General Etiquette > Techno-quette

Put your phone down!

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I'd approach it from the other side, as if I was concerned he was bored or no longer enjoyed the show. "So, be honest with me here. Is it boring coming over to our house to watch Show? I've noticed that you spend the whole time on your phone. Are we bad hosts? Are you getting tired of Show? We can start doing something else at another time if you'd rather." I'm not suggesting you are boring but it'll get him to take a look at his actions without putting him on the defensive.

If he says "No, you guys are great!" then makes some excuse for why he's on the phone so much you can gently point out that you feel like he doesn't enjoy hanging out with you.

I think JenJay's advice is definitely something to try.

I also want to say that I too have experience with being close friends with someone who is... touchy. To say the least.
But touchy or not, if you're best friends then you really should be able to talk about stuff, shouldn't you?
If JenJay's advice doesn't work or you don't want to do it, then you really need to find some way to sit him down and ask him what's going on. There's must be some sort of way to talk to him.

If he does take it badly then personally I'd tell him that I'm sorry he feels that way (non apology basically) but I stand by my opinion.
Whether he's really your best friend will then show sooner or later. I've had to blow up at my touchy-friend before and after a bit he came wounded back and shockingly survived being criticised.

Softly Spoken:
Ack, had to change a bunch because of new posts. :P

Expanding on what JenJay beat me to...

To ignore you and the food you bothered to cook for him for 10 minutes? Ridiculous. But if this is a new behavior like you said maybe he has an addiction. People get wrapped up in their gadgets and sometimes need someone else to point it out.

I think you need to ask yourself what you want. If you actually enjoy Mr. Textmeister McTouchy's company when he isn't glued to his phone, then you need to say something. You aren't a restaurant or a lounge where he can entertain himself and be waited on, and IMHO the "best" status of your friendship is being threatened by this behavior.

Maybe you could politely show him the docking station/plug hub where you and everyone else put their electronic devices during social time (and if you don't have a place you should make one asap). Offer it like a perk - charge your phone while you are hanging with your friends. I would compare it to having a basket in the entryway with slippers to help get people to take off their shoes. Talk about it like it's a given instead of asking and having him argue. If you are watching TV, treat it like a movie theater - ask him if he remembered to turn off his phone so it wouldn't interrupt the show. If he says he can put it on vibrate, you say fine but point out that the screen is distracting. Don't be mad or defensive - you have a perfectly reasonable request/expectation and you are in your own home.

I think the phone during dinner is much ruder than the phone during TV time. Conversation and personal attention are expected during a meal and optional during a movie.

If he is touchy yet your best friend who you don't want to lose, approach it as concern for him. You could mention that you are kind of bummed that he doesn't seem to enjoy himself when he comes over. If he asks why you think that, you can point out - "Well, you spend all your time on your phone so you must not be enjoying our company, our food, or the shows we watch." You aren't accusing him of bad behavior or criticizing - treat it as an inquiry into his well-being and the well-being of your friendship. You said he didn't always used to do this. Point out to him that he used to be more social with you and remind him how much you enjoyed talking to him and sharing activities with him. Ask him (with genuine curiosity and a desire to understand) why he likes to spend all his time with you talking to his other friends. Maybe joke that you expect him to message you a bunch when he is with them to keep it even - pointing out in a round about way that they are getting time and attention you should be getting. Tell him how awesome he is as a friend - and then challenge him to live up to that. If he wants to prove you wrong, he'll have to put the phone away because having it out and ignoring you is indefensible.

I guess my point it that you want him to change behavior that he likely does not believe needs to be changed.  If everyone is watching TV, why shouldn't he be doing whatever he wants to do, so long as he is not preventing anyone else from watching TV (like, if he were doing jumping jacks in front of the screen).  I am guessing that any passive aggressive "pausing" of the show would not go over well with him.  I think you can ask him to not be on his phone while he is at your house, but I think it is valid that he probably doesn't see the harm and will not comply.

I am guessing the OP either needs to stop inviting him, or needs to be comfortable with the fact he will likely be on his phone a lot.

It sounds PA, but is something that my group of friends will do to each other in this situation. If they're texting, quietly send them a text message that says "Be present with us in this moment." Usually it results in a sheepish grin from the "offender" and a more fun time for all once the phones are put away. I did this once at a party when a friend wouldn't stop checking Twitter. I quickly pulled out my phone and tweeted, "@Friend, stop checking your Twitter! Also, please grab me a beer  :) "


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