Question Lady Question

The Question Lady writes:

When is it OK for somebody to use their iPhone (or any phone) when they’re out with other people?

About Question Lady

I want to know.
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9 Responses to Question Lady Question

  1. epiminondas says:

    All they have to do to avoid annoying me is go somewhere I can’t hear them yakking on their phone. Incredible as it may seem, there were once things called “phone booths” for people who needed to talk on the phone. Bring them back…please!


  2. So far as I’m concerned: seldom if ever, and only then with elaborate requests for permission. Although I can see the point if information is needed: looking up an address or a movie-show time, for instance. But IM’ing? Except in the case of a real emergency (or a quick check-in to make arrangements) not at all.

    I’m amazed by the way futzing-with-the-smartphone has become part of daily life, and by the number of people who take it as normal that their lunch partner should be staring into his/her smartphone instead of being present here at lunch. And those couples that walk down the street side by side, with both of them playing with their smartphones? Please.


  3. agnostic says:

    I was just thinking about this yesterday. It’s worse than people taking them out on a lunch occasion. If you have friends or family born after… I dunno, 1975 or so, but guaranteed if they’re born after 1985, then you can expect every one of them to withdraw into their smartphone at a sitdown family dinner, even a holiday dinner, once they’ve scarfed all of their chow. No more interaction — not just like they’re skipping the boring conversations, but also the rollicking groove that you can get into around the dinner table, especially during a festive time.

    Then there’s also so many people with earbuds stuffed into their head, and sunglasses — rarely necessary even outdoors, but definitely not when it’s cloudy, evening time, or indoors. All they need is for Apple to invent a laptop surface that would sit around your gut and be strapped around the shoulders, so you could dork around on Facebook while walking around. How much more socially awkward can people get?

    Only thing worse than the couples walking next to each other while separately playing with their smartphones is when a pair or group of supposed friends or lovers plop down in a coffee house and instantly unpack their laptops, almost in a panic. Like they just took a deep plunge into the ocean and realized they’d forgotten to attach their breathing masks.

    You ever see them sitting facing each other, but the boyfriend and girlfriend aren’t even making eye contact? Shoot, their laptop screens are touching each other more than their owners are!

    I can’t count the times I’ve seen three or four college kids lined up side-by-side along a stretch table, each one staring straight down at their laptops for hours, only occasionally turning to one another to notify them that a new picture had been uploaded to Facebook, and omg you guys like just HAVE to like this! Whoever thought girls had some innately higher sense of social propriety and etiquette was wrong. The sorority chicks have turned Starbucks into a nerdy computer lab.


  4. Fabrizio del Wrongo says:



  5. I keep trying to take stealth snapshots of couples (or groups of friends) when each/all of them are staring at smartphones instead of being aware of each other. Haven’t come up with a winner yet, but it’s not like there aren’t a lot of subjects out there. I’ll keep trying.


  6. dearieme says:

    “When is it OK for somebody to use their iPhone (or any phone) when they’re out with other people?” Whenever they don’t mind receiving a punch on the snoot to gain their attention.


  7. Fenster says:

    i was thinking the same thing as paleo the other day in a hospital waiting room. a family sat in a row along the wall, each totally absorbed in their respective phones, no one was reading diabetes today.


  8. Sasha says:

    I was raised that it was rude to read at the table or at a gathering. Phone use hews to the same rules. If I am terminally bored I will excuse myself and use the washroom.

    That said, there are some occasions where a debate or discussion required checking IMDB or Wikipedia for some arcane fact or other. A smartphone is actually very handy in that instance. But I do put it away after the information has been retrieved.


  9. Will S. says:

    I hate those things. And I loathe those who can’t pull their eyes away from them, anywhere.


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