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Author Topic: phones at the table during dinner  (Read 13865 times)

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EllenS

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Re: phones at the table during dinner
« Reply #45 on: April 22, 2016, 11:19:59 AM »

I like 2048, but there's no way I'd not find it off-putting if someone was playing that while talking to me. You have to look at your screen to play. I suppose if you were taking a long time between turns, that's ok, but only for the most casual of settings.

FWIW, I feel the same about knitting, unless it's very plain and the person can do it while talking, without looking down. (And even then, we'd better be in a v casual situation.)

Busying yourself with another activity during social time is just rude (unless that activity is the focus of the gathering). How can it send any other message than "I don't want to give you my full attention"?  If the people in question live together (or there's an extended house visit going on), then drifting in and out of conversation while doing your own activity is a perfectly normal thing to do in a shared space. Otherwise, it's just disrespectful.

I admit I knit constantly when I am not at work...including movie theaters. I also can knit simple patterns without looking at the work. I look the person I am with in the eye.
It never occurred to me that some people might find that rude.  It is simply a way to keep my hands busy while I give attention to the other person. 

I admit I know v little about knitting, but aren't you counting stitches? Or something? If it is literally just a movement of your hands, then OK (although i still think there's a time and a place, I'd be annoyed if I was trying to watch a film and the person next to me was going clickclickclick, and it's not appropriate for more formal settings), but I assume you have to devote at least some brain space to keeping track of where you are and that just feels off to me.

Yes, I know I could be talking to someone and they're secretly planning their wedding in their head, but I don't KNOW that, you know? Whereas someone knitting is literally waving a flag that that says "I'm also thinking about something else!"

I don't usually knit in 1-on-1 convos, (and of course not while eating!) But I often do in group situations. It's like doodling - I actually hear & retain & respond better when my hands are occupied. If I don't have an unobtrusive functional activity, I fidget badly and have trouble sitting still. It's one of the reasons I prefer to host - there's always a plausible reason for a hostess to get up and tend to something.

Electronics, though suck me in and take me right out of the group.

Teenyweeny

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Re: phones at the table during dinner
« Reply #46 on: April 22, 2016, 11:31:17 AM »

I like 2048, but there's no way I'd not find it off-putting if someone was playing that while talking to me. You have to look at your screen to play. I suppose if you were taking a long time between turns, that's ok, but only for the most casual of settings.

FWIW, I feel the same about knitting, unless it's very plain and the person can do it while talking, without looking down. (And even then, we'd better be in a v casual situation.)

Busying yourself with another activity during social time is just rude (unless that activity is the focus of the gathering). How can it send any other message than "I don't want to give you my full attention"?  If the people in question live together (or there's an extended house visit going on), then drifting in and out of conversation while doing your own activity is a perfectly normal thing to do in a shared space. Otherwise, it's just disrespectful.

I admit I knit constantly when I am not at work...including movie theaters. I also can knit simple patterns without looking at the work. I look the person I am with in the eye.
It never occurred to me that some people might find that rude.  It is simply a way to keep my hands busy while I give attention to the other person. 

I admit I know v little about knitting, but aren't you counting stitches? Or something? If it is literally just a movement of your hands, then OK (although i still think there's a time and a place, I'd be annoyed if I was trying to watch a film and the person next to me was going clickclickclick, and it's not appropriate for more formal settings), but I assume you have to devote at least some brain space to keeping track of where you are and that just feels off to me.

Yes, I know I could be talking to someone and they're secretly planning their wedding in their head, but I don't KNOW that, you know? Whereas someone knitting is literally waving a flag that that says "I'm also thinking about something else!"

I don't usually knit in 1-on-1 convos, (and of course not while eating!) But I often do in group situations. It's like doodling - I actually hear & retain & respond better when my hands are occupied. If I don't have an unobtrusive functional activity, I fidget badly and have trouble sitting still. It's one of the reasons I prefer to host - there's always a plausible reason for a hostess to get up and tend to something.

Electronics, though suck me in and take me right out of the group.

So I've thought about this some more, and I think my rule of thumb is "Would I be able to step away to take a phone call (without apologising)?"

So if it's somewhere where I couldn't take a call in that room, then other activities aren't appropriate either. If my phone rang, and it was somewhere that I could answer, and i wouldn't have to apologise for stepping away, then other activities are ok. If I'd have to excuse myself, then i'm too much of an integral part of the group to not give it my full attention.




Chez Miriam

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Re: phones at the table during dinner
« Reply #47 on: April 22, 2016, 11:35:23 AM »

I like 2048, but there's no way I'd not find it off-putting if someone was playing that while talking to me. You have to look at your screen to play. I suppose if you were taking a long time between turns, that's ok, but only for the most casual of settings.

FWIW, I feel the same about knitting, unless it's very plain and the person can do it while talking, without looking down. (And even then, we'd better be in a v casual situation.)

