How To Politely Ask People To Get Off Their Phones

Megalith

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Does it actually bother you when someone checks their phone during a social event? Or are people taking the wrong things personally?

You’re with a small group of friends at a nice restaurant. Everyone is enjoying the food and conversation when someone decides to take out his phone — not for an urgent call, but to check email, Instagram and Facebook. Maybe you’ve witnessed this behavior and found it unsettling. What do you do? Do you sit idly by, thinking disparaging thoughts? Or do you call out the offender?
 

Zepher

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Drives me crazy. Put the freaking phone down and socialize with the people around you.
 

Mut1ny

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I don't give a damn. As long as you aren't being all obnoxious about it and/or aren't using your phone when you shouldn't be (like if I'm riding with someone in their car) then I just mind my own business.
 
D

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It's just a continual erosion of good manners and courtesy and it won't stop anytime soon nor will it decrease in frequency, unfortunately. While it's not directly related I was in my local post office a few days ago to get a money order for rent and sure enough, even though that location has several placards RIGHT IN FUCKING FRONT OF YOUR FACE when you're at the counter that say "NO CELL PHONE USAGE WHEN AT THE COUNTER PLEASE," there were at least two complete stupid humans that just would not get off their damned phones while trying to handle whatever business they had to do.

Worst thing to me was out of like 8 people in line with me and the one clerk on duty at that moment, the only person that seemed to notice the placards and the stupid humans on their phones was me. Even worse: the other people in the line were more focused on bitching and whining about there being just that one clerk on duty (the other one was in the back handling a mail delivery that just arrived, I saw it pulling up to the loading dock when I walked in).

I could lay a bit of blame on the situation for the clerk not having the gumption to basically tell the people "Look, either you get off the phone or you can leave because as the sign states we're not going to do business with you while you're on the phone..." or words to that effect. But of course that would just give the stupid idiots reason enough to blog or tweet about their "horrible treatment by a US postal worker" and being discriminated against.

Great work, humanity, really impressive stuff. :(
 

magoo

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That's pretty easy.
If it's my children, I just tell them we're out for dinner and there will be no cell phones at the table until we are done.

If it's a friend......I just ask them......."what is so fucking important that it can't wait ?"..... or " take it outside"

For me, I just think this cell phone shit has gone way, way too far. I mean people are so damn attached to these things, they get anxious if they haven't looked at it for more than 10 or 15 minutes.
It's the same addiction as cigarettes, and probably CAN kill you as well.
 

aeliusg

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If people want to check their phone, let them check their phone. FWIW I don't even have a smartphone.
 

Dekoth-E-

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I really don't see why anyone else cares. There are only three situations where someone being on their cell phone should bother you; 1) If they are being overly loud and disruptive or causing a delay due to their inattentiveness, 2) Holding a conversation in a public restroom (seriously, stop that shit), 3) Using it for any reason that isn't an emergency in a theater. Anything other than those three situations shouldn't matter to you. If it does, then you seriously need to find better shit to occupy your time and quit being an old codger.
 

azuza001

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I dont care except when people are in line and their turn comes up. then its time to get the hell off the phone, but they dont.....
 

Fun

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If that individual is not involved with the conversation, then let 'em look at their phone. But as soon as someone gets you involved then put the damn thing away and pay attention.
 

Babbster

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I really don't see why anyone else cares. There are only three situations where someone being on their cell phone should bother you; 1) If they are being overly loud and disruptive or causing a delay due to their inattentiveness, 2) Holding a conversation in a public restroom (seriously, stop that shit), 3) Using it for any reason that isn't an emergency in a theater. Anything other than those three situations shouldn't matter to you. If it does, then you seriously need to find better shit to occupy your time and quit being an old codger.
This. I can see getting irritated if you're actively engaged in conversation - one on one - with someone who pulls their phone when no notification has been sounded; I'd absolutely say something.

Apart from that, who cares? If the person is being a dick (truly disengaging completely in the middle of a conversation for extended smartphone time) then they're being a dick. If I actively engaged with every person I thought was being a dick in a particular moment, I'd drive myself nuts.
 

jiminator

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it is the only way I can tolerate being around boring people. lol j/k, I am the most boring of them all
 

Goldheart

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This ship has sailed, along with correct spelling and grammar.

