Re: Ask The Mineshaft: iPhones Ate My Friends

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Someone wrote this in anticipation of the meetup, huh?
STOP TRYING TO RUIN THE LIVEBLOGGING, OK???


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 10:20 AM
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Bonus points for answering this while having a drink with the OP.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 10:22 AM
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Actually, I wrote the answer and put up the post from my iPhone -- I'm trying to keep actually posting blog entries, rather than commenting, off my work computer. After all of the discussion of Alanis Morisette, I no longer know what 'irony' means exactly, but I sense it hovering in the neighborhood.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 10:24 AM
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1, 2 both win.

Blume has helped me learn that it is not, in fact, necessary to immediately look up more information about any given subject that arises around the dinner table.

Fascinatingly, my parents do not seem to have picked up this nicety of modern manners, and are constantly telling me that I should pull our my phone and google something in the middle of a meal.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 10:25 AM
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I recommend spamming them with needy texts until they pay attention to you.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 10:26 AM
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4: Huh, googling something seems like a conversational aide, rather than rudeness. I guess the line is whether your conversational partner wants to know about it, or if you just got curious. But this is coming from someone who turns to the OED when necessary to keep a conversation moving smoothly, so googling seems like an extension of the same thing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 10:29 AM
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4: Christ did I ever do that when the iPhone first came out. It has eliminated an entire class of conversations focussed on trying to recall tangential trivia.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 10:29 AM
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seems like a conversational aide, rather than rudeness

I never realized how many things get touched on in a conversation ("I wonder..." or "Maybe...") that I don't actually care about until Sifu got an iPhone.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 10:32 AM
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I was actually out just last week with a biologist friend, and got into an argument about which way the finger-length ratio as a predictor of manliness, or likeliness to be a lesbian, or whatever it means, went. IPhones were deployed to settle it.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 10:35 AM
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Sifu also used to be bad about wanting to look up random stuff while driving. This pretty much stopped after I explained to him how someday we were going to be lying dead on the road, and one of the EMTs would find his iPhone and say, Huh, I didn't realize that South Station was built in 1899.

(ST tells me I've told this story on unfogged before.)


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 10:35 AM
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To the OP: I'd try indirectly sending the new friends a message, so to speak. That is, arrange to have yourself phoned or texted during a gathering with said friends, and quite pointedly say, "Oh, excuse me, I don't want to interrupt the conversation, but this is something I do need to take, so excuse me for a moment."

Then step away to the other side of the room to have the conversation/do the texting. Upon returning, brightly say, "Sorry about that! I try not to do it, but sometimes there's something you just can't put off, unfortunately."

Is that last bit too much?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 10:37 AM
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I would just start texting the people at the table on topics related to what you had been talking about before.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 10:39 AM
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I haven't noticed a great increase in this behavior since the iPhone, and would say that it has decreased the number of conversations I've had that revolve endlessly around trying to remember this or that fact. Bave was there the night two of my college friends accused me of cheating at Scrabble, and we almost came to blows before they remembered that we can just look up the rules right then and there. Thank you, iPhone, for vindicating me.

The worst, to me, was when cell phones were first in use by some, and having coffee or dinner with certain people meant watching them take and place calls for an hour. That would seem impossibly rude now. It's irritating when someone texts through a conversation, but if it's a pressing matter, I can stand it better than listening to half of a phone conversation.

Also, it helps to have friends who are not super-driven business-y types who really, right now, have to return emails at all hours.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 10:40 AM
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Suggest outings to places with bad reception and no wi-fi, or else a taboo against texting like a theater. (Doing that indefinitely is not a viable solution, but anyone can probably find one or two such venues, right?) Afterwards you can make some half-joking remark about how you enjoyed talking to them even more without their phones present.

If they don't take the hint, or if they notice the lack of connectivity and object to it, or if they whip out the phones in the places with a taboo against it, then their personalities are incompatible with yours; stop hanging out with them. Telling them why would be strictly optional.

My girlfriend checks her phone a lot. However, it's often checking e-mail and texts and very rarely actually interrupting a conversation to type something, so I doubt it takes nearly as much time as Ludd's friends do. And it's sometimes work-related, and it's often something politics-related that I and other people might theoretically like to know about, so it's all good. This sounds like a completely different problem.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 10:41 AM
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The worst, to me, was when cell phones were first in use by some, and having coffee or dinner with certain people meant watching them take and place calls for an hour. That would seem impossibly rude now.

Yeah, maybe manners will evolve to the point where texting through a conversation will become more taboo than it is now -- this might just be a situation where you need a decade or so for manners to catch up with new tech.

I think you're right that googling for conversationally useful information is a different issue -- it might be annoying or not, depending on circumstances, but it's not checking out of interacting with your interlocutor in the same way.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 10:45 AM
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Oooh, this makes me so hurt and mad that I'm not at all reasonable on the topic. Mostly I'm mad because I feel like iPhones are plucking off my friends. Most technology I can ignore, but this one is actively turning people who used to be present and pay good attention into flighty rude people. They were different before they had iPhones, but now they don't even remember that it used to be incredibly rude to masturbate in front of people.

My avoider-self says to drop them and find people who can hold a focus for an entire meal. But other weirdos keep telling me that it is only fair to tell people what bothers you so they can change it if they want. Whatever, weirdos.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 10:49 AM
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Even googling for conversationally useful information is a withdrawal. If the iPhone person unilaterally decides that the group needed to know, I wonder whether they're feeding the jones or participating in the group.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 10:51 AM
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Suggest outings to places with bad reception and no wi-fi

Heh. The last time I spent time with my brother and a friend, we were primarily in a place with no reception. We went out to dinner one evening in a place with ... reception! And yes, the two of them whipped out their phones immediately.

The waitperson came by to ask for initial drink orders or whatever, and I joked to her: "I think we're not ready yet. We're all checking our phones together." This did get a bit of a guilty chuckle, and more or less worked. But that was my brother, someone close enough that I could be fairly blunt. I'm not sure I'd do that with new friends.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 10:51 AM
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Seems like a false dichotomy to me. I mean, surely the choice isn't between abruptly cutting off contact and telling the people they're being rude. The former would be absurd. It's a choice between different ways of telling them they're being rude. I'm not the most tactful person in the world, so don't put much stock in my advice, but I don't see what's wrong with: "Dude/Dudette! Join the conversation!"


