Monday, June 25, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Smartphone addicts ruin Italian vacation

Editor's note: The following question is from a Dear Prudence online chat and includes a reader response.

Q: I recently went on vacation to Italy with two girlfriends from college. We had a great time and ate lots of pasta and gelato, but one thing really put a damper on my enjoyment: smartphones. I completely understand the need to call and check in with loved ones — I did it myself — and hey, I can even get on board with a quick Facebook update here and there. But my experience with these ladies was mind-boggling. Every time we went to a restaurant, they would immediately ask about Wi-Fi and then disappear for the rest of the meal. One would occasionally look up and say, "Sorry, I know I'm being anti-social," but then she would keep on doing whatever she was doing behind her screen. One of them forgot her phone charger and it's the only reason I got to interact with her after the first day (when she had depleted her phone's charge by uploading pictures to Facebook). The kicker was our last night, when we went out to a popular spot for drinks: Cute Italian men approached us left and right while one girl spent the entire night swiping on Tinder and complaining about her lack of a boyfriend. I don't have a Facebook (or any site), so I'm wary of becoming "that friend" who just as obnoxiously pooh-poohs social networking, but enough is enough! Should I just silently doodle on my napkin (what I ended up doing in Italy) the next time this sort of thing happens?

A: I want to see this movie. A young Marcello Mastroianni comes sauntering to a table of young American women, and the one complaining most about not having a guy doesn't even make eye contact with Marcello because her nose is buried in her dating app.

What you experienced is a question beyond etiquette. There is no doubt the world behind the touch screen has become more vivid and compelling to millions of people than anything happening in their lives. But if they looked up and told you what kept them so intent upon the screen, they'd have to admit it was mostly a bunch of banal texts, games and useless news alerts. It's one thing to zone out with your phone on the subway. It's another to miss Italy because you're playing Flappy Bird.

The next time you're out to dinner with your gang and this happens, speak up. Say you understand how hard it is to break away from the phone because it's hard for you, too. But you'd like to institute a no-phone rule when you're socializing. That means they're in your purses and off. If it turns out your friends would rather socialize in the virtual world while they're with you, it's time to get a new group of friends.

Reader responds: I have the following rule with some of my friends when we go out for dinner or drinks: the first one to start playing with their phone, picks up the drink tab for everyone! The phones are sure to stay hidden.

Prudence: Love it! And I admire that you can get buy-in from the addicted.

Slate.com

Comments

Tell Me About It: The ability to cope is part of our humanity

Q: Iím curious if you believe or think things "happen for a reason" and "God/higher power only gives us what we can handle," or are things just random? I ask because my mom told me some sad news about a relative. I would never be able to cope with th...
Published: 06/24/18

Tell Me About It: Dad despairs at state of gender relations

Q: Day after day, we have new news of a famous man who has done unspeakably stupid and offensive things to women ... for decades. Society is, somewhat belatedly, starting to take these accusations seriously.But change is needed at the opposite end of...
Published: 06/22/18

Tell Me About It: Future in-laws are insisting on an open bar

Q: My fiance and I are getting married in my familyís hometown and my parents are hosting (and paying for) the wedding. My family are minimal drinkers. My fianceís large extended family is accustomed to weddings with full open bars.My parentsí initia...
Published: 06/21/18
Plan your weekend: St. Pete Pride, Hall and Oates, Pixies, Logic, comics Jay Pharoah and Bobby Bones

Plan your weekend: St. Pete Pride, Hall and Oates, Pixies, Logic, comics Jay Pharoah and Bobby Bones

Rainbow connection Pride weekend: One of the largest Pride celebration in the Southeast happens this weekend in St. Petersburg, bringing a rainbow of activities. Things set off on Friday with the free SP2 Concert at North Straub Park, hosted by Coc...
Published: 06/20/18
Updated: 06/21/18
Big concerts this weekend: Luke Bryan, Hall and Oates, Weezer, Logic and more

Big concerts this weekend: Luke Bryan, Hall and Oates, Weezer, Logic and more

HIS KIND OF NIGHT: Luke BryanItís been three long years since Tampa has seen the well-groomed hide of Luke Bryan, the Hollywoodiest hunk in Nashville. But heís about to make up for lost time. On Saturday heíll headline his biggest-ever show here, a b...
Published: 06/20/18
Top things to do this week: Go Skateboarding Day, Hollywood medium Tyler Henry

Top things to do this week: Go Skateboarding Day, Hollywood medium Tyler Henry

Tyler Henry: Hollywood MediumTyler Henry, the so-called Hollywood Medium who stars in an eponymous E! hit show, is coming to town with a live show called "Life Lessons I Have Learned From the Departed." The soft-spoken 22-year-old has done readings f...
Published: 06/20/18
5 things to do under $5: USF Summer Plant Festival, Bridal Show, free show by AnastasiaMax

5 things to do under $5: USF Summer Plant Festival, Bridal Show, free show by AnastasiaMax

1 Summer Plant Festival: If you think you canít get anything to thrive in Floridaís brutal summers, check out the vendors with fruit trees and advice on how to grow them, along with hundreds of blooming butterfly plants, herbs and tropical and exotic...
Published: 06/20/18

Tell Me About It: Wife punished after being victimized

Q: At a work happy hour, a male co-worker groped me. He later "apologized" with the qualification that I had been sending him mixed signals.Iím married, he has met my husband, Iíve never led him on. And when it happened I was incredibly clear that it...
Published: 06/20/18
Your guide to St. Pete Pride: What's changed for 2018

Your guide to St. Pete Pride: What's changed for 2018

Pride weekend kicks off in St. Petersburg Friday with a free concert hosted by a RuPaul’s Drag Race star, a parade along the downtown waterfront on Saturday and an expanded expo of vendors and art on Sunday in the Grand Central District that ga...
Published: 06/19/18

Tell Me About It: Mom/daughter dynamic feels controlling

Q: I am afraid I may be a controlling mom of my young adult daughter, but we have a dynamic in which she seeks me out often, solicits my advice, and makes me too important in her life. I admit to offering that advice because it is hard for me to draw...
Published: 06/19/18