My Name is Bill, and I’m a Textaholic

I know I’m going to sound like Seinfeld here, but… what’s the deal with Texting? I mean, seriously, people. Can you NOT stay away from the keyboard for five blessed minutes?

I know people who text all…the…time. While they are holding a conversation with someone. While they are eating dinner. While they are surfing on the computer (ok, I guess I get that one). While they’re in a movie. While they’re in the bathroom. Of course, while they’re driving.

WHAT is so all-fired important that they cannot put the phone down to give their undivided attention to the conversation (or event) happening around them? I’m sure they never stop to think about how the person that they’re ignoring feels. They could be pouring out their heart, talking about the frustrations of the day, telling a wicked joke heard at work, whatever, but there’s the texter, thumbs flying and uh-huhing away without a clue about what’s being said to their face. If the friend across town is that important, why not go to them? Why stand and pretend to be concerned about this friend, when obviously, that friend is more important?

I’ve seen this happen in business meetings, too. A person will be in a meeting with important issues being discussed, but he is checking the Blackberry every two minutes, obviously actively involved in a conversation with an unseen person. How can he get his business done that way? How can a client feel valued if his professional advisor is constantly checking the texts? Further, how can that client know, for sure, that his information is being kept private?

Apparently, I’m not the only person who is peeved about this. I was listening to a local talk program this afternoon (why, yes, I DO listen almost exclusively to talk radio. FM doesn’t work in my house. It’s possessed. The house, not FM radio), and the host, named Bob, was having lunch over the weekend with a friend. The two ordered their lunch, then waited for the food to arrive. While they were waiting, Bob repeatedly tried to engage his guest in conversation, but the guest only responded with one- and two-syllable answers. Why? The guest was texting the entire time. Bob continued to get angrier and angrier. Finally, he flagged down their waitress, paid the bill for the entire lunch (including tip), and asked the waitress to box his lunch up. When his guest realized what Bob was doing, he gave a “sorry”, and said that he’d quit texting. But by that time, Bob was too far gone to care. He took his lunch and exited, leaving the friend to text and eat alone. When this story was recounted on the radio, the callers to the program were unanimous. What Bob did was something that we all wish we had the guts to do! Not a single caller said that Bob owed his guest an apology, which is what Bob had asked of the audience… did we think that an apology was owed? Turns out it was, but from the guest.

This entry was posted in addictions, bad habits, behavior, cell phones, conversations, manners, pet peeves, texting and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to My Name is Bill, and I’m a Textaholic

  1. SKL says:

    I don’t get this a lot where I live. Not that I hang around people much, but except for young foreigners, it doesn’t seem to be that epidemic around here.

    But I have a friend who is addicted to her Crackberry. It used to be so bad, but I gave her “constructive criticism” MANY times, so now she at least doesn’t check her emails during business meetings. With me, she will still keep doing whatever – whether it’s checking her emails, writing an email, or dialing the next phone call – while I’m trying to talk to her. (And it’s not like I spend all day trying to talk – a day without having to talk with partners is a good day in my book.) So I’ll say, let me know when you are ready to listen to me, because I don’t intend to repeat myself or have you tell me later that I never told you this. Then I wait my turn, or if she’s unable to pull herself away, I’ll tell her I have things to do and leave.

    Is it acceptable to tell someone you’re not that close with that they are acting rude with their electronic toy? I don’t know, but most likely there’s a way to communicate it subtly. Like, “I see you are checking your texts a lot, do you have a family emergency you need to attend to?”

    I don’t use text myself. There are about 2 people who occasionally text me, and I don’t remember to check for texts very often. I really am not that fond of my Blackberry. It’s like a ball and chain, but there are unfortunately times when I need it.

  2. I love texting… WITHING REASON. If someone texts me during a conversation, I won’t answer unless it’s something important, and if so – I’ll apologize a million times because I find it SO rude to text while having a conversation.

    And texting while driving?! THAT one pisses me off. SO MANY ACCIDENTS are caused due to that. It blows my mind that people seriously think it’s okay to just ignore the fact that they’re inside a car that is a DANGEROUS WEAPON, and text away as if it doesn’t take their mind off anything. If you’re on a lonely country road? Fine. If you’re on the highway? NO.

  3. mssc54 says:

    Our 26yr old daughter had just over 20k txts on her bill last month. But I haven’t noticed her being rude about it. We all have dinner and get togethers all the time and she is always enguaged with us. The only thing that bothers me about her texting is that she will text half a dozen times while a short phone call would serve the same purpose.

  4. Joy says:

    I don’t text very often. There are a few blogging people I send little texts back and forth with and a few relatives but that’s about it. I do have to be honest and say if my phone worked in my house I may use it more but I’ve just never gotten into the habit. I also have to admit that I’m not much of a phone person. I don’t enjoy talking on the phone much. I will also send a text to Toby if I want him to pick something up on the way home or if I want to talk to Paul and want to side track the third degree from Paul’s secretary, I’ll text him and have his dad call.