Personally I don't have a problem with it. I don't need to be the center of everyone's attention.

As long as they're not being obnoxious or interrupting, what is the big deal?
 

ManofGod

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If I am on call for work, I will check my email where ever I am. (Not driving, of course.) If someone does not like that, tough, I get paid by my employer, not them. (I usually let the person know what I am doing though.)
 

Zigmorph

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I like to make odd looks at folks texting while driving, but.... , they don't see me because texting while driving....
 

sfsuphysics

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What annoys me is fuckers who have some sound (beep, chirp, whatever) play every time they tap something on the phone. Some older Asian ahole was doing something on his phone while I was in the waiting room of the doctors office and christ it was annoying to hear these little random chirps from him.
 

snowcrash

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All my friends do it except me. If there is a lull in the conversations, out comes the phone. Funny thing is, they all say they would never do it when it comes to their own family dinner and they forbid their kids from using it during dinner too.
 

Ocellaris

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The church I bring my kid to for Sunday School put up a "No cellphones please" sign right where I would sit in the back and quietly use my phone during service :(
 

Hornet

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It's so common now that it doesn't bothers me anymore.

This ship has sailed, along with correct spelling and grammar.

Personally I don't have a problem with it. I don't need to be the center of everyone's attention.

As long as they're not being obnoxious or interrupting, what is the big deal?
In a large group, it may not be an obvious issue. But within a smaller group, or just 2 people, I think it's awkward and highly inappropriate. It gives the impression that you're not that keen on being there and would rather be somewhere else, or talking to someone else.

For me, if I'm out with a friend, family or anyone, it's because I want to spend some time with them over dinner or whatever, and my attention should be at that. They took the effort to meet up with us, at the very least, we should be talking to them instead of someone else over the phone. Otherwise, we might as well just stay home.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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People should mind their own fucking business.

It's not an affront to you just because someone needs or wants to check on something while you are around.

The time of undivided attention is over. It will never return.

Many of us have multiple parallel thoughts, a single conversation with a single person, or a single group of people will never be enough.

Now, if you are slow enough that talking to one person fully satisfies your intellectual capacity, that is great. Don't try to bring the rest of us down to your level.
 

Exavior

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First thought punch to the throat, but then I realized that will just result in more people getting on their phones. Then you have to punch them all in the throats which results in more people on phones... So that won't work
 

steakman1971

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We were interviewing a candidate for a position recently. During the interview, they received an email/text/WhatTheFuck - paused us, replied, and resumed. I looked at my coworker and we both rolled our eyes. We told the candidate the interview is over.
They actually started to argue with us! Really? Next!
 

ymer

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People should mind their own fucking business.

It's not an affront to you just because someone needs or wants to check on something while you are around.

The time of undivided attention is over. It will never return.

Many of us have multiple parallel thoughts, a single conversation with a single person, or a single group of people will never be enough.

Now, if you are slow enough that talking to one person fully satisfies your intellectual capacity, that is great. Don't try to bring the rest of us down to your level.

You seem mad
 

EQvet80

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Yeah, I really don't give a damn if I'm with friend(s). If I'm on a date however, hehe I'm like. :mad: I suppose it has to do with the amount of time spent on device though to be fair.
 

EQvet80

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What annoys me is fuckers who have some sound (beep, chirp, whatever) play every time they tap something on the phone. Some older Asian ahole was doing something on his phone while I was in the waiting room of the doctors office and christ it was annoying to hear these little random chirps from him.

Hahah all this time and I never realized I can turn this off.. WTF /facepalm.. Needless to say its off now xD
 

EQvet80

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This. I can see getting irritated if you're actively engaged in conversation - one on one - with someone who pulls their phone when no notification has been sounded; I'd absolutely say something.