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 10:51 AM
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Well, apart from the word "dudette", of course.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 10:52 AM
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Actually, my parenthetical makes me wonder how easy it really is to find such dead zones in coverage. I happen to live near a movie theater/restaurant/standup comedy joint, which is a cool place to go that explicitly has that taboo against cell phones and texting. And I work in a building with little or no cell phone reception which I'm not sure if it's intentional or not, and in college I spent a lot of time in the campus newspaper's office which also had crappy reception.

However, the office is not usually a good socializing option. Most people don't live near that awesome theater/restaurant place, and most movie theaters aren't good socializing places. So, could people, in the world of people who live in places with cell phone reception and wi-fi at all of course, find dead zones? Is anyone trying to cater to people who prefer dead zones?

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Is that last bit too much?

Sorry, but the whole thing sounds like too much. Maybe some people could pull it off, and if so, go for it, but to me it sounds really... catty?


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 10:55 AM
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19: I might be being overly pessimistic here, but I doubt that sort of light comment would change anyone's behavior -- that'd get you a momentary 'Whoops, I'll just finish this,' and two minutes later, they'd be back in their phones when the next text came in. I think this is a genuinely hard one to deal with.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 10:56 AM
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so, could people, in the world of people who live in places with cell phone reception and wi-fi at all of course, find dead zones? Is anyone trying to cater to people who prefer dead zones?

Basement restaurants, bars and clubs? Lead cladding showrooms?


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 10:56 AM
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it used to be incredibly rude to masturbate in front of people.

Wait, what?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 10:57 AM
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I'd try indirectly sending the new friends a message, so to speak

Or you could try directly sending them a message, as in a text reading "pls stop checking ur phone".

4ff.: The iPhone has exacerbated conversational conflicts with my wife, who is perfectly comfortable having long discussions based entirely on wonderings and maybes. We don't have to speculate, I think, because I have this here magical answer box! But she hates the phone and loves woolgathering, so I resist the impulse to reach for it.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 10:58 AM
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If you're not all inhibited about federal law, there are solutions, of course.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 10:58 AM
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I have a rule about conversations: In person trumps voice call which trumps texting which trumps email. Obviously there are exceptions for emergencies, but the more immediate and personal contact has to win out over the less immediate, less personal. And once you are involved in a conversation, be involved, not juggling the person you're talking to as if they were just another task in between doing the dishes and taking a shit.

To the question: Let them know that it is really boring sitting there waiting for them to finish texting, and really insulting that they stop in the middle of conversations to read texts. Mention the time dilating effects of being focused on texting, and how those effects don't apply to the people not texting.

If the behavior doesn't change, stop hanging out. If you, in person, are less interesting than a few lines of text on a screen then they are not your friends.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 10:58 AM
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It's true, LB. Look at what happened to Diogenes.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 10:59 AM
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Just carry one of these in your pocket.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 11:00 AM
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22 - From what I've seen, by the time people who generally have good manners are pulling their phones out at the table, they've rationalized that a quick text or search isn't bad manners. It has become normalized for them, so a light prompt isn't going to remind them of anything.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 11:00 AM
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26 kinda pwned 29, but I like to think I added value.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 11:01 AM
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actively turning people who used to be present and pay good attention into flighty rude people

I started to feel a little pride at never having owned a cell phone, but I was already flighty and rude so I guess it's a wash.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 11:01 AM
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24 - Checking your iPhone is self-gratification that the people around you can't join. Totally masturbatory.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 11:01 AM
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33: See Standpipe's other blog.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 11:03 AM
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Ohh! Sorry for explaining. I didn't realize you were objecting to the other half of the sentence. In California, it is considered rude to masturbate in front of people. New York must be different.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 11:04 AM
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to me it sounds really... catty?

Mm, I know what you mean. But what it's supposed to be is a demonstration of what you yourself consider to be the appropriate way to handle your cell phone during social gatherings. It makes sense to me in that regard.

It's true that it's indirect, which is a problem insofar as it may fail to achieve the desired result. It's mostly a first option, under the assumption that jumping straight to asking people to cut it out is dispreferred.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 11:05 AM
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New York must be different.

Only on public transportation, really.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 11:06 AM
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True confession time: I once posted an Unfogged comment from the Iphone just to make it look like I was handling an important work email, because everyone else at the dinner I was at was doing so, and because I had no actually important work emails to send.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 11:06 AM
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Checking your iPhone is self-gratification that the people around you can't join. Totally masturbatory.

Clearly, you're doing masturbation wrong.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 11:09 AM
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We have threatened to confiscate the portable communication device from our college freshman (now sophomore!) daughter. I know it's lame to have to be with one's PSUs during break, away from the only people who truly understand, but 30 seconds of eye contact won't kill you. Unless of course Medusa is your mom, or something.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 11:09 AM
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See, that's the thing. I suppose the whole group can decide that being on phones in each others' presence is fine. If everyone has a phone, and everyone wants to split their attention, everyone can just do that.

And if no one has a phone, then they can be delightful and witty and happy to be together.

But the middle ground is unstable. One person leads the way by looking up something for the group, and someone else takes that second to check the scores, and then it is all over.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 11:10 AM
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I get annoyed when other people text or read email when we're socializing, but I sometimes find myself doing it, too. The worst thing about owning an iPhone is that it's always tugging on my attention just a little bit -- do I have a new email? interesting tweets? a fun thread on Unfogged?


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 11:11 AM
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In California, it is considered rude to masturbate in front of people.

Blowing some guy by the window, by contrast, is perfectly OK.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 11:11 AM
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Cultural norms are subtle.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 11:13 AM
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If you are not holding people's attention, maybe you should try to be more interesting. Consider masturbating in public.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 11:14 AM
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Bave, would you be willing to leave it home? (Sincere question.) Would the evening be funner without that tug on your attention? If you weren't wrangling with that, could you relax into the occasion more?

Or does the thought of leaving your iPhone home feel really yucky?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 11:14 AM
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Consider masturbating in public.

You could become as interesting as this guy.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 11:16 AM
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I found the link in 26 funny as sort of a microcosm of government policy in different countries. Flatly illegal in most of Western Europe and Canada, but a few countries allow them in jails or are experimenting with police using them or whatever. France: they were legalized for a while in movie theaters, but banned again due to "complaints"; it reminds me of France's robust tradition of strikes at the drop of a hat. Nearly lawless plutocracies like Mexico or former Soviet Republics make them legal, or generally illegal but with pretty wide exceptions. China uses them to shut down towns completely to... prevent cheating on exams. Italy, Japan and the UK make them illegal to own but legal to use or vice versa. That seems completely insane, until you consider that it's basically the same as the pragmatic or compromise position on drugs or prostitution in many places.