Busying yourself with another activity during social time is just rude (unless that activity is the focus of the gathering). How can it send any other message than "I don't want to give you my full attention"?  If the people in question live together (or there's an extended house visit going on), then drifting in and out of conversation while doing your own activity is a perfectly normal thing to do in a shared space. Otherwise, it's just disrespectful.

I admit I knit constantly when I am not at work...including movie theaters. I also can knit simple patterns without looking at the work. I look the person I am with in the eye.
It never occurred to me that some people might find that rude.  It is simply a way to keep my hands busy while I give attention to the other person. 

I admit I know v little about knitting, but aren't you counting stitches? Or something? If it is literally just a movement of your hands, then OK (although i still think there's a time and a place, I'd be annoyed if I was trying to watch a film and the person next to me was going clickclickclick, and it's not appropriate for more formal settings), but I assume you have to devote at least some brain space to keeping track of where you are and that just feels off to me.

Yes, I know I could be talking to someone and they're secretly planning their wedding in their head, but I don't KNOW that, you know? Whereas someone knitting is literally waving a flag that that says "I'm also thinking about something else!"

I don't usually knit in 1-on-1 convos, (and of course not while eating!) But I often do in group situations. It's like doodling - I actually hear & retain & respond better when my hands are occupied. If I don't have an unobtrusive functional activity, I fidget badly and have trouble sitting still. It's one of the reasons I prefer to host - there's always a plausible reason for a hostess to get up and tend to something.

Electronics, though suck me in and take me right out of the group.

I'd rather someone doodle that knit in a situation where I need to hear things.  I have tinnitus [and the hearing aids really amplify any clacking sounds] and Central Auditory Porcessing Disorder, so really struggle with background noise.  If a place is very quiet, I have no problem hearing, but I gave up going to the cinema when snacks went from ice cream/wine gums in the intermission to 'everyone, let's tuck into that bucket of popcorn, and get out your mobiles for a nice chat'!

I realised I didn't care enough to see films on their release; I would rather be able to follow the plot/dialogue at a later date [and so probably in my own home].

One-on-one: if I can hear you over the clicking, that would be fine.  Otherwise it would be apologies, I'm off, time.
"All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well."  - Julian of Norwich

mandycorn

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Re: phones at the table during dinner
« Reply #48 on: April 22, 2016, 11:42:28 AM »
Back to the initial topic (and actually applicable for people who would be bothered by the knitting too), I would just tell the person that I didn't realize it would be a problem at first, but I'm finding their phone use/knitting very distracting, and could they please not do it any more during meals with me.
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MrTango

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Re: phones at the table during dinner
« Reply #49 on: April 22, 2016, 03:09:05 PM »
Back to the initial topic (and actually applicable for people who would be bothered by the knitting too), I would just tell the person that I didn't realize it would be a problem at first, but I'm finding their phone use/knitting very distracting, and could they please not do it any more during meals with me.

Asking seems reasonable to me, but only if you accept that they may choose to comply with your request in a way you didn't intend:  If someone asked me to not do *task* while doing *activity with them*, I may choose to just drop *activity with them* rather than dropping *task*

gellchom

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Re: phones at the table during dinner
« Reply #50 on: April 22, 2016, 04:03:26 PM »
I don't think it looks nice to put your phone on the table when you are eating with people.  I have a dentist friend who always does it, and he says he has to be cause he is a medical professional and a patient might have an emergency.  Fine (although before we all had cell phones I never saw him give his name to a restaurant host in case he got a call), but you can still keep it in your pocket - even leave the ringer on if you want.  Putting it out on the table makes me feel like he is hoping someone more interesting will call.

MariaE

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Re: phones at the table during dinner
« Reply #51 on: April 23, 2016, 12:23:57 AM »
Back to the initial topic (and actually applicable for people who would be bothered by the knitting too), I would just tell the person that I didn't realize it would be a problem at first, but I'm finding their phone use/knitting very distracting, and could they please not do it any more during meals with me.

Asking seems reasonable to me, but only if you accept that they may choose to comply with your request in a way you didn't intend:  If someone asked me to not do *task* while doing *activity with them*, I may choose to just drop *activity with them* rather than dropping *task*

That's a really good point. Since knitting was brought up earlier (and to answer a question, I only use knitting where I don't have to count or look at it for social knitting, and I don't use metal or plastic needles, so the clicking is nearly impossible to hear), if somebody asked me not to knit while we're watching a movie together at one of our homes, I'd probably stop watching movies with them, or only do so at the movies instead.

That doesn't mean I think they're rude for asking, though. It's a non-rude response to a non-rude request and just means our wishes are incompatible.
 
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rose red

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Re: phones at the table during dinner
« Reply #52 on: April 23, 2016, 06:48:44 AM »
Doing other activities while chatting and socializing with friends and family is one thing (we've all watched tv or played cards, in a sewing circle, etc), but I sure hope nobody is knitting and playing phone games while at the dinner table. Because what's the point? Might as well take your dinner plate to different areas of the house (one kid can be in front of the TV, another can be in their room, a parent can work on bills, etc.)

