One of the most annoying things for me is when I go out to eat with someone and cannot keep a conversation going, not because there is nothing to talk about, but because they are having a conversation with someone else via text. You try telling this person about something you find important going on in your life while they sit there, phone in lap, with fingers flying across the keypad, only looking up at you occasionally and sneaking in a few “uh-huhs.” Eventually you give up on your story, not wanting to waste your breath on someone who clearly isn’t listening.
I am not opposed to texting at all. In fact, I love it. Not only is it a convenient way to carry a conversation while you do other things, but you also avoid long and unwanted phone conversations. So why then does a situation like this bother me so much? Because it’s rude. If the person you are texting were sitting in the same booth with you and your friend at a restaurant, you would not try to have two different conversions at the same time with each of them because it would be virtually impossible.
I am appalled at the number of people who cannot find it in themselves to put their phones away for a few hours or at least while they are having a conversation with someone. The message they are sending isn’t “I am listening to you” but rather, “this conversation is more important than the one we are having now.”
Some people need to realize leaving their phone alone for a while can be a very liberating experience. Sometimes we miss exciting or important things because we are too busy looking down rather than up. I believe cell phones have their time and place but people need to know when enough is enough. Your phone is not an extension of your arm.
Some professors may encounter the same problems while teaching class.
Although I find it acceptable that some people may have emergencies and need to keep their phones nearby, others do not have an excuse. Yes, you pay to go to class but that doesn’t mean you get to control how it works. You are in school to learn and if the phone conversation you are having via text is more important than education, maybe college isn’t the right place for you to be.
To contact Erin Peden, email firstname.lastname@example.org.