United States: completely illegal, supposedly, but google "mobile phone jammer" and you'll find thousands of links telling you how to make them or are apparently selling them outright, including some sponsored links. So who cares?


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 11:17 AM
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It's true that it's indirect, which is a problem insofar as it may fail to achieve the desired result.

I'd be less worried about not getting my point across than about coming across like a condescending asshole. I certainly couldn't carry that off with any subtlety whatsoever.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 11:17 AM
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Checking your iPhone is self-gratification that the people around you can't join. Totally masturbatory.

Plus, you can't masturbate unless you check Unfogged for death notices in the first place. So that's like pre-masturbation masturbation.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 11:20 AM
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49: Oh. Huh. Most people I know step away to take a call or reply to an important email or text, prefacing it with just what I suggested ("Oh, excuse me ...") so it just seems normal to me to do that. I'm not sure why doing that is condescending, then. Presumably because it would be done to make a point.

I'd prefer the direct approach. It's really a question of how well Ned Ludd knows these new friends.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 11:27 AM
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51
I'm not sure why doing that is condescending, then. Presumably because it would be done to make a point.

Well, yes. Regardless of whether or not one successfully hides that one is being condescending, doing something to make a point is almost condescending by definition. You're suggesting that Ludd go out of his way to be rude in almost precisely the same way that these new friends are rude (leaving the table to take a call is less rude than taking it at the table but more rude than not taking it) and then rub their noses in it.

But just because I have a hard time imagining myself doing what you suggested without seeming rude doesn't mean it can't be done. Maybe some people are better at acting demure than I am.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 11:35 AM
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But would the friends prefer that to being dropped without explanation? What are the choices here?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 11:39 AM
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But would the friends prefer that to being dropped without explanation off a roof while on fire?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 11:40 AM
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Wow. You're totally aggro about this, M/lls. They're just texting.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 11:44 AM
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52: You're suggesting that Ludd go out of his way to be rude in almost precisely the same way that these new friends are rude (leaving the table to take a call is less rude than taking it at the table but more rude than not taking it)

True. In the ideal scenario, Ludd really has received a call that he must take. He then steps away from the table to take it.

I've said a couple of times that I don't really prefer the indirect approach I suggested, but would rather go for the direct approach. It's just that if Ludd feels he doesn't know the new friends well enough to just come out with it, such that he's considering the alternative of just dumping them, some kind of half-measure, something indirect, seems in order before proceeding straight to dumping them. That was my first thought.

On preview, what Megan says: What are the choices here?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 11:49 AM
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But would the friends prefer that to being dropped without explanation
off a roof while on fire?

in Wisconsin.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 11:58 AM
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Pausing during a conversation to google something isn't unreasonable (within limits); it's like pausing to pull a book from a shelf. But a friend of mine has a habit of suddenly having text or IM conversations in the middle of whatever dinner or conversation she's been having with me or someone else. That sort of thing is incredibly thoughtless and I would get up and walk away if anyone but that one friend did it to me. She gets sighs and eye-rolls. Sometimes I'll pull out a book.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 12:02 PM
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53
But would the friends prefer that to being dropped without explanation? What are the choices here?

I still like my 14 best: Ned should find a temporary lack of connectivity and then comment positively on it, probably in a self-deprecating way. I guess that too might be condescending by my broad definition of the term, but I can't imagine anyone being bothered by it unless Ned really goes out of his way or something. (For example, getting someone hospitalized because the local hospital doesn't allow cell phones would be going too far out of his way.) If finding a wireless dead zone for socializing is really impossible, then I'm afraid I have no useful suggestions.

A bit of wilderness might do it, depending on how remote a trip you're up for.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 12:04 PM
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Most people I know step away to take a call or reply to an important email or text

Nobody I know does this--at most you get an eyeroll once they've looked at the caller id, then they either answer it or they don't. I don't think Parsimon's apology would be seen as condescending, but rather quaint, and therefore a pedagogical failure.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 12:06 PM
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Wow. You're totally aggro about this, M/lls. They're just texting.

Why do you hate fun, Megan?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 12:07 PM
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A bit of wilderness might do it, depending on how remote a trip you're up for.

Canyons work well.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 12:08 PM
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But would the friends prefer that to being dropped without explanation
off a roof while on fire?
in Wisconsin
.net.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 12:08 PM
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I would invite these new friends of yours to come have a conversation with you out in the middle of the desert.


Posted by: Don | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 12:10 PM
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Bave, would you be willing to leave it home? (Sincere question.) Would the evening be funner without that tug on your attention? If you weren't wrangling with that, could you relax into the occasion more?

I would, in theory, be willing to leave it at home. In practice, I often go out after work, and I'm not going to leave my phone at home all day. Or I go out after going home or on the weekend but I need the phone for something -- maybe arranging with friends where to meet, maybe so I'll have something to read/listen to that fits in my pocket while I'm on the subway, maybe because I'm spending the night at my boyfriend's and want to be able to check my email the next day. And I do like being able to look up disputed facts at a bar (when everyone in the conversation is amenable), etc.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 12:17 PM
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Nobody I know does this--at most you get an eyeroll once they've looked at the caller id, then they either answer it or they don't. I don't think Parsimon's apology would be seen as condescending, but rather quaint, and therefore a pedagogical failure.

Things are worse than I thought, then, and addressing your attention to your phone is pretty much completely normalized. What to do?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 12:21 PM
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I recall hearing about a job candidate texting during an interview. Needless to say (s)he didn't get the position.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 12:25 PM
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Dude. We had one guy take a phone call while giving a presentation to thirty of us. For reals. He talked for three or four minutes, standing up in front of a room full of people.

Civilization is over.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 12:29 PM
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We have to do something about this.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 12:30 PM
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What to do?

RELEASE THE KRAKEN!


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 12:33 PM
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leaving the table to take a call is less rude than taking it at the table but more rude than not taking it

I disagree. Interrupting your face to face conversation for anything less than an emergency is ruder than all other options. By prioritizing someone who isn't there and who is more than likely calling about something that can be deferred (often permanently), you are sending an unambiguous message to your companion that they are simply not as interesting as the parts of your life that don't involve them.

