Thursday, April 25, 2013
RUDE OR NOT?
I learned the etiquette on this particular issue just after I had graduated high school. One of my friends was several years older than me, so she had had enough experience to determine what she should expect from friends. And we spent most of our time together when we weren't in school. One night, I was at her house, and the guy of the moment kept texting me. Naturally, I would read his texts and respond to him.
She just looked at me and said, "You can leave."
I was shocked. No one had ever been so blunt with me before. I wasn't sure what she was talking about, so I asked why.
She said, "If the person you're texting is more important than the person you're already spending time with, you don't have to stay. Go be with that person. I'm more offended by you being here texting someone else than I would be if you just left. So you can leave, if you want."
I put my phone away for the night, and realized she was totally right. In-person relationships should be priority. Answering phone calls or texts in other peoples' presence is not only socially rude, it's personally offensive. You're basically saying, "I'd rather talk to this person than you." My friend showed me that having expectations of your friends is not only OK, but good. Explain to them why something is offensive. If the friendship is strong, it won't be shaken by a conversation like this, and you'll likely be teaching them something that will prevent them from offending others in the future.
I have a different friend who answered a skype call from her parents while we and our husbands were hanging out. This was super awkward for me, because she not only was showing my who she'd rather talk to, but she kept trying to show her parents parts of my house, my pregnant belly, and include me in parts (but not all) of their conversation. Neither the mother, the father, nor my friend had any kind of idea that this might not be the most appropriate time to talk, even though they all acknowledged that they were at a friend's house. Nonetheless, I had to sit in silence and wait for them to finish chatting.
To me, this is totally something you should NEVER do in a social situation. If you receive a call that isn't urgent, answer and quickly explain that you can't talk but will call later, or respond with a brief text. If someone is texting you continually and it can wait, just ignore it. That's the glory of texts. Handle it later.
What do you guys think? Is this etiquette out-dated? Are we shaping our teenagers to not know where the priority lies (in-person social settings) because we allow them to be on their phones constantly? Or is this common knowledge and everyone except an unfortunate few already follow these rules?
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