    I also don’t answer my phone while driving so texting while driving isn’t even an option. It’s not even something that I would consider doing. IF I were driving somewhere close to home and I got a text, I would pull over and look but most times I just wait until I get home. It’s not like I’m secretary of state or anything. My most urgent text would be something like “bring home milk.”

    I can say, if I were out to dinner or anywhere with a “friend” and they acted like this, I would walk out too. If I was anywhere with someone and was trying to have a conversation and only got one word answers because they were either talking or texting someone, I’d say something to the effect of “I see you’re to busy today to have lunch. Call me again when you’re free and we can meet another day” and I’d pay the check and leave. How unbelievably rude.

  5. lucy says:

    I’m definitely a textaholic!! However, I’m reasonable about it and never rude. I usually only text when I’m alone or not busy with other stuff. That being said, MSSC, your mention that your daughter had 20 texts made me laugh… I send about that many a day. I find texting is the easiest way for me to stay in touch with my friends on a regular basis.. and just say hi. We are all very busy, have very hectic work weeks, and many of us live in different time zones (some as far away as Hawaii). My friends and I manage to find a common time to talk on the phone or skype at least once every 2 weeks. However, I would find it sad not to hear from them at all during those 2 weeks. So a short text asking how their day was… or wishing them a wonderful weekend is the perfect way for us to keep in touch despite living so far away.

    However, I do think that some people take it overboard and find it very rude to text while hanging out with others.

    My boyfriend and I often have to shake our head about other couples or small groups that are out eating dinner. Many times we’ve seen them not talk to each other, but both just sitting there texting away. Why bother hanging out with one another??!

  6. Just a Mom says:

    I don’t get the whole texting thing myself. I disabled text on my phone because I never use it and I was tired of getting charged for other people texting me stupid jokes. If I want to talk to someone I will call them. If I want to chat I’ll turn on the computer. And occasionally I even send an old fashioned letter to someone!

  7. starlaschat says:

    It’s interesting how snail mail is becoming more of a special way to communicate. It’s a bit of a treat to get a note or a letter in the mail. The whole texting thing, I’m glad it wasn’t around when I was a young girl. I probably would have run up a pretty good sized bill. I actually don’t like texting much Navar like to text some. It seems to always interrupt something, like being on the computer so I have to stop and text. But for the most part an occasional text is fine. No texting or talking on the phone while I’m driving. As far as the man in the restaurant I like what Joy said about maybe getting together at a later date when they had more time. That seems like a good way to handle it. I probably would not sit and feel ignored I would some how politely leave. Strange times we live in.

  8. Karen Joy says:

    I dont text at all.I personally don’t like it.My husband does text but its only to his employees and the occasional friend and even then Im always saying to him…isnt it easier to just pick up the phone.When its back and forth and back and forth I think its a waste of time.I could be wrong.Other than for work as my hubby does I dont understand what the heck is so dang important that a person needs to be rude about texting.Id walk away from someone if I felt ignored while they were to busy texting and Im not getting their full attention.

  9. Nikki says:

    Cell phones in general are starting to irritate me. People have lost respect for others.

    At the grocery store, a women stands in front of me while the cashier rings her groceries up, the women is chatting on the phone the entire time. Cashiers are people, not machines, start a conversation with them. It’s rude to not.
    At a restaurant, fast food, bank, hang up your damn phones and show some respect. It irritates me to no end.

    Texting, is the same way in my opinion. If you are engaged in any interaction with another person, I feel you should never be on your phone with someone else, texting or otherwise. It comes down to respect, even for people you don’t know.

    Texting while driving, well that’s just plain ignorant in my opinion, but who am I to say!

    I do have a cell phone, but only text my sister, and I honestly don’t think I have even ever texted outside my house. I have no reason to. In my early 20’s I did more of that, but I always try to think of others.

    • mssc54 says:

      I think cell phones are an asset to those of us who are husbands, daddies and business owners.

      That being said I ALWAYS take calls out of a room with other people in it. And when someone answers their cell phone in a public place and begins to carry on a conversation I ALWAYS PARTICIPATE in the conversation. I just answer the way the other person should answer or say things like, “wow, are you kidding?” They usually get the message. If they give me a look I just let them know that if they are going to include me in their phone call I don’t want to be rude by not participating. 🙂 I’m such a funny guy. haha

      • Nikki says:

        Yea I know they are useful, and handy. I appreciate them when used with some sort of acknowledgement of who is around. I personally don’t care to hear your conversation, but I’m talking about when you are engaged with another person, as in a cashier or waitress. If someone wants to sit in a doctors office and chat away, so be it. I still think you should speak in a quiet voice though.