You don't owe it to anyone to be instantly available 24/7, not even your kids (exceptions for nursing mothers only). If you're a business executive with lots of time sensitive issues that need immediate attention (you aren't, not if you're reading this) there might be a case for feigning a bladder condition so you can surreptitiously check messages. Even when you have important calls due to come in it's most often the case that you can call back in an hour or more without causing any problems.

Interrupting a conversation to read a text is IME a sign of either self-absorption and attention span issues, or a performance of "I'm a Big Shot!!!" social posturing.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 12:35 PM
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Populuxe, what keeps you from directly asking your friend to stop IMing in your presence? Fear of being rude yourself? Or knowing that it wouldn't work?

This is why I'm so sad about this type of addiction. I can ignore most technology; I successfully refused television and Facebook, for example. But this one is coming into my circles and turning my friends into different people.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 12:36 PM
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Right with you, togolosh. You don't have to take calls just because the phone rang.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 12:38 PM
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I have an idea. Where's Knecht? We need a trend in internet-free zones: bars and restaurants and parks and such featuring, and broadly advertising: no reception! It'll be like no-smoking zones! The advertising blueprint is right there.

Cyrus beat me to it up in 21 (i.e.Is anyone trying to cater to people who prefer dead zones?), but it took me a while to realize the gravity of the situation.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 12:42 PM
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71: While I'm largely with this, there's a dueling expectations problem for at least some people -- if you have people who are important to you who expect to be able to get your attention remotely and instantly, weaning them off that is difficult. (I kind of hate calling people's cell phones for the flip side of that reason -- I want to open my end of the call with an apology for intruding on whatever they were doing, and asking if I should hang up rather than interrupting. But this seems absurd, so I don't.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 12:42 PM
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Kudos to Cyrus, obviously.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 12:43 PM
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This is seriously a hard question?

"Would you mind not phoning/texting/googling/e-mailing/commenting on an Unfogged thread about commenting when we're having a conversation?"

Paraphrase as befits your personal style. (Kraab style: "Put the goddamn phone away before I put it away where the sun don't shine.") If you really hate even minor confrontation, you can soften it as much as you like, but this indirect, tiptoeing shit is ridiculous.

With some people -- bosses, in-laws, borderline personalities -- it might get tricky, but this is not such a situation.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 12:47 PM
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71
leaving the table to take a call is less rude than taking it at the table but more rude than not taking it

I disagree. Interrupting your face to face conversation for anything less than an emergency is ruder than all other options.

Yeees... so you disagree with me... in what way, exactly? You and I both say that not taking the call is the least rude of my three options. And whether you leave the table or take a call at the table, you're still interrupting a face-to-face conversation.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 12:48 PM
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||

This is why I'm so sad about this type of addiction. I can ignore most technology; I successfully refused television and Facebook, for example.

By the way, Megan, I sent some recommendations for movies that I think you might enjoy to the rhubarbpie account.

(Sorry, but the irony was too much for me to resist)

|>


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 12:49 PM
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How difficult is difficult? Is difficult:

Telling them that your phone will be off all evening, and hearing some complaints?

Is that too difficult? Because it seems like you could establish that norm within a few tries. Any level of whiny-ness in response is too much? Or do you think it would cause meltdowns that aren't worth the freedom of a few phone-less hours? Or, basically, people don't want to be untethered, so it isn't worth any pushback at all?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 12:49 PM
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Thanks, NickS. I haven't looked there in weeks, but now that I know I have recommendations waiting, I'm excited for it.

Are they sports movies? I only watch sports movies.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 12:51 PM
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Kraab style: "Put the goddamn phone away before I put it away where the sun don't shine.") If you really hate even minor confrontation, you can soften it as much as you like, but this indirect, tiptoeing shit is ridiculous.

But LB says that commenting on rudeness is ruder than the first rudeness.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 12:52 PM
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Interrupting your face to face conversation for anything less than an emergency is ruder than all other options.

You don't have to take calls just because the phone rang.

I'm generally in agreement that texting/emailing/taking calls is rude, but in the case of, say, the babysitter, I can tell it's less than an emergency without answering her call how exactly? I do say "Excuse me" before looking at my ringing phone to see who's calling.


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 12:52 PM
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Oh, it's doable -- it's just that for a fair number of people, they have family/friends/boy-or-girlfriends who will perceive being told that the phone will be off for big chunks of time as rude in itself. They're wrong, but that doesn't mean they won't think you're a rude person for not being available.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 12:53 PM
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And I'm off to swim.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 12:53 PM
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Are they sports movies? I only watch sports movies.

They are!!


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 12:54 PM
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"You're really rude to be texting" is a comment on rudeness. "Would you mind . . . ?" is an eminently reasonable request. Miss Manners will back me on this.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 12:54 PM
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84 to 80. To 77 and 82, I suppose doing it as "This bugs me" rather than "This is rude" would be pushy but doable. But you're right, I have a very strong taboo on correcting another adult's manners; I'd stop interacting with someone before I told them they were rude, except for family and real intimates.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 12:55 PM
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Sir Kraab, check your e-mail.


Posted by: Miss Manners | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 12:55 PM
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it's just that for a fair number of people, they have family/friends/boy-or-girlfriends who will perceive being told that the phone will be off for big chunks of time as rude in itself

We look to you, LB, to raise the next generation better than this.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 12:56 PM
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78: I disagree with my misreading of your statement! I am willing to fight if necessary! Pistols at dawn! Unless I get a call, in which case you'll just have to wait a few minutes before shooting me.

Sorry about that.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 12:56 PM
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89: As soon as I finish googling something for the person I'm IMing with about an e-mail I got from a Facebook friend.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 12:57 PM
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90: Oh, if mine are modeling on me, they'll hate and fear any sort of phone, including landlines.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 12:59 PM
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Marry me, LB.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 1:00 PM
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If I remember back that far, I think you're in line after Ogged.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 1:02 PM
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83: I think there's a blanket exception for cases where you warn the other parties involved that you might have to take an important call. If your partner is on the verge of having a baby, or you are on the donor list for a new kidney, or your kid is being kid-sat, mentioning it beforehand is a get out of jail free card, IMO.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 1:04 PM
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I'd stop interacting with someone before I told them they were rude, except for family and real intimates

Yeah, I hadn't thought about it until just now, but I think I have the same thing. Maybe LB and I are secret midwesterners.

I don't really find the texting/emailing/whatever to be more than a fairly minor annoyance. I guess if it was really effectively making conversation impossible, then it would make conversation impossible, but I can't think of that ever actually happening, and normally it doesn't really bug me that much. Certainly not to the point of demanding that a friend stops texting in order to converse with me -- I mean, how do I know exactly what my friend is waiting for a message about?

