Smartphones, Rude People?

I love my smartphone as much as anybody.

I like being in touch with the people I care about when they need to reach me.

I also love being able to check in with friends/email/social media when I’m bored.

(While waiting at a doctor’s office, or waiting at an airport, or waiting for anything.)

My iPhone is with me always, unless I’m in the shower or swimming.

Yes … always.

[Although, I might silence it for special (!!) occasions.]

And OK, I admit – as much as I love my phone, it does stress me out sometimes to see the emails piling up on it.

But  people …?

Yes … YOU!

You’ve become damn rude.

Our whole society is getting to be self-absorbed, inconsiderate, and just plain bad-mannered.

It might have began when talking went out of style, in favor of texting.

As a shy introvert,

I admit, I really appreciate and love the convenience of texting.

Recently, I took this photo:

Photo:  We’re absorbed in our phones instead of having conversations with the people we’re actually with.

Taking the above photo really made an impact on me.

I keep coming back to it, staring at it, thinking about it, time and time again.

It made me start thinking about how smartphones have changed our lives, our relationships, our society.

Anyone who drives in Southern California knows there’s a big problem here with texting/emailing/smartphoning while driving.

It’s a HUGE problem.

We have seriously bad traffic here.  (It’s much worse in L.A., but The OC and San Diego have a lot of traffic too.)

People multi-task on their phones so their drive-time isn’t “wasted time.”

People swerve in and out of lanes because they’re distracted.

People only give driving a small fraction of their attention.

People get injured and sometimes die as a result of smartphone distraction.

I know you think you can multi-task flawlessly while driving, but guess what?

You’re the one who almost hit me today and you didn’t even know it because you were looking at your phone.

OK, so now you’re thinking, “Nope, it wasn’t me.  I never even glance at my phone while I’m in the car!”

First of all,

I call bullshit,

Particularly if you live in Southern California.

Second, let’s pretend you’ve never once glanced at your phone while driving ….

I think we, as a society, have an even bigger problem.

Do you text, or check email, or “glance” at Facebook (or Instagram, or Twitter, or Pinterest or anything else on your phone) when you’re with people?

And by with people, I mean in the company of other human beings you’re spending time with.

Yes, you do!

You’re rude.

How rude are you?

Well, the more often you look at the phone while in the company of Real Living People, the ruder you are.

It’s as simple as that.

(And no, I’m not claiming to be remotely perfect in this regard – but it IS something I really try to be conscious of and considerate about.)

When your phone gets your attention over the Real Living Person your with, you’re sending a strong signal to the Real Living Person.

The signal you’re sending is, “I’m inconsiderate, bad mannered, and rude.”

Yes, it’s true.

Don’t even get me started on people who talk on their phones (loudly) while in restaurants.

(And the reason why you can’t excuse yourself and walk outside for that Very Important Phone Call is …??)

Or people who sloooowww down to text while walking in a crowd –

Maybe even stopping completely, blocking the path of those behind them.

(Why do people always seem to do this right in front of the entrance/exit of escalators – or narrow grocery store aisles?)


Of course, there are times when we have to be on our phones while we’re with Real Living People.

Recently, I told a friend who stopped by for a visit:

“I just want to let you know upfront, I need to be checking my phone because I’m expecting an urgent message from my doctor.”

I felt (a little) less rude, for having forewarned the person I was with.

Perhaps, you’re at a meeting and everybody’s communicating via phones at the same time.

(BlogHer comes immediately to mind!)

There are, of course, situations that vary –

And exceptions.

But most of the time –

Being on your phone (in any manner) when you’re with Real Living People is just rude.

Very few things in our every day lives are THAT urgent.

OK – now it’s your turn!

What’s your smartphone (bad manners) pet peeve??

25 Responses to “Smartphones, Rude People?”

  1. Hoot

    It is illegal here (Victoria, Australia) to even TOUCH your phone while driving. You can have hands free but if they see you touching or holding your phone you get a massive fine and lose demerit points off your licence (12 points and you lose your licence).