        • mssc54 says:

          I completely agree with the cashier, server, etc. When a person disrespects the others’ time like that the cell phone user is really saying, “Hey, I am so much more important than you and you don’t really matter.” I’ve actually asked people who do that if they realize how rude that is.

    • Joy says:

      I agree with you Nikki with most of what you said. Cell phones when used in public are rude to those around you. I see them used and people around them are left waiting because they aren’t paying any attention to what they’re doing.

      I disagree with you mssc because my husband is a “daddy, husband and business owner” and he never uses a cell phone and I hardly do either. Lordy, how do we manage???

      I think I’d feel differently if cell phones were used in private. I don’t have a personality like you do mssc and I could never do what you mention doing nor do I think I should have to. Keep your almighty conversations to yourself. Thankyouverymuch.

      • mssc54 says:

        I have my biz phone forwarded to my cell. So if I don’t answer the phone I don’t get to convince ‘Mrs. Jones” why it is she would be better off spending her hard earned money with ME! 🙂

  10. Laura says:

    No joke… I was at the park yesterday. Josh was up on the stuff, swinging around like the little monkey he was, and I was talking with the parents hanging about.

    We noticed a young girl… about ten, maybe 12… over on the swings. She was SWINGING. back, forth, back forth. Had her elbows hooked around the chains, and was TEXTING while she was swinging. HIGH swinging!!!

    kids around her tried to engage her a little, but to no avail. So they went on playing, and she went on texting – apart from each other. Sorry, if I was her mom? The phone would be shut off.

    • SKL says:

      Oh great, one more thing I have to warn my kids about at the playground. What if a toddler wandered in the path of her swing? We do have a guy at our park, looks about 18, who swings for long periods with his ipod in his ear and his back to the kids. God forbid today’s teens look out for the little kids at the park, of all places.

      • Nikki says:

        Teenagers only care about themselves these days….or maybe they always did. We just notice it more, the older we get! lol

        • SKL says:

          When I was a teen, I was raising my kid brother and sister. I know times have changed, but I do think most teens of yesteryear were in the habit of noticing obvious needs of those around them.

        • Laura says:

          Yeah, I think that’s the thing that bothers me most about the texting in particular, and the cellphones in general. And I hate to say it but it’s the “younger generation”… they walk around with their noses in the stupid text messages. Like I said in the post – I’ve seen them texting EVERYWHERE. While they’re hanging out at the mall, together, they’re standing there in a pod, texting. Nobody is communicating with anyone else, they’re just all standing there staring at their cellphones.

          It reminds me of that doohickey that was the center of “Batman Forever”. Remember that thing? Everybody stuck this stupid-looking cone on their head and it was supposed to make the TV appear in 3D or HD or whatever. Everyone was so mesmerized by it, they didn’t notice what was going on around them – and the bad guys were sucking their brains dry with it.

          • Joy says:

            While reading this I had a sudden image of a couple sitting on the couch fighting via text. F U…No FU…No FU………..Sorry, it just entered my head. I do know married couples who text each other when they are both at home. I wonder how many of those kids at the mall were texting each other and they were standing right next to them. I’ve seen kids do that too.

            • Laura says:


              Ok, I’ll cop to this: my friend Haley and I will sit here at my kitchen table, each of us on our own laptops, and we’ll IM each other. But half the time we do it because other people are here and they give us grief for it.

              Over Christmas last year, my brother and nephew were here, and my parents. Haley came over, and Jim (brother), James (nephew), Haley and I all set our computers up on my kitchen table. And we IM’ed each other, just to drive my mother crazy.

              It worked, until she went downstairs, turned on my old PC, and signed in on that machine under my “alternate” IM name!!! And then she joined in our little IM party.

              yes, my family has too much time on our hands. But we have fun…

              I don’t think, though, that you’d catch any of us sitting in a crowded room at a family get-together, and texting one another. Even the little IM party took place when the rest of the group had wound down and went to bed.

    • mssc54 says:

      If this were a contest I think I would give you a run for your money.

      Our eight year old daughter has a friend in her class who lives in an adjoining neighborhood. She’s about a half mile from our home. This eight year old friend has a little motorized scooter that she rides all over the neighborhood. I have enough of a problem with eight year olds opperating motorized vehicles but when I looked out the window and saw her riding her scooter down the street while talking on her cell phone I was just stunned! Can you imagine what she will be doing when she is sixteen?!

  11. Marcus says:

    ok, so i think some people are forgetting the purpose of mobile phones when they comment. they were made to be used outside the home and to be used a lot. thhey wouldnt have been invented if they werent needed. everyone keeps saying that people shouldnt be so addicted to their phones and texting, but who are you to say what people should do with the items that THEY purchased with THEIR hard earned money? if they want to be addicted, thats their choice and they have every right to be addicted. Until YOU start paying the people you critisize phone bills, i think you should keep your comments to yourself.

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