Put the phone down ... and try talking

Maureen Kennedy
Maureen Kennedy

Once upon a time, families shared one phone. It was attached to a wall in their house and it was pure luck if you managed to speak to anyone.

Mobiles have changed all that and they have certainly made life easier for businesses and socially

But there is a downside. They have in many cases replaced face to face conversation. I know a couple who text each other so often during the day they have nothing new to say in the evening and often sit in silence. Another couple organised their entire divorce by text starting from when he texted to say he wanted to end things. He refused to speak to her at all, probably through cowardice. And of course there’s the knee jerk text when you are asked or told something and you respond before wishing you hadn’t said something. One girl I know was so keen to tell her friend that she had ‘got it together’ with a new man she accidentally texted him instead of the friend. Red faces all round. But was it really necessary to share that personal moment? And how annoying is it when you are out with a friend who would rather text someone else than concentrate on you, the person who has made the effort to turn up! It’s as rude as whispering because obviously you don’t know what they are saying to each other.

Then there are people who continue conversations while at the checkout or getting on a bus. They tend to take longer to transact their business as they are not concentrating enough on the money side of things.

A young lad I know recently lost his job because he couldn’t stop checking Facebook, playing games and texting despite being given several warnings.

For some, it really is an addiction. People hold their phones in their hands all the time. Checking to see if there is a new message. What is the urgency? The messages will be there when you have time to check and unless it really is a matter of life or death, it can wait.

We know it’s wrong to interrupt when someone is talking but if that mobile goes, chances are its owner will stop talking to respond. Quite rightly, it’s illegal to use the mobile while driving. But I think it’s time that common courtesy made it wrong to make your mobile more important than the person standing in front of you.