    • Twenty Four At Heart

      They’ve recently begun giving tickets here if they see you on your phone. Of course, the law is rarely enforced so it does no good … and the fine isn’t nearly steep enough.

  2. Diane

    My husband and I just never went down that road of having to be connected to everyone at all times. We think it’s ridiculous and seeing people who can’t even back out of their driveway without picking up their cell phone while driving just pisses us off. People driving very slowly so they can talk while they drive, swerving as they talk while they drive, making illegal turns so they can talk while they drive. They all put US in danger along with everyone else. In some ways technology has simply gone too far, and I’d love to see everyone who talks on their phone while driving be stopped and fined and spend a night or two in jail for it. Seriously…. I know a blogger who’s granddaughter was killed in an incident last year because a driver was on her phone and rear-ended the vehicle killing the blogger’s grandchild who was in her car seat in the car the phone talker hit! For god sakes… when is enough enough? It makes me livid.

    • Twenty Four At Heart

      Phones and cars don’t mix. At some point, I think enough people will be injured and/or die and something will change …

      • Tiziana

        So much careless drivers in Malta, Europe. And the phones just add more to the reckless drivers. It’s shameful how irresponsible people can get.

  3. Gaelyn

    I hate the phone talkers while driving. And that would be especially scary in S CA. Plus what could be more important than the real live person you’re with. The smart phone is convenient but not necessary All the time.

    • Twenty Four At Heart

      I think you’ve hit the nail on the head –
      Phones can be fun. They can be convenient.
      Most of the time spent on them is not NECESSARY.

  4. Dawn

    My thoughts exactly! My husband has referred to me as the cell phone Nazi because I have been ranting about the same thing for years now. I feel that when someone does this in your presence, it’s not just saying, “I’m rude,” it’s saying, “Anything/everything/this person on my phone is so much more interesting than you.” I don’t think I will ever understand two people like the ones in your picture who are “spending time together” but are on separate phones the entire time. I’ve seen people doing this over dinner, coffee, etc. I live in Atlanta, where the traffic is also atrocious, so don’t even get me started on the texting and driving. I think it has become a much worse problem than drunk driving – I see someone swerving into other lanes of traffic every day not because they are drunk, but because they are stupid (I mean, texting).

    • Twenty Four At Heart

      Cell Phone Nazi – I love that! : )
      I agree phones and driving ARE a more prevalent problem and danger than drunk driving. (Because people are more educated about drinking and driving than they are about the use of phones while driving.)

  5. Crystal

    My pet peeve is those who are talking to me while they still have their ear buds/phones in and I can hear the music! They make a pause button for a reason!! How can you possibly hear what I’m saying over the music or while your ears are plugged with something!!

    • Twenty Four At Heart

      Ha ha – now that isn’t something I’ve seen a lot of.
      I might want to try that myself next time my husband starts lecturing me …!
      : )

      • Erica

        I always checked to make sure my children didn’t have earphones in before I lectured them. Those things are tiny.

  6. Jan's Sushi Bar

    I hate phones. I mean, I have a cell phone, a Droid, but I never use it. It frustrates Beloved to no end because I never have it on me, and it’s gotten to the point where the kids call him if they want to talk to me.

    • Twenty Four At Heart

      I’m that way with “real” phones. I won’t use them unless it’s my mom calling. At least a cell phone allows me to text and avoid “real” person to person interaction!

  7. David

    Nice post, Suzanne. I’m surprised someone hasn’t been defensive here about the practice.

    My wifey bought me a phone because we have a commute to work and we were caregivers for a couple years. Other than that, I am pissed when my phone buzzes. I find it intrusive and terribly annoying.

    In other words..phones suck and I believe half the population is actually addicted to them.

    I work in a University community and if I had a nickel for every student that was walking with a phone attched to their ear…I would fly out and take you to lunch. 🙂

    Keep up the good work…ox

    • Twenty Four At Heart

      Thank you David. I think the people who would do this probably justify to themselves why their phone behavior is okay or necessary. Yes, we are addicted to our phones … at least, just about everyone I know is!

