So you appear well-raised

Month: October 2018

Hung Up: You’re Not As Important As Your Phone Makes You Think You Are

Remember years ago when cell phones were just for calling people? The phone rang, you picked it up and then you jumped back into the world of the living.

Those days are LONG gone. Sometimes, I wish they’d come back. Hear me out. People are on their phones non-stop. During meetings, kids’ recitals, driving, while walking across the street – all the time and everywhere! Phones are such a wonderful distraction. When I’m on the train and I want to avoid eye contact with a particular crazy person, I’m stuck on my phone. It’s great for that.

I don’t even have to name all the positives of cell phones. We know what great things they do. But let’s get real – you’re probably spending way too much time on yours. There is absolutely no reason we need to be as connected as we are to our phones. The world will keep spinning if we miss a call, or we aren’t available to give play-by-play tweets of the date we’re on.

When I’m out and about, I always judge how good of a time I had by how much I was on my phone. I also use that as a barometer of whether someone else is enjoying themselves. If they are constantly attached to the phone, my guess is that I’m boring them. I cut that outing short, quickly.

Everyone is not a Fortune 500 CEO who has to work 24/7 to make the company function. Most of us are middle managers with modest savings and the ability to cut loose just a little on the weekends – nothing special at all. So no, I don’t believe any of us needs to constantly have our phones in our hands because we don’t do anything all that important to the world. So if you’re constantly connected and missing all that’s going on around you, you’re being rude and you should stop.

Fashionably Late: The Thing That Doesn’t Exist

All my life, I had to fight . . .  to be on time. I come from a household where time was sort of a fluid concept. A request. A suggestion. Not a rule. Someone would tell my mom to be somewhere at 6:00 pm. We might be there 6:30 pm or after. As a result, I grew up thinking this was ok.

Growing up, I just kind of believed I’d get there when I got there. Social things, work, didn’t matter. Whatever time I arrived would be the right time. I’m sure you know that this wasn’t cool with anyone.

Lateness is wrong, plain and simple. No one is so important that they can leave people waiting for them. If you’re told to be there at a specific time, do your damnedest to be there at that time. Sure, there are things that come up that prevent you from being on time, but not all the time.

I had to break myself from this habit. There are so many tools out there to help get you places on time. I use Google Calendar, which is synced with Waze and it tells me when to leave to get somewhere on time. It works 90% of the time.

Lateness communicates to people that you don’t care. Of course, this is likely not the case. You care very much. But the way it comes off doesn’t make you look good. People will doubt you’re taking things seriously and they’ll avoid you. Many great opportunities were lost because of lateness.

Our brains are wired differently, so what works for me may not work for you. But it’s important you make an effort to be places on time. “Fashionably Late” isn’t a thing on a daily basis. Parties? Yes. But when you leave people waiting for you, unable to move forward without your presence, you’re wasting time and being inconsiderate.

The Right to Refuse: Saying “No Thank You”

You won’t like everything presented to you. I get that. No one does. But how you refuse something says a lot about you.

The most obvious refusal is food. Let’s say you’ve been invited to someone’s home for a dinner party. They’ve served up a bevvy of delectable food and drink and everyone is set to have an amazing time. Dishes are being presented course after course. The broccoli gets passed to you. You HATE broccoli. Well, you have a choice here. You can quietly pass it on to the next person and not have to deal with it. Or, you can choose the less manner-able option of refusing and sharing with everyone that you don’t like broccoli. Look, no one cares about your special diet or your likes and dislikes. Unless the host is prompting you and saying things like, “You have to taste that! It’s the best broccoli in the world!” you don’t need to say anything. Quite frankly, it’s an overshare.

Society has people tricked into thinking someone gives a damn about their preferences. No one does, I promise. Just kindly refuse and move on. I can’t tell you the number of times it caused an awkward pause in a conversation when someone was offered something and they went into all the reasons they didn’t want it. Less is more. “No thank you” goes a long way and it’s a great response.

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