your phone. If you’re on a crowded bus/plane/train, keep the chatter to a minimum, or text. The golden rule is a great one to follow, especially when we’re all in a rush to get to the next holiday extravaganza.
Mind you, these are just “tips”, albeit good ones, but I wouldn’t want to hear any stories about someone becoming catatonic at the dinner table due to “absence of smartphone” syndrome! (Oh….it’s REAL!)
One more tip: If you absolutely have to have your smartphone at the table, (and you know who you are), then at least try to avoid glancing at it constantly. Maybe you could give yourself a timer. Like say after a certain number of words or perhaps a number of bites or topics of conversation.
The method you use is not as important as making those around you feel like you are there to spend time with them, not your phone, even if they all understand what you’re going through! And when it’s all over, and you and your smartphone are once again connected, won’t you feel better knowing that you both made an effort to “be there”?
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