Tablet and Smartphone Dinner Table Etiquette
I've been to plenty of lunches and dinners with various friends, family and business associates where the conversation hits one of those common yet uncomfortable lulls in the conversation.
Being a strict time maximizer, I sometimes attempt to use these moments take care of some tasks such as checking e-mails/text messages, or occasionally returning an important phone call. I've even gone so far as to load up a web browser from time to time to check the latest news or sports scores. My mobile usage at the table sometimes leads to some interesting observations from my eating companions. That led me to perform several dinner table social experiments with unsuspecting dinner table guests. The goal of the experiments were to come up with a list of accepted and unaccepted smartphone and tablet uses at the table. The following article describes my observations so you don't have to go through the trial-and-error process yourself.
For starters, it is helpful that you request permission from the last person you spoke to at the table. Simply asking, "Can I check my e-mail real quick?" goes a long way. In fact, by asking this, you'll often notice that other parties are also waiting for an opening to check their e-mail. Also, you don't have to limit your usage to only your e-mail as I found that I could perform several tasks without any problem.
Secondly, there are varying levels of "acceptable" mobile uses. E-mail, text messages and even taking a voice call while at the table seem to be fair game. Depending on your dinner table companions, checking sports scores is also acceptable in many situations. Facebook is also very acceptable in social dinner situations but its not a good idea in business situations. Playing games are out of the question in most any situation. Also, under no circumstances should you load up a app such as StumbleUpon. For those of you that don't know, StumbleUpon is a website discovery application that randomly sends you to a website that you might find interesting. By loading this app up at the table, it sends a signal to your dinner mates that you would rather be anywhere else but in their company. Trust me on this!Continued on the next page