EllenS

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Re: phones at the table during dinner
« Reply #53 on: April 23, 2016, 07:32:55 AM »
Doing other activities while chatting and socializing with friends and family is one thing (we've all watched tv or played cards, in a sewing circle, etc), but I sure hope nobody is knitting and playing phone games while at the dinner table. Because what's the point? Might as well take your dinner plate to different areas of the house (one kid can be in front of the TV, another can be in their room, a parent can work on bills, etc.)

I don't see how anyone could knit during a meal unless they use their feet. I took it as expanding to other social interactions.

But it appears OP's friend does do phone stuff during the meal. Part of the situation may be the divide between the perception of "home" vs."social" meals.

At my house, we have "reading dinner" 1-2 times a week, where everyone brings a book. Conversation also happens but is secondary. We'd never do that in a restaurant or with company or at someone else's house, but it's our home and we like it.

OP's friend is not just over for dinner - she's living there. She's having an "at home" dinner, where everything is more flexible. So it needs to be brought up directly but respectfully, as anything in a shared living situation.

Yvaine

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Re: phones at the table during dinner
« Reply #54 on: April 23, 2016, 08:13:03 AM »
I don't think it looks nice to put your phone on the table when you are eating with people.  I have a dentist friend who always does it, and he says he has to be cause he is a medical professional and a patient might have an emergency.  Fine (although before we all had cell phones I never saw him give his name to a restaurant host in case he got a call), but you can still keep it in your pocket - even leave the ringer on if you want.  Putting it out on the table makes me feel like he is hoping someone more interesting will call.

My guess is that having it on the table allows him to see at one glance whether the call is medical or not. If the display says it's just a random friend, he can hit ignore in one quick motion and get back to the conversation. With it in his pocket, he'd have to get it out every time it rang, just in case, which seems like it would be more disruptive.

PlainJane

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Re: phones at the table during dinner
« Reply #55 on: April 23, 2016, 08:38:06 AM »
I don't use metal or plastic needles, so the clicking is nearly impossible to hear),

sorry, but I have to ask...if your needles aren't metal or plastic, what are your needles made of?


athersgeo

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Re: phones at the table during dinner
« Reply #56 on: April 23, 2016, 08:44:30 AM »
I don't use metal or plastic needles, so the clicking is nearly impossible to hear),

sorry, but I have to ask...if your needles aren't metal or plastic, what are your needles made of?

Bamboo or wood of some description (my mother's just bought some birch wood needles)

menley

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Re: phones at the table during dinner
« Reply #57 on: April 23, 2016, 10:04:44 AM »
<snip>

OP's friend is not just over for dinner - she's living there. She's having an "at home" dinner, where everything is more flexible. So it needs to be brought up directly but respectfully, as anything in a shared living situation.

I think this is a really important point - for the time being, this is the (cousin?)'s home. How we behave at home, with family, is quite different than how we behave in a social situation.

As someone who is drained by social interactions, this was a real struggle for me when I was younger. There weren't as many discussions of introversion vs. extroversion at that time, and so I didn't really know what was going on, but I *did* know that after a long day of school and social interactions with others, I wanted to retreat into a book and not speak to anyone. When I did speak, I didn't want to talk about my day or me - I wanted to share something interesting I was reading in the book, because that didn't involve *me* and was somehow less draining. My family did not understand at all, as they craved social interaction during dinner, and often took my books away from the dinner table. It resulted in frustration for all of us.

I obviously don't know if this is the situation with the cousin, I'm just offering another perspective - but regardless, I think that treating this particular situation like a social interaction might be a misstep. Home should be a comfortable place, and I think some of the suggestions from various posters veer into the territory of instructing someone how to behave in their own home.

If it were me, I'd just have a casual conversation about it - note that I said conversation, not a statement or a dictation. I'd say that our preference was that phones not be at the dinner table, and why, and ask what the cousin thought about that. Open it up for discussion and see if she has a perspective you haven't thought about.

MrTango

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Re: phones at the table during dinner
« Reply #58 on: April 23, 2016, 01:14:18 PM »
I don't use metal or plastic needles, so the clicking is nearly impossible to hear),

sorry, but I have to ask...if your needles aren't metal or plastic, what are your needles made of?

Bamboo or wood of some description (my mother's just bought some birch wood needles)

LadyTango uses exclusively bamboo.  For her, it's because of the texture in her hands more than the noise, but they are definitely far quieter than metal or plastic.

Lula

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Re: phones at the table during dinner
« Reply #59 on: April 23, 2016, 02:24:15 PM »
Depending on her previous living situation, perhaps Cousin is used to eating meals alone while surfing the internet, watching TV, reading the comics, or otherwise engaged in a relaxing, solitary form of entertainment.  If so, the abrupt switch to "family meals" every day might be a huge shock to her, and she might be uncomfortable and afraid to express it.  Maybe you could let her know she isn't required to Have Dinner at the Dinner Table at Dinnertime with the Family--that she is welcome to go off and do her own thing and nobody would be offended?