I bet this is a problem a lot of people are facing. My friend, over the course of lunch with me in a café, used her phone to text or call others four times.
None of these contacts resulted from emergency situations, nor required immediate attention (if so, I would’ve been okay with the behaviour.)
I find the phone activity unacceptable. It left me uncomfortable and a tad insulted by what I consider rudeness.
Unfortunately, this friend’s phone addiction is increasing.
I don't want this to impact on our relationship, but it’s affecting how I feel about her and about getting together.
How does one nicely address a social situation like this?
It’s a common problem, even between couples. Our society’s increasingly wired, more and more communication’s available on our phones. As a result, people are expected by family, work associates, and friends, to be constantly available.
And many people appear phone-addicted.
But it’s possible to draw limits, as some intrepid restaurants have proved. Cell phone usage by diners is actually banned at Bucato in Los Angeles.
Certainly, many parents forbid cell phones at their own family dining table.
Tell your friend you’d love to see her, but you’ll only have lunch with her if she stays off the phone, having checked at the beginning for real emergencies.
Readers – If you have other approaches to this problem, or different views, please email them and I’ll publish a selection.
A good friend from University has suffered from bulimia for a long time, but now needs in-patient treatment. Unfortunately, due to a long waiting list, she’ll only get into the program in December. She’s still at school and she and her psychiatrist agree that this is best for her.
She’s also had to deal with sexual assault, and harassment at other treatment facilities. She often sends me messages about how hopeless she feels and that she’s unsure how much more she can handle, combined with the stress of school.
I really want to help her but I have no training in these matters. I’m also disappointed with the healthcare system on this issue. How can I help?
Continue to offer your support through listening to her and caring. That’s your best role as her friend. Be prepared that if she sounds particularly distraught, to try to get to her immediately and/or assure that her parents, doctor, or school counsellors are aware of her state of mind.
Suggest that if she isn’t already getting counselling for her bulimia, she seek help through student services.
Look up the distress-line number in her area and make sure she has it on hand. You could also call yourself and ask what they advise a friend to do if you fear she’s in a worse state.
If possible, also be prepared that you might have to help get her to a hospital emergency room if she’s in a crisis, or make sure someone does.
Meanwhile, be aware that the health-care system is working, but under the duress of many people needing the same help, there are long waiting lists. She is under a doctor’s care, she has a treatment plan, and there’ll be a bed for her in December.
If necessary, she may have to delay her education for awhile. Her health is the current priority. If she can overcome this dangerous disorder, she’ll be able to catch up on her school program with far less stress.
I’ve been at my part-time job with the current store owner for five years. I barely make above minimum wage, and hardly scrape by.
The owner likes to have a weekly lunch with several of his full-time employees. I’m invited repeatedly, but have always declined. I cannot afford to eat out.
I’ve used other reasons and excuses such as needing to go to my second or third job. But he consistently invites me, which is hurtful because I feel he should be aware of his staff’s financial situation. I’ve even been clear that I must use a food bank sometimes.
How can I politely refuse, permanently?
Tell him privately that you appreciate his wanting to include you, but the truth is, you simply can’t afford to eat out.
He either has not realized this, or may even have intended to treat you. He certainly wouldn’t have meant to hurt you by extending the invitation.
Tip of the day:
Cell-phone addiction negatively affects interpersonal connections through neglect and rudeness.