Apart from that, who cares? If the person is being a dick (truly disengaging completely in the middle of a conversation for extended smartphone time) then they're being a dick. If I actively engaged with every person I thought was being a dick in a particular moment, I'd drive myself nuts.
This also
 
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The worst is when I see a table of four at a restaurant where all four people are on their phones at the same time. You know mobile devices are addictive when...
 

drakken

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go trick is every turns their phone to mute and places it face down on the table, but some times you knew to know about that one late friend or you have a baby sitter watching your kids and you need to get that call if say the cops are investing why there were children tossing things out the upper windows or the fire department is trying to contact the owner of the burning building to find out how many people were in it... usually if you are among friends and you don't make phone calls no one cares... but really if you are friends and your not ignoring someone they usually the only reason people act that way is one they have nothing to contribute to a conversation they are unwilling to admit knowing anything about or they are being shunned by one of the friends of one person but nothing the others... which is difficult if I am friends with too people they forget to tell me they are not speaking to each other this week how am I supposed to know to not ask both to hang out at the same time. so the next time you friends do this ask them not to stop playing their game but ask them what is up or why they are sulking... both usually cause drama but since they are already causing drama sometimes you wait through the rant you find out why you friends are not happy with you.
 

rezerekted

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I was at the movies and people kept telling this guy to ssshhhh because he was talking loud on his cell phone. He just ignored them so I finally lost my cool and told him to stfu and get off his phone, I then stormed out of the theater and made a complaint to the management. It was effective but I was so mad I forgot to ask for a refund too.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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I was at the movies and people kept telling this guy to ssshhhh because he was talking loud on his cell phone. He just ignored them so I finally lost my cool and told him to stfu and get off his phone, I then stormed out of the theater and made a complaint to the management. It was effective but I was so mad I forgot to ask for a refund too.

Look, if a group of friends are hanging out, and you check your phone, this really is no big deal. We all have lives outside of the table or bar we happen to be sitting at.

There are - however - still places and times when phone use is unacceptable, like - for instance - whenever it would disturb a performance (theater/classical concert/movie theater, etc.), or when driving, due the the increased likelihood of killing people. I'd also argue that it is not appropriate during a date, or in an interview where the whole purpose is to get to know the other person in a short period of time.

Other than that, people just need to chill the fuck out about it. The world has changed. Deal with it.
 

rezerekted

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I said it was during a movie so I won't chill the fuck out. On another occasion I was gorcery shopping and this asshole with a cell phone was having a conversation on his phone right in front of a product I wanted to purchase. I didn't say anything and just reached around to grab it but I wanted to punch him in the face for being a self important ignorant dick.
 

magoo

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Look, if a group of friends are hanging out, and you check your phone, this really is no big deal. We all have lives outside of the table or bar we happen to be sitting at.

There are - however - still places and times when phone use is unacceptable, like - for instance - whenever it would disturb a performance (theater/classical concert/movie theater, etc.), or when driving, due the the increased likelihood of killing people. I'd also argue that it is not appropriate during a date, or in an interview where the whole purpose is to get to know the other person in a short period of time.

Other than that, people just need to chill the fuck out about it. The world has changed. Deal with it.

You may feel the world has changed, but I hope to God manners haven't, though I feel that everyday common courtesy has disappeared.
If I am out with friends or in a meeting or simply talking with my family, I excuse myself and take the call or message or whatever if I feel it demands my attention.

I still think it's rude to deflect your attention away from the person or people you are speaking to/with to look at some dumb facebook feed or a text or an email or whatever unless it is very important.

Even then....you should let people know you're expecting something important.........then, you excuse yourself .

There is NO reason to use the phone while driving. I argue you should not even try and walk down a crowded street and use your phone.
 

Draax

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I teach at the secondary school level ... and cellphones are the worst. Cellphones lead to the vast majority of negative experiences with students. Many teenagers are full on addicted to their cellphones. One student in particular, I taught this past semester, was the most addicted I have ever seen. There wasn't a second where she wasn't on it. She refused to hand it over, so I had to take her down to administration. Even when she was being chewed out by administration she was still looking down and using her cellphone. Eventually the VP just had to snatch it from her. She was put on "contract" where she had to give me the phone at the start of each class. She was so addicted that she would constantly look back at my desk, where her cell phone was sitting .... it had that much of a draw on her.

Any educational uses cellphones may have are far outweighed by the distractions they cause. It leads to students not paying attention, students fighting because someone "stole" their cellphone, and leads to in-class drama because so-and-so dumped / cheated on so-and-so and heard about it via text in the middle of class when they weren't supposed to be on their phone. I have had a number of teenage girls flip right out and run out of the room balling or screaming.