(I could totally be an outlier here)


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 1:05 PM
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what keeps you from directly asking your friend to stop IMing in your presence?

Partly it's a dislike (fear) of chiding or nagging and partly a suspicion that it wouldn't make much difference anyway. Anyway, it's a gaucherie that I mostly overlook with that person, like a mildly unpleasant BO.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 1:06 PM
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The second video here is on topic and awesome.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 1:06 PM
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You might just have well-controlled friends. This isn't something that gets to me in small doses -- a very occasional text or whatever, I still think is kind of rude, but I don't really think about it or get annoyed. But I do know some people where a sizable chunk of their attention is on the other end of their phone at all times; say, an average of at least one interruption every five minutes or so.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 1:07 PM
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LB, check your e-mail.


Posted by: Kobe | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 1:10 PM
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how do I know exactly what my friend is waiting for a message about?

The OP is about chronic texters. I'm more than willing, as I imagine most people here are, to allow for the things togolosh lists in 96 (hereinafter to be known as The Togolosh Exceptions) or for the occasional "I'm waiting for a message that I have to tend to right away."


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 1:12 PM
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Thinking about it, I may have just become inured to the rudeness by spending time with lawyers who are checking their phones like every 10 minutes. I can think of a few people who do this so incessantly that it is actively annoying, but I guess I've just come to accept the constant texting as a necessity of modern life.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 1:13 PM
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I'm surprised no one has yet mentioned the Ask/Guess distinction, which seems to be behind a lot of this thread.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 1:17 PM
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103: I do think there's an exception for people in jobs where they really are on call (some, but by no means all, lawyers) so long as they're minimizing the attention splitting -- checking to see what a message is as it comes in, and then apologizing and dealing with it only if they have to.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 1:25 PM
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an exception for people in jobs where they really are on call

MDs, 1st responders of all sorts, plumbers. I tell anyone who cares to listen that I carry a phone for my convenience, not so that I can be availed upon 24/7. Sometimes I don't pick up. Nothing personal.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 1:35 PM
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OT: Check it out: Rauchway writes novels now.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 1:40 PM
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Perhaps if the texter dropped to one knee first...


Posted by: Mo MacArbie | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 1:41 PM
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I have (more than once) asked people in a complainy way to stop texting and pay attention to me. Like, by saying "I wish you would stop playing with your phone and pay attention to me!" Then I would scowl at them and/or kick their shins under the table if they did it again, cause I am super mature like that.

It definitely worked in the short term. Long term, I dunno. I haven't actually noticed this being a pervasive problem with my friends, so I've only noticed it a few times ever. Probably because I am a master shin kicker and they're all afraid.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 1:44 PM
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105: When I was a reporter I at least looked at the number whenever someone called me, and even if I was with someone I would usually take the call as long as I wasn't in the middle of something really private or weird like that. However, the first thing out of my mouth in the phone call would be "Hi, thanks for calling me back, I'm actually in the middle of something else right now, sorry, is there another time coming up when [I could call you/we could meet in person]?"

Consensus here seems to be that even that much attention to the phone call is rude if I was hanging out with someone at the time. Fine, fair enough, sometimes it's fun to show off how important I am even if it's rude. And I might have been more willing to put work on hold if I was better organized or more experienced, but I wasn't. Too often, I was too late about getting stuff done or too unsure about what something would really mean. If I been more on top of things, or if I had the experience necessary to know when I could let things go, maybe I should and would have ignored phone calls until later.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 1:51 PM
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109: Looks like this is Ned Ludd's solution!

Hire E. Messily to kick your friends' shins.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 2:00 PM
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110: I might not be thrilled about your taking calls in those situations, but I'd be fairly well mollified by your explanation. And answering the phone in order to ask "is there another time we could talk?" is sooo much more reasonable than when people say, "I can't talk now, I'll call you later." Then why did you pick up the damn phone?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 2:02 PM
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110: I'd let you off the hook for that, under the 'genuinely on call' exception. You might have only been genuinely on call because you were inexperienced and uncertain, but still, if you felt there was a real risk that you'd miss something important and you were quick about getting back off the phone, that doesn't seem bad to me.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 2:03 PM
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I have a general problem with people who can't keep the thread of the conversation because they're easily distractable. Many of my friends are this way, so it's not a dealbreaker, but there's a certain kind of conversation in which one is trying to communicate something sort of intimate, or funny, or meaningful, and at just the wrong moment, your interlocutor sees something not very interesting that she wants to point out, or he wants to know how his hair looks and whether he should get it cut. Sometimes those people are trying to say, "You are not as interesting as you think you are." But others are, in fact, deeply invested in what you're talking about; they just want to get back to it in thirty seconds after you've discussed the not-interesting thing or the hair.

Depending on how much I like the person and how much I believe that person likes me, I'm willing to put up with a lot of distraction. I was just talking to one of these friends here at work. He takes a lot of getting used to, because of the interruptions, but eventually I figured out that he always comes back to showing a real interest in what we were talking about. I just have to learn not to be thrown by it.

But if it's someone I don't really have a deep mutual admiration for, I'll play the "Oh, the moment has passed" line when they try to get back to the original topic. And I probably won't be friends with them for very long. I don't think they're bad people; we're just not compatible, and it's too much work.


Posted by: AWB | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 2:07 PM
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* Would you text or take a call from your s/o if you were in a corporate meeting with your boss?

* Do you prefer hanging out with your boss or your friends?

* Therefore, why do you not extend the same courtesy to people you like as to people you only tolerate because they pay you?

Personally, I'd put it as bluntly as that. But then I don't have many friends and I'm not obsessed with collecting more (see remarks re. Facebook elsewhere).


Posted by: OFE | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 3:04 PM
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Because my boss might need less of an excuse to stop paying me than my friends would to stop liking me?


Posted by: Mr. Blandings | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 3:33 PM
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Actually, Blandings, we've been meaning to bring that up...


Posted by: Your Friends | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 3:51 PM
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106: I tell anyone who cares to listen that I carry a phone for my convenience, not so that I can be availed upon 24/7. Sometimes I don't pick up. Nothing personal.

I take this approach as well.

I believe a number of us weighing in here are, uh, older people. To what extent is the chronic texting behavior outlined in OP a phenomenon among the younger (20-something) crowd?

