I’m a woman in my early twenties, and I was recently in a situation that I’d appreciate some insight on.
I have a fairly large group of friends whom I’ve known since high school. Some of us have now graduated from college, but we still get together on a regular basis. A few people in this group have a bit of an obsession with their phones, and always have for as long as I’ve known them. Whenever we’re together, they’re constantly texting, checking social media, or playing games. It’s annoying, but I usually just shrug it off and focus on the people who are willing to give me their full attention.
Recently, I was out to dinner with this group of friends. After we’d all sat down, one friend suggested that we play the “phone game.” I’d never heard of the phone game, so I asked what it was. She explained that everyone puts their phones in a stack in the middle of the table, and if anyone takes their phone out of the stack to check it at any point in the meal, that person has to pay for everyone else’s drinks.
I had mixed feelings about this. On one hand, I appreciated the fact that someone was making an effort to get everyone to pay attention to each other instead of their phones. But on the other hand, we’re all adults. Do we really need the incentive of a free drink before we’ll put away our phones at the dinner table?
Another issue is that my job requires me to have access to my phone as often as possible. I’m a substitute teacher, and I often get calls in the evening asking if I’m available to work the next morning. If I don’t take the call, I potentially miss out on a day of work—and I’m paid by the day. Because of this, I do keep my phone on me during things like this, but it’s always kept on vibrate in my purse or pocket, I never take it out unless it rings, and I try to answer it as discreetly as possible.
I ended up declining to participate in the “phone game,” but I kept my phone in my purse for the duration of the meal. I also had a glass of water with dinner, and if I’d ordered something fancy I would have paid for it myself. (For the record, several people at the table ordered rather pricey cocktails, because “they weren’t going to be paying for them anyway.”) This did not sit well with some of the other attendees, who seemed to believe that I was just trying to get out of potentially having to buy everyone drinks. What do you think? Should I have played along? 0131-17
No, you did fine. Other people’s failure to restrain themselves from constantly checking their phones for texts and answering unnecessary phone calls does not constitute a reason why you must participate in a drinking game.