Everyone seems to have a cell phone these days and I don’t blame them. Why wouldn’t you? Having a cell phone allows you to communicate with people who aren’t physically around on a 24-hour basis.
Being available all the time is a tough job. Constantly wondering who will want to talk to you next? Hang out? Or just text? However, cell phones are no longer just about communication. They can run apps for pretty much anything – alarms, flashlights, maps, even online banking. The cell phone is so appealing; it caters to all of our basic and ridiculous needs. It seems to be difficult to exist in the modern world without a cell phone. But this is only because everyone assumes we need one, because everyone else has one. It appears to be a necessity, but it is a “necessity” we have created.
I was serving at the Cellar Pub & Grill on Wednesday and it was wing night. It’s one of the busiest nights of the week there. The first thing I realized was that every group in there had a minimum of one cell phone on the table. What does this all mean? This demonstrates the standard of necessity the cell phone has created and how we as individuals feel the need to engage with this social norm.
People are attentive to their phones even in the presence of others. How would you feel if you were talking to someone and they picked up their phone to answer someone else? Would you feel insulted? Is this considered rude or is this something we are okay with?
It seems to me that answering your cell phone in a group social setting is fine. Why is this? Because everybody else is doing it. However, when it comes down to one-on-one conversations, it is considered to be rude to answer your cell phone.
The person on their phone is ignoring the person they are supposed to be engaged with. Instead they are attempting to divide their attention; to be in two places at once. It seems then that we ignore people in our physical presence, in order to not ignore those whom aren’t with us.
If we consider it rude when someone ignores another individual/ individuals to be in the virtual presence of others, we must consider it to be rude when we choose not to answer our cell phones. And that is where things get complicated.