  8. WebSavvyMom

    –>The people in my life know now that when we have friends and family over that I’m not going to be looking at my phone. It’s on the charger and stays there unless I actually need to make a call which rarely happens.
    I do admit I’m a red light texter/emailer/words with friends person but when it goes green I toss it on the front seat.

    • Twenty Four At Heart

      I think it’s really interesting to hear what different people, do and don’t do, to set their own personal phone boundaries in their life …
      Thanks for taking the time to share yours!

  9. Laura M

    I can’t take the loud talker no matter where we are. I won’t answer when I am “in” somewhere, I will send them a text if possible to let them know that I am somewhere I can’t talk at the moment. No body wants to hear your conversation, and I’ve heard some nasty rude ones. (along with my kids) and sometimes I just want to turn around and smack people. (the super busy air port is my pet peeve) if I HAVE to talk, I try to find a little corner to talk in where I won’t bother anyone else.
    Then there is the group of people that are hanging out together but they are all texting other people. WTH? Why are they together then. Duh!?

    • Twenty Four At Heart

      And don’t you just love it when someone is right next to a sign that says, “No cell phones!” while they talk on their phone?
      There always seems to be at least one ….

  10. Dorothy

    OMG. You have just hit my most detested pet peeve in this society. When you’re with someone and you ignore them to answer a stupid text, I am not happy, for me or the one you’re putting on the back burner. Apparently I am less important to you than the one texting you. In fact, I turn around and leave. Enjoy your conversation with the one you’re not with, I’m out of here.

    My kids are supreme examples of this. They are 30 and 32 and think I am wrong for feeling how I do. They are much better now when they are with me than they used to be. And they are not allowed to text while in the car with me, passenger or driver. YOU’RE WITH ME! BE WITH ME! Everyone else can wait!!!

    I really feel bad for the little ones I see as appendages for the parents who are texting madly and ignoring them as they sit in the strollers or wander behind them. No chatting, no laughing, no attention, just tap tap tap.

    I sat waiting for a table in a restaurant one time and across from me sat a family of five. Everyone single one of them had a phone, down to the ten year old, and was texting. No one talked. How sad is that?

    I drive all day. Truckers do this all the time. And they drive how many ton machines???? Scary. They turn corners in front of me with their phones in their hands, talking or texting. What???

    I think, wow people used to be able to look you in the eyes and pay attention, now it’s so divided. And really, how important is it that you immediately answer that text? Not. We used to wait until we got home to talk on the phone. (Yeah yeah we walked ten miles up hill both ways in the snow with no boots to get to school too lol – a favorite story from my father in law hehehe). Nothing is that important unless it’s a death or serious illness or a really good job offer. Blah blah blah. I could go on and on.

    Huge pet peeve. Sigh. Something is seriously missing anymore. Manners. Compassion. Respect. The ability to really focus on one thing at a time. Awareness of the world around you. Something.

    What are we teaching our kids…..

    • Twenty Four At Heart

      I have definitely hit a nerve! : )
      I have a friend with small kids and she actually went to a parenting class where they discussed being PRESENT in your own life and for your kids – putting the phone DOWN. It seems so obvious that we should be present in our lives, enjoy what we are actually doing, and the people we are actually with –
      It’s so obvious … but so many of us fail to do it.

      Technology changes so fast, and I DO love technology. I just hope that as it changes it will work with our lives in a way that will address some of the negatives it currently brings.

  11. Tiziana

    Oh my I hate this new tendency so much! I hate it that I meet with friends to “catch up and have a chat” and all the while they’re “catching up” with other people on their phones! And I hate how now it is getting all about our online life instead of our real life – people want to update every single silly thing they’re doing on facebook, they take pictures not to have a memory of their day, but to show everyone how much fun/exciting their life is.
    I love technology, heck I am a systems engineer in an IT company, BUT I have so far resisted having a smart phone. I have an old, phone from which I can call, text and take photos. But that’s it – no internet! And as long as it works, there’s no way I’ll upgrade.

    • Twenty Four At Heart

      It seems like something has to change at some point. Maybe it will get worse, before it gets better. I want to believe there will be some type of societal backlash though. If not, I think we’re headed to a sad place as a society.


Comments are closed.