With respect to the suggestion upthread that Bave just leave his phone at home: I suggested a variation on that to a young (early 20s) woman who was complaining about how much her texting friends were perpetually intruding upon and interrupting her life, so she just couldn't get a rest! I asked whether she might not just turn her phone off: it has some kind of power button, right? She was stunned by the novelty of the idea, and declared to her boyfriend -- a good friend of mine -- a short while later that I was some wise woman indeed, amazing in my clarity of thinking, &c.

Good grief. I confess I thought at the time that she was a ditz, but maybe this really is the new reality among the younger crowd. I guess I'm still marveling over it.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 3:52 PM
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My cohort don't text. We're afraid of our phones.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 4:14 PM
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* Would you text or take a call from your s/o if you were in a corporate meeting with your boss?

I do this all the time. Often it is in the form of Kraab's hated "I can't talk now, I'll call you later."

Conversely, I interrupt conversations with Fleur to answer emails from the boss.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 4:22 PM
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My cohort don't text either. We don't see the point. We're still at the point at which we get annoyed if someone's answering machine is full. That gets an eye-roll.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 4:23 PM
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Has anyone here installed custom ring tones so that you can tell without looking who is calling you (the newer phones seem to all have this feature)? I'm thinking of installing one for Fleur and one for the boss (the two calls I always take). Suggestions for melodies welcome.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 4:25 PM
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The Wife

The Boss


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 4:29 PM
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Suggestions for melodies welcome.

Surely that's a highly personal decision, Knecht. I might go for "Bong" for the one, and "Bong-Bong" for the other, but you know, that's me. I might consider varying the punctuation: "Bong?" versus "Bong-Bong!"

Or Ding. Or Tringaling. There's always "Bzzzt", but that would get on my nerves fairly quickly. Not recommended.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 4:34 PM
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when people say, "I can't talk now, I'll call you later." Then why did you pick up the damn phone?

So that it doesn't keep ringing and ringing and ringing and then the person doesn't call five minutes later and then ten minutes later. This seems pretty obvious.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 4:35 PM
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125: There's this thing called "voice mail" and this other thing called a "mute button".


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 4:43 PM
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My phone doesn't have a mute button that I know of. And perhaps the person wants to be alerted of calls from one person, while simultaneously not wanting repeated ignored calls from somebody else.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 4:46 PM
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127: These are solved problems. Really.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 4:49 PM
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Isn't there a vibrate setting? I have the most primitive phone you can imagine (no internet capability, pay-as-you-go minutes), and it has a vibrate setting, which I admit is unsettling in use, as well as a volume setting for the ringtone which can be set to, like, zero volume.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 4:51 PM
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You mean a "throb" setting.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 4:55 PM
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I liked my old phone (a G3ish sidekick) mostly for its fancy lightshow. You could have it silent but still have different colored light flashes that would tell you about different kinds of messages. Also good for dance parties.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 4:58 PM
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Anyway, why is it that some people dislike talking on the phone but like texting? I get it if you're just painfully shy, but if you're fine with in-person communication, isn't talking on the phone a better substitute than writing a sentence or two?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 4:58 PM
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You mean a "throb" setting.

I thought you didn't do cell phones, Megan.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 5:01 PM
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Somewhere on the internet there's a video that neatly ties together 43 and 130, but I'm not going to try to find it from my work computer.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 5:03 PM
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123: I was looking for something a *little* more subtle.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 5:11 PM
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I'm firmly of the opinion that phones shouldn't ring. Everyone's phone should always already be on vibrate, in any public place.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 5:12 PM
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136: My ringer is always off. I check my phone periodically and call folks back (or not).


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 5:14 PM
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I promised Anand I'd get one if he moved here. Then he moved here and I had to follow through. Mostly, I like it. If it went away, though, I could adjust back pretty easily.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 5:15 PM
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AWB, distractible friends: are they possibly fluttering because of the stress/eustress of Meaningful Revelation?

Not Prince Hamlet, what I like about text/email is the asynchrony. I do not want to interrupt someone. I do not want them to answer me without suitable thought. Likewise, I can wait five minutes to answer a text, without bashing through my voicemail. (Hate voicemail. Loathe answering machines.)


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 5:16 PM
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122: Suggestions for melodies welcome.

I use old video game music and sounds. I ripped from modern arcade collections.

m, robotron is strangers


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 5:18 PM
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Suggestions for melodies welcome.

I used to have my phone set up to play "Master of Puppets" whenever Magpie called.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 5:19 PM
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(Of course, that was my default ringtone. Now I use the relevant portion of this.)


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 5:21 PM
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No more masturbating to Mercury.

139.last: I get the value of text for a quick exchange of short messages, but that doesn't explain why people try to carry on extended conversations.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 5:28 PM
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143.1: Shit, back to K-Y I guess.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 5:33 PM
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143.1: Freddie? What?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 5:40 PM
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142: I'm assuming it's the "Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrring!" part but also hoping it's got some of the "Yip Yip! in there, too.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 6:10 PM
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why is it that some people dislike talking on the phone but like texting?

1. Some people find it actively more work to manage the conversational pauses when the other person is invisible. It's harder to avoid stepping on someone else's sentences (or feeling like there is "too long" a pause) when you have no body language to help.

2. It's also more mental work to hold someone's image in your mind as you talk to them on the phone. I really don't think people do as much cognitive work to maintain the other person's image when texting or e-mailing. (N.b. I have done zero brain studies on this.)

3. Texting is less of an emotional minefield if you are communicating with someone who is hypersensitive to tone of voice. (Not to say that there can't still be misunderstandings, but not the kind of "You sounded bored when you said 'I love you!'" kinds of tiffs.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 6:13 PM
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141: Argh, that reminds me that a very dear friend has a ringtone for me set to Taylor Swift. I cannot fathom why on earth she ever felt this was appropriate, nor am I happy about the fact that she didn't immediately change it upon request. Maybe it's time to ask again.

(Not that there was anything wrong with your ringtone, Josh -- just triggered my "People who have different ringtones for different callers" memory.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 6:16 PM
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(N.b. I have done zero brain studies on this.)

Do you do many brain studies?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 6:16 PM
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Really, neb, why else would I spend so much time here?


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 6:20 PM
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I cannot fathom why on earth she ever felt this was appropriatesee a resemblance. Or at least I can see how someone could see a resemblance.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 6:29 PM
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Let's try that again.

