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Adults Now As Annoying As Teens When It Comes To Texting

Recently, I had a "conversation" with someone I know very well.

I write "conversation" in quotations because as we were talking this person was texting away on her smartphone. "Uh-huh" and "yeah" she'd say in response to me as her thumbs moved frantically around the keyboard and her eyes stayed transfixed on the tiny screen. After 30 seconds or so, I stopped talking and concentrated on my cup of coffee. Why bother to continue? She wasn't listening anyway.

After she finished texting, she looked up and changed the subject completely. We got on a whole new topic of conversation. A minute or so into it, she started texting yet again. "Uh-huh, yeah, sounds good, that's great..." she said to me as she typed. I thought about testing her by saying something like, "And so I've decided I'm moving to Brazil to start my own reality show called 'Chris Swims the Amazon With Piranhas...'" just to see if she would say, "Uh-huh, yeah, sounds good, that's great..." I didn't say it, but the thought crossed my mind.

I'll be honest: What I really wanted to do was to grab that damn smart phone and drop it in the trash can so we could have a real conversation for a few minutes. A girl can dream, right?

By the way, the person I write about isn't a 20-something. She's a Baby Boomer.

It turns out I'm not the only one feeling stuck in a lot of one-sided conversations these days. A new LG Text Ed survey says 42% of parents text people during dinner and almost half admit to texting while driving. The survey concludes adults are now just as bad as teenagers when it comes to texting. Ouch.

Don't get me wrong; I'm a huge fan of technology. But I'm also a huge fan of good manners, and texting in the presence of someone who is trying to talk to you isn't good manners. In fact, it makes an enjoyable conversation nearly impossible. I'm getting to the point where I politely excuse myself when it's become clear someone has slipped into the texting "zone." Why bother? The other person isn't listening anyway.

Now put "texting while talking" in the context of the workplace. If an employee is texting during one-on-one conversations with co-workers, he or she is almost certainly doing it in front of clients and customers. It doesn't take a genius to see how that's bad for business, especially in a bad economy.

Smart companies will set some ground rules for "texting while talking" because this problem -- and it is a problem -- is only getting worse among all generations. The time has come to deal with it. Or in the words of the person I know, "Uh-huh, yeah, sounds good, that's great..."


  1. Parents do need to walk the walk on this issue. For every 6 seconds a driver spends texting, 4.6 of those seconds are with their eyes off the road, which makes texting the most dangerous cell phone activity anyone can engage in while operating a 5,000 pound piece of steel and glass. This activity produces 6,000 highway deaths a year and that number is rising.

    I think instead of pointing fingers at who is the worst offender, teens and parents should be mutually accountable. If its OK with this forum, here is a link to a better explanation of what I am talking about:


    Erik Wood, owner

  2. Good points, Erik. Thanks for the link!


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