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Thursday, April 26, 2012

When You Should -- and Shouldn't -- Leave Your Phone on the Table

Posted By on Thu, Apr 26, 2012 at 7:30 AM


In brief, what to do about phones out at restaurants/bars? I don't mean using the phones, but phones on the table. Bad manners or no? 

Yes, it's bad manners. Even if you're not, like, using your phone to catapult birds at feral pigs, or some other obviously rude behavior, the simple fact that you have it out on the table in plain sight shows that the person or people actually with you and talking to you and looking at pictures of your Yorkshire terrier wearing a tiara again are less important than the gadget itself, or the theoretical people who might text or tweet you. It sends a subtle sign: You're not significant enough for me to give my full attention to. 

There are, of course, exceptions to this rule. I'd make y'all a flowchart, but I'm waiting for a really important text. So, here they are, in word-form. Also, as a refresher, read: When to stop texting and use your phone as a phone

You can leave your phone out on the table if...

There are multiple people out and you're not primarily involved in the conversation taking place and have no desire to do so. Basically, if you're being antisocial and don't give two fucks about who you're with. Also, why don't you just go home already, Mopey Miranda? 

You're waiting for someone to show up, and that person is either prone to getting lost, or consistently boning you. Then you're being considerate or trying to win brownie points with your significant other. 

You're on a terrible date, you've sent the Bat Signal to your In-Case-of-Emergency friend, and he/she is going to text you with a bona fide excuse to bail any minute now. 

You're Ryan Gosling. 

You're a drug dealer, waiting to finalize a crack deal. 

You've set an alarm for the quiche de lorraine that is cooking at home, but you're such a drunk you had to go out and have some moonshine in the interim. 

You're expecting a phone call from your wife/girlfriend/baby mama, who is about to give birth to your child. Doesn't she know it's Tata Tuesday at Hustler Club? 

You're already known amongst your circle of friends to be an inconsiderate douche-juicer, and said behavior won't damage your already questionable reputation. 

You're a restaurant critic and need to document the meal, bite-by-bite, smackdown style.

You're Yoko Ono, live-tweeting your trip to IHOP in order to highlight the poignant nuances of pancake oppression amongst the working class. 

You've just created a wine-pairing app and are testing out its usefulness in the most annoying way possible.

You're a politician, waiting to finalize a crack deal. 

Did I miss anything? What excuses would you accept for leaving a phone out on the table?

Social-media mistress Anna Pulley likes to give advice about how to play well with others on the internets. If you have a question about etiquette involving technology, shoot her a question at 

Follow us on Twitter: @annapulley and @ExhibitionistSF or Facebook

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Anna Pulley


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