I cannot fathom why on earth she ever felt this was appropriate

Uhh, I kinda see a resemblance. Or at least I can see how someone could see a resemblance.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 6:31 PM
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I use old video game music and sounds

Knecht, you can use the dying Pac-Man sound for Fleur or your boss, as you see fit.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 6:35 PM
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The obvious solution to this is to get an Etch-A-Sketch pad.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 6:35 PM
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153: I was thinking more along the lines of Chopin's Marche Fun├Ębre. For one or the other, anyway.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 6:39 PM
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Perhaps this for Fleur.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 6:44 PM
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I suppose if I were to make a distinct ringtone for eekbeat, I could take it from this show's opening, which show I'd completely forgotten about.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 6:51 PM
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I thought you didn't do cell phones, Megan.

All she said was throb, not necessarily talking about a phone.

I am still pissed about having my phone washed. It had recordable ringtones, mine was my 6-year old son saying "telephone!"

Now my phone is silent, throb only.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 6:54 PM
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146: But of course.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 7:15 PM
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why is it that some people dislike talking on the phone but like texting?

Because it is SO much faster. No bullshit chitchat. Just "where do you want to meet & when?" "3 pm library" "k". Done.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 7:15 PM
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143.2 to 160.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 7:24 PM
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I think I might have commented here at the time when someone was trying to carry on a conversation with me via a series of text messages, so I called her and she answered with "why are you calling me? just answer my texts!". That was when I realized I was out of step with the cultural norms.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 7:37 PM
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I've sent maybe five total text messages in my life, although I send short emails from my phone semi-regularly, which I guess is not so different.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 7:38 PM
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I'm baffled by texters who don't use T9. What are you wasting all that time for?!


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 7:43 PM
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To me, texting/answering calls really depends on the friend and the context. There are some people who I would not ever do it with, and there are some conversations that I wouldn't dream of interrupting by answering the phone. But there are others where, well, we quite literally, um, just hang out. Like, when we get together we act like roommates. Conversation isn't always happening. In which case, someone answering a phone, whatever, seems quite normal.

(This comes from the person who hides from her phone most often.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 7:48 PM
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I hate the phone, so I never answer mine in public and leave it on vibrate all the time. I used to not really see the point of texting, but I've found that it can be really convenient for short exchanges of information like heebie says, and while I wouldn't really like to conduct a long conversation by text it sounds much more pleasant than conducting a similar conversation over the phone.

I do often get annoyed when people spend all their time texting in social situations, but on the other hand I'm not all that invested in keeping conversations going so it doesn't always bother me.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 7:52 PM
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I picked my mom up at the airport today. She has a cell phone that she only uses when she travels.

She called as I was turning into the airport, and I couldn't hear her, so I called her, and got her voicemail. I was like "OH NO! SHE'S LEAVING ME A MESSAGE!"

(Never leave me voicemail. Never ever.)

So then I have to dial in, listen to the stupid options, listen to a rambling message, while circling the airport looking for her.

Then I call her (repeatedly), and she doesn't answer. (She had the volume down, while in the noisy airport passenger pick up area.)

Finally she called back. We established that we were both looking for her and that I was close...and then she hung up on me. Even though we hadn't quite located each other yet. I got reprimanded for getting out of my car without having a passenger immediately ready to load. And on and on.

But I'm glad she's here.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 8:06 PM
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(Never leave me voicemail. Never ever.)

I'm down with people having this rule and stating in firmly in their outgoing voicemail message. I have more than one friend who has something like, "You've reached my voicemail, which means I was unable to take your call. Please do not leave a voicemail. Rather, text me or e-mail me. I will respond much more promptly." It's kind of dick-ish, but it works as far as expectations-setting goes.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 8:12 PM
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139.1: Not in the cases I'm thinking of. They're all very intimate friends with whom I often find myself having mutually revealing conversations. And they tend to remember and care about the things we talked about and bring them up later, so it's not like they don't care. They just don't mind a brief interruption or 12.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 8:28 PM
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To me, texting/answering calls really depends on the friend and the context.

Have you no integrity?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 8:35 PM
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"You've reached my voicemail, which means I was unable to take your call. Please do not leave a voicemail.

On my work outgoing phone message, I go one step further and say that I do not check my voicemail whatsoever, and so if you want to get a hold of me, email me.

This is because 1) my phone does not indicate if I've got messages 2) every phone gets several automated messages a week, saying things like "If you have student workers, remind them that timesheets are due." So every week I'd have to delete 4-5 bullshit messages as I determined if there were any legitimate messages. Fuck that.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 8:42 PM
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171: Not recommended for people in pretty much any other line of work.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 8:49 PM
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So then I have to dial in, listen to the stupid options, listen to a rambling message

Never having to do this again is what made me get an iPhone.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 8:51 PM
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If I felt it was inappropriate, I'd have to get another phone. Having to dial in, get told you have 5 messages, and then have to delete 4 weekly bullshit messages to get to the 5th is intolerable.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 8:51 PM
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So then I have to dial in, listen to the stupid options, listen to a rambling message

Never having to do this again is what made me get an iPhone.

Or Google Voice!


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 8:56 PM
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173, 175: How does that work?


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 8:58 PM
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176:

iPhone: Visual voicemail. Only play the messages you want to hear, delete the others unheard.

Google Voice: Get emailed a (usually inaccurate but comprehensible) transcript of every voicemail, play/delete through a web interface.


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 9:06 PM
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177: Does either deal in multiple languages? I receive a fair number of voicemails in Spanish (and occasionally Québécois French or Portuguese, which is usually hopelessly unintelligible to me anyway).


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 9:21 PM
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Well, iPhone doesn't do transcripts. It just shows you a list of who each call is from.

I don't know if Google Voice does other languages, but even if you get an incomprehensible transcription (which happens often enough in English) you can listen to the audio.


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 9:25 PM
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My iPhone craving swells. Come to Sprint, iPhone. Do it.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 9:34 PM
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So if one is getting just about fed up enough with one's carrier to switch, who's currently offering the best combination of service quality, pricing, and being slightly less evil than their competitors?


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 9:39 PM
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181: My singular experience with Sprint has been excellent, but, based on horror stores I've heard, I understand that I may be their sole satisfied customer, so probably not them. Or anyone. Best get a burner and stay beyond the ears of the Western, Omar.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 9:43 PM
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IIRC, Sir Kraab vouched that Sprint has unionized workers.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 9:48 PM
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What does Quebecois Portuguese sound like?


