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Author Topic: phones at the table during dinner  (Read 13299 times)

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Roe

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phones at the table during dinner
« on: April 18, 2016, 08:30:24 AM »
My awesomely, amazing cousin (who I love very much) moved to our new city and plans to stay with us for a few months while she gets acclimated to the area. It seems she's addicted to FB and social media. 

When we are having a simple dinner conversation, she'll be scrolling through her phone and add a few "ah ha's" to the overall conversation. She'll also click on a video and share it with us, whether we want to view it or not. 

Normally, it doesn't irritate me so much as when we are having dinner.  My family and I enjoy nice family conversations during dinner without our phones at the table. 

My cousin is an adult and I hesitate in admonishing or setting rules for adults, however, her phone is really disrupting the normal flow of our family dinner conversations.

Advice on how to address this? 

Another Sarah

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Re: phones at the table during dinner
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2016, 08:53:43 AM »
I think if you made a rule that "cousin can't look at her phone during dinner" that would be rude, but I don't think, that setting rules for adults is the same as setting house rules, particularly if someone is staying with you.

If you were to say "it's a house rule that no-one has their phone with them during dinner," I think that's perfectly ok. It's basically the same as saying "It's a house rule that we don't wear shoes inside" - i.e. something that is not generally considered rude to not have as a rule in your own home, but as a visitor, a heads up is appropriate and a guest should abide by it.

I guess it all depends on what you and your family do. If it is a house rule that there's no phones at the table, there's nothing wrong with telling your cousin so. If, however, you have your phones but just don't tend to look at them as often, I don't think you can tell your cousin her usage is too much because its higher than yours.

ladyknight1

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Re: phones at the table during dinner
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2016, 08:58:34 AM »
"At my house, no phones or other devices are allowed during family meal time."

It doesn't matter that she is an adult, she is staying with you.
ďAll that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost."
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Kaypeep

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Re: phones at the table during dinner
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2016, 09:00:37 AM »
Agreed that you should just tell her it's a house rule, no phones at the table.  You can express regret that you were remiss in stating it sooner, but you need to say so now because the phone usage at the table has gone beyond answering a call or checking for an urgent message and instead is a constant presence and distraction which is exactly the reason your family doesn't use them at the table during meals. 

Roe

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Re: phones at the table during dinner
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2016, 09:07:54 AM »
That's the thing, I should've stated this as a "rule" as soon as she arrived but it's been 2 months now so it would seem odd to all of a sudden have a rule she didn't know about. 

I kept hoping she'd take the hint or at the minimum, see how we "do" things and follow our lead. When she shows us a video, we redirect or just see a few seconds and continue on with our conversation.  When she talks about what people are posting on FB, we barely acknowledge. It's only when she fully engages in our conversation that we give her our undivided attention.


Hmmmmm

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Re: phones at the table during dinner
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2016, 09:14:50 AM »
I think I'd just go with "Cousin, I've hesitated to bring this up but you've probably noticed that none of us bring a phone to the dinner table. It's a house rule I should have mentioned when you arrived. Would you mind leaving the phone elsewhere during dinner?"

Mustard

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Re: phones at the table during dinner
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2016, 09:21:54 AM »
If your family has never brought phones to the table before, you've never had a house rule about doing so.  Perhaps you could tell your cousin that not bringing phones to the table is a new rule, as dropping hints/following your example wasn't working.

ladyknight1

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Re: phones at the table during dinner
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2016, 09:26:28 AM »
I didn't know my youngest sister was staying at your house! She doesn't get hints. Ever. She doesn't pick up cues. When you tell her something she didn't pick up, she gives a PA response. It's a joy.
ďAll that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost; The old that is strong does not wither, Deep roots are not reached by the frost."
-J.R.R Tolkien

EllenS

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Re: phones at the table during dinner
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2016, 09:31:20 AM »
I think I'd just go with "Cousin, I've hesitated to bring this up but you've probably noticed that none of us bring a phone to the dinner table. It's a house rule I should have mentioned when you arrived. Would you mind leaving the phone elsewhere during dinner?"

There's no need to get legalistic about whether it was or has been or is now a "rule."

It's not what you do at dinner. I'd go with Hmm's approach and just phrase it as ... "you've probably noticed none of us bring a phone to the dinner table. I didn't think to mention it when you arrived, but it's become kind of intrusive. Would you mind..." etc.

When someone is a guest for a day or two, you can just overlook things. When you're living together for months at a time, you have to talk about things.

SamiHami

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Re: phones at the table during dinner
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2016, 10:35:38 AM »
I don't see why you couldn't just be honest with her.

"Cousin, would you mind not bringing your phone to the dinner table? We have been finding it distracting. Thanks!"

What have you got? Is it food? Is it for me? I want it whatever it is!

Surianne

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Re: phones at the table during dinner
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2016, 12:23:10 PM »
I don't see why you couldn't just be honest with her.

"Cousin, would you mind not bringing your phone to the dinner table? We have been finding it distracting. Thanks!"

I agree, nice and clear, plus I think I'd respond much better to someone asking me than setting it up as a "rule".

lmyrs

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Re: phones at the table during dinner
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2016, 12:57:19 PM »
I don't see why you couldn't just be honest with her.

"Cousin, would you mind not bringing your phone to the dinner table? We have been finding it distracting. Thanks!"

Cousin is an adult, not a child. This is the only response I've seen so far that acknowledges that.

flyersandunicorns

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Re: phones at the table during dinner
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2016, 01:00:10 PM »
It's been 2 months, so you could justify that the first few weeks, you were giving your cousin some time to adjust and see how you typically conduct family dinners, which is without phones so you can have conversations. She may be uncomfortable and fidgeting because that's not the typical set up for how she grew up, we didn't have sit down dinners at my house so when I was invited for them at a friend's house, it was a culture shock. Granted, I would never imagine not noticing the social cues that they weren't on their phones and were chit chatting instead.

I'd mention it to her away from the table, to avoid public embarrassment. "Would you please stop using your phone during meal times? It's our time to catch up during the day and  it's distracting to the rest of us."

As someone who is addicted to social media and my cell phone is my direct life line to my over worked, career building partner, even I can put down the phone and enjoy a dinner with friends or family. Sometimes you just need a little poke and a nudge in the right direction.

Cali.in.UK

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Re: phones at the table during dinner
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2016, 01:28:14 PM »
I think I'd just go with "Cousin, I've hesitated to bring this up but you've probably noticed that none of us bring a phone to the dinner table. It's a house rule I should have mentioned when you arrived. Would you mind leaving the phone elsewhere during dinner?"

This is good. I think it is good to take some of the blame so that she doesn't feel attacked. I think if I were staying with someone and a few days into my stay, the host mentioned that something I was doing was being noticed in a bad way I might feel awkward so it is helpful to say the bolded.

Roe

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Re: phones at the table during dinner
« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2016, 01:55:32 PM »
I like the straightforward approach as well.  I'm still worried that she might feel scolded, no matter how casual or straightforward I say it.