4. No one wants to hear your conversation. When you must speak on the phone in public, remove yourself and take your call in private. If you cannot find privacy, step at least ten feet away so you minimize the chance of disturbing others. No matter how private we try to make our call, our body language speaks volumes. Patrons enjoying a dinner out do not want to be disturbed watching someone throw their arms around while arguing on their phone.
5. If you do miss a message, once your evening has ended, respond quickly to the person. If they are frustrated you did not immediately get back to them, politely say, “I was having dinner with my husband.” No other explanation is needed. There is never a time in life you should be at someone else’s disposal 24/7. If you have this type of relationship, then you are not in control of your own time. They control your time, and they expect you to stop whatever you are doing to respond. The only people I am available for around the clock is my family. Even then, if they text while I am at lunch with someone, I wait to respond unless it is time sensitive or an emergency. We have a rule in our family if it is an emergency, we pick up the phone and call instead of texting, because we have agreed we will not drop everything to check our texts.* Do not let an electronic gadget keep you from being present with others.
6. Do not use the cell phone as a crutch. People can be uncomfortable in social settings, and instead of engaging with those around them, they hide in a corner and surf their phone. The introduction of social media via the cell phone has caused society to lose a large portion of their social skills. It has become such a problem with job-seeking college graduates that many universities have brought back basic etiquette classes to help students increase these soft skills. Put your phone in your pocket and step out of your comfort zone. Make personal connections with those around you. A little small talk can go a long way!
7. One last tip. When it comes to family dinners at home, I suggest cell phones remain in another room. Mealtime around the table is vital to the mental health of our families. Do not let technology damage the precious few moments you have together each day. There is not much I find more heartbreaking than observing families at a restaurant where the children, and Mom and Dad, have their heads buried in their phones. Children desperately need quality time with their parents. This is not possible every day, but we should do our best not to squander the minutes when it does come. Imagine if you could spend a full hour, every day having quality dinner time with your child. What if you could do this every week, every year, until they turned eighteen. Yes, I mean you do not miss one meal together. Even with all this time, which seems an almost impossible task, this would total only 274 days in the life of that child. Time is fleeting. We do not always need a lot of it to have a significant impact, but God also warns us not to waste it. “So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity…” (Ephesians 5:15-16 NLT). “Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered— how fleeting my life is.” (Psalm 39:4-5 NLT). There is not much more important than being present with our families.
Together with you,
*I ran across an article with a few disturbing cell phone facts:
47% of Americans say they are addicted to their phones
70% check their phone within 5 minutes of receiving a notification
48% feel panic or anxiety when their battery goes below 20%
If any of the above resonate, my strong recommendation is you work to resolve this. It is not healthy. If we are parents and fall into this category, then we are also modeling this behavior to our children. Teaching children to personally interact with others is of the upmost importance. This will only happen if the PARENTS model this same behavior.
A study was conducted in a work environment where employees logged every minute of their day. The results were eye-opening. Although they were in the office 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, their recorded time showed they were only productive 3 hours a day. Why? They were so distracted with their phones because of a lack of organizational skills, along with no boundaries on their phone use, that they could not perform at their maximum ability. What happens to a business in this situation? The same tasks must be accomplished, so more people must be hired. Because of the outlay of expenditures, this usually means the business will soon be bankrupt. Why? Because the team did not function effectively. Folks, we must learn to put boundaries around our time and our phones and implement systems to help us live each day to the fullest. Let’s get back to spending our best life, and let’s start with those in our own home.
If you missed part one, read it here!