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Talking on the phone during a family meal. OK ....or not?

Hi all. What are your views on whether, during a family meal, it's OK for one of the family to be on the phone once we are all sat down to eat.

My SIL was on the phone to her sister when I went over to have a very informal meal with them, and didn't get off the line, even though we were about to eat - all served up and sitting down. She'd already been on the phone for a while, during cooking, but still wouldn't hang up when we sat down to eat, clearly intending to keep chatting (and not about anything that couldn't wait!)

To my mind, that's just rude to the other people (OK, only two of us, but hey, that's 'other people' isn't it?) But what do others think? SIL felt I had no right to be irritated or to want her to just get off the damn line!!! I'd be interested in hearing whether you think I was being unreasonable - or she was?!!!!

Created By on 31/03/2021

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31st Mar 2021 23:27:27
Thanks for voting!
Given I'm a bit of an authoritarian, not to mention traditionalist, when my step family come for a meal phones are collected at the door. If I spends a long time preparing a meal for the family I just will not have such rudeness at the table, or anywhere else in the house.
Response from ecarg made on 1st Apr 2021 08:06:49
I agree phones at meal times or in social meetings are a no-no.
However I would answer my house phone with guests in the house so is that equally rude?
Response from carriex Original Poster made on 1st Apr 2021 22:54:04
Glad to know I'm not the only 'anti-phoner' here! I think it's so rude because it forces everyone else to 'wait' while the person on the phone carries on talking. Other people can't even talk amongst themselves if the wretched phoner has it on speaker phone (which my SIL had).
Response from carriex Original Poster made on 1st Apr 2021 22:55:25 > @ecarg
I think if the phone rings during a family meal, OK, let it go to answerphone if it cuts in quickly, but sometimes phone calls are important - so I think it's OK to answer but then, if it's not important, simply say 'Look, so sorry, but we're just at dinner, so I'll phone you back afterwards/tomorrow,'
Response from Lionel made on 1st Apr 2021 23:29:28 > @ecarg
My usual practice when the house phone rings in the midst of something important is to answer, hear what the caller has to say and if it's not life or death matter then I'll call them back when it's more convenient That's usually if I remember to call them.

Mobiles and younger people are a different matter. Mt step grand children spent literally hours on their phones talking about, well nothing really, just making grunting noises. It happened just once at our dinner table and then I removed their devices. Anything concealed might be flushed away.

My wife and I kept the art of conversation alive with them. That's worth something these days.
Response from Lionel made on 1st Apr 2021 23:44:51 > @carriex
I've always valued my privacy, being self contained and rather insular person by nature. I like solitude; indeed much of my working life on farms was in solitude and I loved it. Now it is sadly missed. Everywhere ringtones or people 'chatting' invades my space.

Mobiles are an unnecessary intrusion. Yes, I have one somewhere; my wife tells me it's an iPhone 4 but neither of us knows where it is or where it came from. I can't recall taking it out of a box!

A few years ago I was having a coffee with my step daughter. We get on just fine and some time spent together wasn't unusual. Her phone rang. Politely, I sat there and after a few minutes got up and drove home. When we next met I asked, 'Oh, no one calling you?

Sarcastic? Yes.

I suppose my point is I offer my full attention to people. It's reasonable to expect the same in return, don't you think?
Response from barbj56 made on 7th Apr 2021 00:48:37 > @Lionel
I just have to ask Lionel.. What was her response to you or was she totally oblivious!
Response from anneridgway made on 20th Jul 2021 10:22:31 > @ecarg
Hello. I don't think answering your home phone is rude, but if it's not an urgent call I think it's only polite to explain to the caller that you are busy at the moment and either ask them to call back, or tell them you'll call them later. That seems to me to be the polite thing to do.
Response from Hazel made on 17th Aug 2021 12:16:54 > @ecarg
I think it eould be rude to not answer a landline phone, but to say if it isn't urgent, you will phone them back as you have company at that time. You could always add, as you would like a chat...
Response from BLBrown made on 12th Oct 2021 21:37:23 > @ecarg
Personally, I don't think it is rude to answer your house phone when you have guests. It may be an important call that needs attending. If it is someone just wanting to visit, you can let them know you have guests and will call them back.
Mssr Chris
2nd Oct 2021 11:40:30
Thanks for voting!
No, extremely bad manners.
When the kids were at home mealtimes were a time for chat, catch up on the day and if I'd spent 3 hours in a kitchen. preparing a meal I want it to be savoured. And even worse people on the phone in restaurants! I have lost count of the times I had seen couples dining together both on their phones texting and not speaking to each other!
24th Sep 2021 18:20:22
Thanks for voting!
I feel it may be rude also
17th Aug 2021 12:14:28
Thanks for voting!
I definitely do not agree to speaking on a phone in company, unless it is an urgent call.
25th Apr 2021 18:21:03
Thanks for voting!
I agree with the other posters here. It's not only rude, but selfish. I especially liked the point made that if a person is going through the trouble to make a meal for other people, then its the least a guest can do to set their phone aside. After all, a meal doesn't take that long...unless someone's house is burning down, I don't think they need to be on the phone.
carriex Original Poster
16th Apr 2021 09:55:45 (Last activity: 20th Apr 2021 06:39:37)
Thanks for voting!
thank you to those who commented. I think my SIL is the only person in the world, apart from the sister she was talking to on the phone (!) who thinks it's OK to have a private phone call while other people are trying to eat and chat around the table.

I would like to plan that next time I am invited, I have a phone call booked to phone me and I will merrily chat away loudly all through the damn meal, just to show my SIL how intensely irritating and rude it is.
Response from mercury made on 20th Apr 2021 06:39:37
...... or you could just TELL her.
15th Apr 2021 19:40:27
Thanks for voting!
It's boorish behaviour, no excuse unless the house is on fire or the dog's been run over. What the hell's so special and urgent that people are unable to unglue themselves from their phones?
6th Apr 2021 22:23:48
Thanks for voting!
I wouldn't like it, it spoils any chance you may have had to chat together, and it feels rude to be put in the position, where you are waiting in vain for the conversation to end. But to some this is normal life, and if you say something, they think your the rude one.
Some have a phone like an extension to their hand, its always there. And some put it down only to keep checking it every few minuits.
I know it makes me feel unimportant to them, and if there were 3 people together and two of them chatted constantly ignoring the third, well, its the same effect really.
4th Apr 2021 10:17:27 (Last activity: 4th Apr 2021 11:48:41)
Thanks for voting!
Definitely not. It’s disrespectful to whoever prepared the meal. It also prevents the others at the table making conversation without shouting over them. We don’t answer the house phone during a meal. If it’s important, whoever it is will ring back.

We have a strict no phones at the table rule. We all (my wife, myself 20 year old and 17 year old) sit up to the dining table and converse every evening.
Response from Sally - Silversurfer's Editor made on 4th Apr 2021 11:48:41
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