Excuse Me Mr. (or Mrs.) Ringmaster

Imagine a circus where the ringmaster is about to introduce an act and someone runs to them and says, "Did you know that they have fresh popcorn at the concession stand?" Or think about a circus where the trapeze act is interrupted by someone who wants to discuss the day's events with a member of the team. It would be frustrating to all involved.

That's my experience with more than a few people the last couple of weeks. I may not be the best conversationalist but I do think I am at least a trite interesting. I always try and get to know the other person and find out interesting things about them. Several times recently, however, I have been in conversation with someone only to have to pause while they read (and often responded to) a text on their phone. Often they did it multiple times. Most of the time I would just end the conversation and move on.

For those who text often, here are a few thoughts on "texting etiquette:"

  • If you want to have a quality real-time conversation with someone, turn the phone off.
  • If you are expecting an important text (family emergency or job offer), tell the other person the first time it beeps, buzzes or vibrates. That way they aren't offended when your phone keeps interrupting the conversation.
  • If you must read and respond to the text, say "I apologize. Excuse me for just a moment while I take care of this." Then take care of it as quickly as possible, turn the phone off, return to the conversation and apologize again. Enjoy the benefits of a quality conversation that actually takes place in complete sentences.
  • If at all possible, refrain from texting during a conversation at all-it's just rude.