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 9:49 PM
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Not recommended for people in pretty much any other line of work.

As I've told several people at work, if my work phone ever rings it's a mistake.

(That said, I did finally get an actual voicemail recently -- more than a year after we moved into this office -- and discovered that our VOIP system will e-mail me a .wav of the message.)


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 9:50 PM
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I might go for "Bong" for the one

That bubbly-inhaley sound would be a pretty cool ringtone.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 9:54 PM
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182: Sprint's service quality was pretty good when we were with them, but their billing and customer service were unspeakably bad. But that's been several years ago, and I have the vague impression that they've had a lot of management turnover in the interim.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 9:55 PM
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What does Quebecois Portuguese sound like?

WHO THE FUCK CARES? "FOR ENGLISH PRESS ONE" OPPRESSES ME!


Posted by: OPINIONATED ARIZONA | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 9:57 PM
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Fuck it, let's just have the Israelis and Palestinians flip for who moves to Arizona.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 10:00 PM
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I need to mention Nextel push to squawk phones are very extra annoying, though now are becoming rare.


Posted by: E | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 10:03 PM
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... These are people who otherwise have good manners, which means that they've either forgotten this is rude or are too addicted to care. ...

It isn't rude if it is acceptable to the group. Since you are the newcomer it is more up to you to adapt to the group norms than vice versa. If you find this completely intolerable then you should avoid this sort of gathering. But it seems like something you might get used to.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 06- 2-10 10:23 PM
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53: The two hospitals I visit the most have free wifi!


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06- 3-10 7:00 AM
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190: Do you mean the walkie-talkie mode things? Those seem to be used entirely by young men carrying on loud and inappropriate conversations in crowded settings. It's peacocking, I guess. The best bit is that said young men inevitably hold the phone at near arms length because it's too damn loud to have closer. The inventor of that system should be shot.

132: Anyway, why is it that some people dislike talking on the phone but like texting?

I dislike the added mental strain of talking to someone without visual and other contextual cues - it just makes the whole conversation that much more demanding. There's also the fact that in a voice conversation being brief reads as rude. To me the biggest advantage is that texting is polled and voice is interrupt-driven. I don't have to deal with a text right as it comes in - I can finish whatever I'm doing and devote full attention to the reply, which I have time to shape into exactly what I mean. A five minute pause in a text conversation is no biggie - in a voice conversation it's horribly awkward.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 06- 3-10 7:08 AM
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You'll all be glad to know that there was much soul-searching last night about whether liveblogging comprises a rude use of an iPhone. Fuck no, says I.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 3-10 7:18 AM
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118
I believe a number of us weighing in here are, uh, older people. To what extent is the chronic texting behavior outlined in OP a phenomenon among the younger (20-something) crowd?

Well, I'm 27, so apply that context to all my comments here so far. I'm not a chronic texter. Come to think of it, the people who text me the most and vice versa are significant others - maybe that's a gendered thing, maybe it's my idiosyncrasy or maybe it's just chance, who knows - so it wouldn't be too much of an issue anyway, I think.

132
Anyway, why is it that some people dislike talking on the phone but like texting?

I used to hate texting. Then I began seeing a lot more of a friend who talked way too much for me. Maybe it was all in my head, but I always felt awkward cutting off a phone conversation. Texting made it easier to get to the point and end it. Now I text more freely. Basically, 160, but there's a specific person I blame give credit to for this attitude.

147.3
(Not to say that there can't still be misunderstandings, but not the kind of "You sounded bored when you said 'I love you!'" kinds of tiffs.)

For me, this problem is easy to avoid: I would never, ever find myself saying "I love you" to someone who could possibly have that reaction to it. Ugh.

160: Do you often get voice mails in languages you don't understand? What's the point? Surely they can't expect a reply if they know you.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 06- 3-10 7:25 AM
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My doctor friends get beeped. They don't spend that much time reading blogs, but when they're on call, they have to leave. Most of them are good about warning that they're on call and may not be able to give their full attention.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06- 3-10 7:25 AM
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My BF never checks the voicemail, so it's silly. He always just calls back, because checking voicemail eats up minutes, but talking to "friendss and family" doesn't.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06- 3-10 7:53 AM
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My coworker texted me last night on my work cell, because I wanted to know if our client was going to be in today or if I could do some paperwork from home.

He's lucky that it was on, because I usually turn that phone off when I leave for the day. I'm much more likely to get an e-mail than a text.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06- 3-10 7:54 AM
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And enough. Commenting all at once once a thread is passed doesn't work all that well. Too many real interruptions, I guess.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 06- 3-10 8:12 AM
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For me, this problem is easy to avoid: I would never, ever find myself saying "I love you" to someone who could possibly have that reaction to it. Ugh.

This is exactly right.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06- 3-10 8:50 AM
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Instead of "I love you," you should always say something like "I deeply admire you in a way that makes me want to have sex with you."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 3-10 8:56 AM
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To your children.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 06- 3-10 9:03 AM
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"I admire you deeply because I want you to pick the nursing home that hasn't been on 60 Minutes."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 3-10 9:09 AM
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Anyway, if you want to avoid getting an offensive or off-topic response to "I love you," you probably should never say it to small children.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 06- 3-10 9:15 AM
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"I love poo! I love who! I love moo! Hee hee hee hee!"

Uh, back to cellphones, I'd be more OK with complaining that my friends were ignoring/breaking the actual present conversation than with judging the distraction they chose to put above me. I feel I have more standing (term?) in the former than the latter.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 06- 3-10 1:01 PM
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I love poo! I love who! I love moo!

Sounds like Jessica.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 3-10 1:12 PM
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I once considered texting my companion from across the tble to ask if he prepared we interact electronically. A short "hi" with emoticon would likely get the message across nonconfrontationally.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 06- 3-10 5:51 PM
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160: Do you often get voice mails in languages you don't understand? What's the point? Surely they can't expect a reply if they know you.

Was this meant for me? I get some voicemails at work in Portuguese, which I can normally understand more or less. And my outgoing message is in Spanish, so I figure they figure, "Eh, he clearly speaks Spanish, so he'll get the gist" which is usually true. That, or it's someone I've previously interacted with, me using Spanish and him using Portuguese.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 06- 3-10 6:15 PM
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M/lls has it right.

If you're supposed to be socializing with someone, and you're not using your mobile for something directly related to the socializing, then switch your fucking cell phone off. It's not rocket science. How is this even a conversation?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 06- 4-10 5:07 PM
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