Don't even get me started on the lack of parental support. Parents are some of the worst offenders when it comes to texting and calling their kids while they are in class. Additionally, many parents will throw a fit if you dare to discipline their child or attempt to confiscate their cellphone.
 

Youn

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make strange faces at them while they look down at their phone, then act normal as if nothing happened when they look back up... that's been known to work
 

Zarathustra[H]

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I said it was during a movie so I won't chill the fuck out. On another occasion I was gorcery shopping and this asshole with a cell phone was having a conversation on his phone right in front of a product I wanted to purchase. I didn't say anything and just reached around to grab it but I wanted to punch him in the face for being a self important ignorant dick.

And I responded to agree with you that movie phone use is totally unacceptable :p
 

Zarathustra[H]

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I teach at the secondary school level ... and cellphones are the worst. Cellphones lead to the vast majority of negative experiences with students. Many teenagers are full on addicted to their cellphones. One student in particular, I taught this past semester, was the most addicted I have ever seen. There wasn't a second where she wasn't on it. She refused to hand it over, so I had to take her down to administration. Even when she was being chewed out by administration she was still looking down and using her cellphone. Eventually the VP just had to snatch it from her. She was put on "contract" where she had to give me the phone at the start of each class. She was so addicted that she would constantly look back at my desk, where her cell phone was sitting .... it had that much of a draw on her.

Any educational uses cellphones may have are far outweighed by the distractions they cause. It leads to students not paying attention, students fighting because someone "stole" their cellphone, and leads to in-class drama because so-and-so dumped / cheated on so-and-so and heard about it via text in the middle of class when they weren't supposed to be on their phone. I have had a number of teenage girls flip right out and run out of the room balling or screaming.

Don't even get me started on the lack of parental support. Parents are some of the worst offenders when it comes to texting and calling their kids while they are in class. Additionally, many parents will throw a fit if you dare to discipline their child or attempt to confiscate their cellphone.


Yeah, I would agree with this completely. I have never taught kids in a classroom setting, but it would be my expectation that phones are powered completely off during class. I don't blame parents for providing their kids with phones, in order to be able to monitor and communicate with them after school, etc, but I do blame parents who don't set and enforce rules for when they can and can not use them.

There are too many parents these days trying to be friends with their kids, not realizing that in order to be an effective parent, you necessarily need to be authoritarian. You need to be the maker of rules, the enforcer of said rules. The parent-child relationship can never be one of equals (well, at least not until the kid is grown up, and also and adult). Kids need to be told what to do, and not expect to have any say in the matter what so ever, unless their opinion is asked of them.

A parent needs to be prepared to be a total dictator. They need to gin there and tell their kid, you will do what I say, when I say and how I say, and if you don't you will have the things you like (ipad, TV time, computer time, game console, toys, freedom/grounded) taken away from you until you learn to do exactly as you are told. This gets more difficult as they enter their adolescent/teen years, but I have found that embarrassment is a pretty effective tool to keep them in line (do as you are told, or I take away the "cool" clothes, and you have to go to school wearing what I choose).

Kids are pre-programmed to probe their boundaries. No matter where they are set, their behavior will drift up to the line, and slightly outside of it, this is why those boundaries must be set artificially tight, so when they drift slightly outside, they are still in good territory, and when those boundaries are passed, the hammer must come down hard and swift to knock them back in again.

"Friendship" parenting is what leads to disregard for rules and juvenile delinquency. it starts with using a phone when they aren't supposed to, or not doing their homework when they are told, or sneaking on the ipad after screen time has been removed, and then it's a learned behavior pattern, and becomes a slippery slope.
 

Ur_Mom

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When I go out, my phone is either in the car or in my pocket. I don't need to check it during that 30-60 minutes when I'm out with people. The rules for my kids are the same. Don't bring it to dinner or when socializing with family (except at in-laws... we don't like reality TV, and that's ALWAYS on at their house).

But, if others do it, I don't care. Unless I'm a presenter or the leader of something, go for it. If it's a friend, we'll just talk shit about you. "Checking out his Grindr." or whatever. Just have fun with it. Co-workers or acquaintances? They're grown ups, they can do what they want.
 
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