When I got my first cell phone, it was so I could contact my parents in case of emergency. It also had unlimited local minutes (Cricket), so it was similar to a portable “teen-line.” This way I wouldn’t hog up the landline when I needed to talk about my oh-so-important teenage drama to my friends. Oh my God, remember landlines? Remember Cricket?
This was before text messaging, emails, and facetime. It was just a phone then, but the cell phone has evolved to be this thing, this portable computer, that we’re constantly checking and using, and frankly, I think it’s rude.
My favorite thing about travelling abroad? I’m not sharing my date/friend/relative with whoever is on the receiving end of those messages.
In a smartphone era, your whole contact circle is right at your fingertips, with multiple means-by-which you can communicate. You can email, facebook, call, video chat, or text anyone you want, whenever you want. That doesn’t mean that everyone else is the same way. Some of us have phones because we want to use them when we want to use them (Read: not when you want us to).
It’s rude to be on your phone all the time, especially when you’re at work or with friends. And likewise, it’s irrational to think that those on the receiving end of your piddly little “Guess what” messages are as intrigued by the minutiae as are you. Not everyone is as attached to their devices as you are to yours.
Friend: But if I don’t answer this text, she’s going to think I’m mad at her!
CassieCaresdotCom: Fine, let her think that. Really, it’s her insecurity to which she needs to be devoting attention. You’re off the hook on this one.
Friend 1: How come you never answer my text messages?
Friend 2: Uh, you didn’t ask me a question. You just said, “Look at this picture of my cat.”
So, we’ve identified the problem. Where’s the balance?
- Always assume positive intent. Your sister-in-law probably read your message, but she was busy. It’s not because she doesn’t love you or she’s mad at you. She just has shit to do, which is good, because you don’t want in-laws who don’t have shit to do.
- Friends blowing you up, but you’re on a date? Excuse yourself to use the restroom. This is an acceptable time to whip out your phone and actually call whoever is messaging you. Then you can exchange a lot of information in a short timeframe. Now get back to your date.
- If a call or text is so important that it can’t wait, ALWAYS APOLOGIZE TO YOUR COMPANY. “I’m really sorry, I have to answer this.” Don’t just text while you’re at dinner, pretending to listen with “mmhmms” and “yeahs” during the pauses in her story. She knows you’re not fucking listening. Be a lady or a gentleman about it (My friend Mike is really good about this. He’ll say, “I’m sorry. Last text of the night, I swear,”).
- Set expectations with your friends/family members who don’t use technology in the same way as you. “Grandma, if I don’t answer your message, you don’t have to keep sending it over and over. I got it. I just think it’s rude to text when I’m with friends.”
Tonight I reiterate, as I have before, the phone is for your convenience, not theirs. Be present with your company, or be blacklisted by Cassie Cares.